The Navajo also spelled Navaho; Navajo: Diné or Naabeehó) are a Native American people of the Southwestern United States.

With more than 399,494 enrolled tribal members as of 2021, the Navajo Nation is the largest federally recognized tribe in the United States; additionally, the Navajo Nation has the largest reservation in the country. The reservation straddles the Four Corners region and covers more than 27,325 square miles (70,000 square km) of land in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. The Navajo Reservation is slightly larger than the state of West Virginia. The Navajo language is spoken throughout the region, and most Navajos speak English.

The states with the largest Navajo populations are Arizona (140,263) and New Mexico (108,306). More than three-fourths of the enrolled Navajo population resides in these two states.

Besides the Navajo Nation proper, a small group of Navajos are members of the federally recognized Colorado River Indian Tribes.

Hastobíga, Navaho Medicine man

Many Navajo young people moved to cities to work in urban factories during World War II. Many Navajo men volunteered for military service in keeping with their warrior culture and served in integrated units. The War Department in 1940 rejected a proposal by the BIA that segregated units be created for the Indians. The Navajos gained firsthand experience with assimilating into the modern world, and many still needed to return to the overcrowded reservation, which had few jobs.

Four hundred Navajo code talkers played a famous role during World War II by relaying radio messages using their language. The Japanese were unable to understand or decode it.

The Navajos are speakers of a Na-Dené Southern Athabaskan language, which they call Diné bizaad (lit. 'People's language'). They refer to themselves as the Diné, meaning (the) people. The language comprises two geographic, mutually intelligible dialects. The Apache languages are closely related to the Navajo Language; the Navajos and Apaches migrated from northwestern Canada and eastern Alaska, where most Athabaskan speakers reside. Additionally, some Navajos speak Navajo Sign Language, a dialect or a daughter of Plains Sign Talk. Some also speak Plains Sign Talk itself.

Archaeological and historical evidence suggests the Athabaskan ancestors of the Navajos and Apaches arrived in the Southwest around 1400 AD. The Navajo oral tradition is transcribed to retain references to this migration.

Initially, the Navajos were largely hunters and gatherers. Later, they learned farming from Pueblo peoples, growing mainly the traditional Native American "Three Sisters" of corn, beans, and squash. They adopted herding sheep and goats from the Spaniards as a primary source of trade and food. Meat became essential in the Navajo diet. Sheep became a form of currency and family status.  Women began to spin and weave wool into blankets and clothing after learning this from Pueblo Indians; they created highly valued artistic expression items, which were also traded and sold.

Oral history indicates a fraught relationship with the Pueblo people and a willingness to incorporate Puebloan ideas. The long-established trading practices between the groups and ongoing conflict led to the Pueblo people closing many traditions, altering ceremonial timing to avoid Navajo raids, and restricting access to information regarding traditional practices and imagery. Mid-16th century Spanish records recount that the Pueblo traded maize and woven cotton goods for bison meat, hides, and stone from Athabaskans migrating around the Pueblos or settling nearby. In the 18th century, the Spanish reported that the Navajos maintained large herds of livestock and cultivated large crop areas.

Western historians believe the Spanish before 1600 referred to the Navajos as Apaches or Quechos. Fray Geronimo de Zarate-Salmeron, who was in Jemez in 1622, used Apachu de Nabajo in the 1620s to refer to the people in the Chama Valley region, east of the San Juan River and northwest of present-day Santa Fe, New Mexico. It needs to be clarified from Navajo sources when they became more distinct from their Apache relatives. Navahu comes from the Tewa language. By the 1640s, the Spanish began using the term Navajo to refer to the Diné.

During the 1670s, the Spanish wrote that the Diné lived in a region the Navajo called Dinétah, about 60 miles (97 km) west of the Rio Chama Valley region. In the 1770s, the Spanish sent military expeditions against the Navajos in the Mount Taylor and Chuska Mountain regions of New Mexico. The Spanish, Navajos, and Hopis (Pueblo people) continued to trade with each other. They formed a loose alliance that changed often, to occasionally fight Apache and Comanche bands for the next 20 years. During this time, there were relatively minor raids by Navajo bands and Spanish citizens against each other.

1800 Governor Fernando Chacón led 500 men to the Tunicha Mountains against the Navajo. Twenty Navajo chiefs asked for peace. In 1804 and 1805, the Navajo and Spaniards mounted major expeditions against each other's settlements. In May 1805, another peace was established. Similar patterns of peace-making, raiding, and trading among the Navajo, Spaniards, Apache, Comanche, Hopi, and Pueblo people continued until the arrival of Americans in 1846.

The basic outline of Diné Bahaneʼ begins with the creation of the Niłchʼi Diyin (Holy Wind) as the mists of lights which arose through the darkness to animate and bring purpose to the four Diyin Dineʼé (Holy People) in the different three lower worlds. This event happened before the Earth and the physical aspect of humans had come into existence, but the spiritual aspect of humans had. The Holy People then began journeying through the different worlds, learning essential lessons in each one before moving on to the next. The fourth and final world is the world the Navajo live in now.

The First or Dark World, Niʼ Hodiłhił, was small and centred on an island floating in the middle of four seas. The inhabitants of the first world were the four Diyin Dineʼé, the two Coyotes, the four rulers of the four seas, mist beings and various insect and bat people, the latter being the Air-Spirit People. The supernatural beings First Woman and First Man came into existence here and met for the first time after seeing each other's fire. The various beings in The First World started fighting with one another and departed by flying out an opening in the east.

They Niʼ Hodootłʼizh, which various blue-gray-furred mammals and various birds, including blue swallows, inhabited. The beings from the First World offended Swallow Chief, Táshchózhii, and they were asked to leave. First Man created a wand of jet and other materials to allow the people to walk upon it up into the next world through an opening in the south.

In the Third or Yellow World, Niʼ Hałtsooí, two rivers formed a cross and the Sacred Mountains, but there was still no sun. More animal people lived here, too. This time, it was not discord among the people that drove them away but a great flood caused by Tééhoołtsódii when Coyote stole her two children.

When the people arrived in the Fourth or White World, Niʼ Hodisxǫs, it was (naayééʼ) living here. The Sacred Mountains were re-formed from soil taken from the original mountains in the Second World. First Man and the Holy People created the sun, moon, seasons, and stars. Here, death came into existence via Coyote tossing a stone into a lake and declaring that if it sank, the dead would return to the previous world.

The first human born in the Fourth World is Yoołgaii Asdzą́ą́, who matures into Asdzą́ą́ Nádleehé, in turn, gives birth to the Hero Twins called Naayééʼ Neizghání and Tóbájíshchíní. The twins have many adventures in which they help to rid the world of various monsters. Multiple batches of modern humans were created several times in the Fourth World, and the Diyin Dineʼé gave them ceremonies still practiced today.

Billy Jack

Billy Jack is a "mixed-race" Navajo, a Green Beret Vietnam War veteran, and a hapkido master.

Jack defends the hippie-themed Freedom School (inspired by Prescott College) and students from townspeople who do not understand or like the counterculture students. Its director, Jean Roberts (Delores Taylor), organizes the school. One of the troubled youths is Barbara, who became pregnant and was abused by her father.

A group of children of various races from the school go to town for ice cream. They are refused service and then abused and humiliated by Bernard Posner (David Roya), the son of the county's corrupt political boss, Stuart Posner (Bert Freed), and his gang. This prompts a violent outburst by Billy. Billy goes through a Navajo initiation where he is bitten purposely by a giant rattlesnake so that he becomes the blood brother to the snake and survives the ordeal. Meanwhile, Barbara loses her unborn child when the horse she was riding stumbles on a rock, causing her to fall off the horse. Following an incident involving Jean, Billy gives Bernard a choice of either receiving a dislocated elbow or driving his Corvette into the lake; Bernard does the latter. Later, Jean is kidnapped and raped by Bernard, who also murders a Native American student. Billy confronts Bernard, whom he catches in bed with a 13-year-old girl, and sustains a gunshot wound before killing him with a hand strike to the throat. After barricading himself following a climactic shootout with the police and pleading from Jean, Billy Jack surrenders to the authorities in exchange for a decade-long guarantee that the school will be allowed to continue to run with Jean as its head. As Billy is driven away in handcuffs, a large crowd of supporters raise their fists as a show of defiance and support.

Billy Jack is part of the Manse Mediatech's 

DVD collection

Photo of Cellular App "My Movies"

Thomas Robert Laughlin Jr. (August 10, 1931 – December 12, 2013) was an American actor, director, screenwriter, author, educator, and activist.

Laughlin was best known for his series of Billy Jack films. He was married to actress Delores Taylor from 1954 until his death. Taylor co-produced and acted in all four Billy Jack films. His unique promotion of The Trial of Billy Jack (TV trailers during national news and an "opening day" nationwide release) significantly influenced how films are marketed.

In the early 1960s, Laughlin put his film career on hiatus to start a Montessori preschool in Santa Monica, California; it became the largest school of its kind in the United States. In his later years, he sought the office of President of the United States in 1992, 2004, and 2008. He was involved in psychology and domestic violence counselling, writing several books on Jungian psychology and developing theories on the causes of cancer.

Laughlin was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Margaret and Thomas Laughlin. He attended Washington High School, where he was involved in an athletics controversy that made headlines throughout the city, caused by Laughlin being forced to attend another school for a brief period, making him ineligible to play football at his former school on his return. 

In 1965, Laughlin told the Milwaukee Sentinel that he planned to make a film on the life of a noted Catholic priest, Father William DuBay. However, the picture still needs to get past the planning stages. Two years later, in 1967, he wrote, directed (as T. C. Frank), and starred in the motorcycle gang exploitation film The Born Losers. This was the first picture in which the character of Billy Jack appeared. It was a surprise box-office hit.

After The Born Losers, Laughlin was set to begin a film project with backing from such figures as Marlon Brando, Jack Lemmon, Candice Bergen, and director Robert Wise. The movie was to be a documentary on the issues facing African Americans in the 1960s and would have significantly focused on the life of Martin Luther King Jr., followed by a discussion of race. However, the film was never made.

He followed this up with the sequel to The Born Losers, Billy Jack, in 1971. American International Pictures initially agreed to distribute the picture. Still, after viewing it, the studio refused to release the film unless many political references and frontal nudity were cut. This led the Laughlins to withhold the sound reels of the movie, which, in effect, made it a silent film. Eventually, Laughlin made a distribution deal with Warner Bros., but he disapproved of the studio's marketing of the film, sued Warner, and re-released the picture himself in 1973. The movie's re-release was successful but controversial. In his review of the film, Roger Ebert wrote, "Billy Jack seems to be saying that a gun is better than a constitution in the enforcement of justice. Is democracy obsolete, then? Is our only hope that the good fascists defeat the bad fascists?"

However, the picture was embraced by much of America's youth, leading Laughlin to claim in 1975, "The youth of this country have only two heroes, Ralph Nader and Billy Jack." When adjusted for inflation, Billy Jack was, as of 2007, the highest-grossing independent film of all time. The film was among the first to introduce martial arts, especially hapkido, to American audiences. It contained elements of Jungian psychology and fictional depictions of American Indian beliefs, depicting a tribe that does not exist, the "Nishnobie." As part of the film's promotion, Bong Soo Han, who was in charge of the martial arts choreography for the film, toured the United States, giving hapkido demonstrations.

The Born Losers was reissued in 1974 and earned more than twice as much as it had in its original release.

The second sequel, The Trial of Billy Jack, released in late 1974, was a colossal box-office hit while not registering as a critical success. It is notable for its casting of notable Native Americans such as Sacheen Littlefeather and counterculture figures like Rolling Thunder, as well as its strong criticism of the Kent State shootings. However, Laughlin's unique promotion of the film was its real legacy. Unlike most films of the era, which opened in only a few cities before gradually spreading across the country, The Trial of Billy Jack opened nationwide on the same day, and commercials were broadcast for it during the national news. This promotion forever changed how films are marketed and has been called "the first blockbuster."

Laughlin had been in dispute with AIP and settled in 1974, agreeing to pay them $2 million, including $500,000 from The Born Losers reissue and $250,000 for AIP's percentage share of The Trial of Billy Jack.

In 1975, Laughlin released The Master Gunfighter, a Western set in the 1840s, detailing the plight of the Chumash people. Laughlin grew a full beard for the film, and his character fought with a 12-shot revolver and a samurai sword. Although it did reasonably well at the box office, critics were not pleased with the film.

He returned to the Billy Jack franchise in 1977. However, the fourth entry in the series, Billy Jack Goes to Washington, failed because of distribution problems, and it proved to be Laughlin's final film. Laughlin blamed individuals within the United States government for the failure of the picture, telling CNN's Showbiz Tonight in 2005:

At a private screening, Senator Vance Hartke [Note: Hartke was not re-elected in 1976] got up because it was about how the nuclear industry bought out the Senate. He got up and charged me. Walter Cronkite's daughter was there, [and] Lucille Ball. And he said, 'You'll never get this released. This house you have, everything will be destroyed.' "

At the time of the picture's release, Laughlin's company, Billy Jack Enterprises, had plans for a new Montessori school funded by his own foundation, a record label, an investigative magazine, books, a distribution company, and more message-laden movies, including a special subsidiary to produce films for children. He told People magazine, "Three years from today, we'll be the new United Artists. Either that, or we'll be out on our butt on the street." In 1976, Laughlin announced that he was more than $7 million in debt and blamed the financial troubles on unethical behaviour by Warner Bros. Pictures, which he said had illegally sold the television rights to his films.