One of the largest tribes in Arizona and New Mexico, the Navajo farmed (beans, corn, and squash), hunted (deer, elk, and antelope), and gathered wild vegetables.
They lived in small villages in homes made from wooden sticks, tree bark, and mud, called hogans. The Navajo became well known for their weaving and pottery, which they learned from neighboring tribes.
The tribe came into contact with Spanish settlers in the early 1600s. The Navajo raided the settlers' livestock, acquiring horses, sheep, and goats. These animals greatly improved life for the Navajo because they could be used for travel, clothing, food, and as trade goods.
As more settlers moved into their territory in the mid-1840s, tensions increased as the Navajo continued to raid settlements. The conflict escalated during the 1860s and the U.S. government held 9,000 Navajos captive at Fort Sumner, New Mexico. The Navajo were released in 1868, but had signed treaties giving up their land and were relocated to a reservation.