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date: 15 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The dominant anthropological and archaeological narrative of “Navajo” culture is that upon entering the northwestern New Mexico in the sixteenth century, bands of Athapaskan hunter-gatherers began an acculturative process that led them to adopt and assimilate Pueblo, Spanish, Mexican, and American cultural institutions. The anthropological and archaeological concept “Navajo,” created through Western scholarship by non-Diné, does not align with Diné worldview or conceptions of self and history. Instead, it reaffirms Western scholarship as legitimate, while it marginalizes and brands Diné history as “alternative,” or as not really history. A review of theories that underlie Navajo archaeological literature reveals that the genesis of the erroneous tenets about Diné culture stem from late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century ideas that researchers have only recently begun to re-examine.

Keywords: Navajo, Diné, New Mexico, Athapaskan, archaeology

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