“A country within a country” : within Navajo country in 1948.


In 1948, when LIFE describe to the reader, the Navajo nation is a nation of “domestic” – a reminder of the history and the land and the United States history in under the protection of all other things are inseparable, this is the earth people emphasize the fact that heritage day on Friday.
However, when the photographer Leonard McMahon visit Arizona Navajo nation create image, he in this long and continuous history very specific and important moment attracted a group of people. The Navajo, with about 61,000 members and the country’s fastest-growing native American population, are in crisis.
In 1948, the U.S. government clearly know, nava hoss land can no longer support the residents to live, but in fact, for most americans, a majority of americans first by protecting news to listen to the story of hunger. But, as LIFE points out, simply delivering food doesn’t solve the problem.
At the heart of the story is the continuation of the Yellowsalt family, most of whom depend on sheep for a living. The family could not obtain permission from the reserve manager, who said the area was disappearing, to expand its population. According to the calculation of the government, according to the LIFE, land could provide enough sheep for about 20% of the family, have enough animals to achieve sustainable living, or get more family almost none. Meanwhile, despite the introduction of new devastating diseases in Navajo, government-run hospitals do not have enough beds to support the population.
Two of the central questions raised by the story are inevitable: “how do you provide technical knowledge to primitive people without destroying the entire structure of life? How do appearance, language and culture coexist peacefully in different countries? ”
Now, almost seventy years later, the “home” to replace the word “primitive”, the problem is still the problem of deep, professor of American Indian studies at the university of Minnesota, Navajo political experience the author David Wilkins said..
“In general, I was surprised by the overall accuracy of this article,” Wilkins told LIFE, given its writing date and audience. “It’s full of the dominant language of assimilation, but it’s not surprising.”

Wilkins to this story there are some other taunt – for example, LIFE has released the nude photo of a female speaker, this made him feel very strange, because he said he didn’t know Navajo women usually wear ceremony – but the important thing is, he says, Yellowsalt family lack of awareness of the environment. Life means that the reasons of prosperity in the family does not have enough sheep, and points out that when people back to the land, they were forced to leave in the late 19th century, is now a “surrounded by white of hunger”, “graze sheep the space around destroyed this range. “As the Navajo grew up,” LIFE points out, “land has failed as a basis for its existence.” But as Wilkins points out, in the 1930s – not the natural course of things – they were asked to reduce their grazing animals on the land.

“He said,” the Navajo nation continued its livestock reduction program in 1948. “It’s damaging the Navajo economically, psychologically and culturally.”

The advent of world war ii prevented a period of economic catastrophe. Wilkins says more than 15,000 Navajo people were employed in some way because of the war. But in 1948, the consequences were undeniable. “The war is over and they are back in reserve because the wrong policy makers think they are doing the right thing, so there is nothing.” He explained that although those policymakers think they will withdraw from overgrazing, but Wilkins said: in fact, later studies showed that the Navajo livestock is not the main cause of the problem, in addition, although the federal policy has affected the Navajo all aspects of life, but it was not until 1948 in Arizona, the Supreme Court declared the Navajo people have a right to vote.

But Wilkins said the best thing about the article was what happened after it was published.

Media attention to the crisis between Navajo and the hot press contributed to the 1950 convention. This fear, says Mr Wilkins, has encouraged them to pass the navajopi telemedicine act, “which will help save two people from the economic wreckage they are in.” “Such aid – from the first time lead to the root of the problem – in the 1950 s, the tribe has made a great change, perhaps is the central part of this example is the answer: very different country peaceful coexistence?


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