Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/313

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
307
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

manufacture. They last for years, retaining their beauty and colors without loss of brilliancy. This manufacture of blankets arises from the exigencies of the climate, and was originally learned from the Mexicans when the two people lived on amicable terms. The procurement of wool is one of their prime necessities, and is the inciting cause of the terrific raids they make into New Mexico, which is specially a sheep raising country. When large herds of cattle are met, the Navajoes "gobble them up" with avidity, but seldom molest them when few in number, as they cannot be driven with the rapidity of sheep; leave a broader and more marked trail, and serve only for food. These Indians live together in considerable numbers during the winter months, a village frequently containing from two hundred to eight hundred inhabitants. Such communities must necessarily be governed by a more systematic organization than obtains among the Apaches proper; hence they have regular chiefs and sub-chiefs, whose orders are obeyed, and who are charged with the government of all present; but his office is not hereditary, the chieftainship being determined by election. The fortunate candidate holds office for life, or during good behavior, and feels no little pride in his position. In all matters wherein the Navajoes differ from the Apaches, they will be found chargeable to the climatic differences of their several countries. Their ceremonies, religious views, traditions, language, and general deportment, as well as their personal appearance, are so strikingly similar as to be almost undistinguishable. If the Navajo woman is more industrious and skilled than the Apache, she is also much more loose and wanton. A very marked characteristic of the latter people is their strict chastity, while the Navajoes are quite as much noted for their utter want of virtue.