Despite being both matrilocal and matrilineal, Navajo culture values the contributions of fathers in their children’s lives. In the Hossain and Aziano study, fathers were shown to participate in child-rearing only a few hours a week less than mothers. A child’s father is a strong role model in the development of children of all genders. Even the tradition of uncles being primary disciplinarians doesn’t undercut the role of the father because many uncles are also fathers and vice versa.
Native American Fathers: Selfless and Loving
Celebrating Father‘s Day is a fine way to acknowledge and praise the fathers in our lives. In some ways, a father‘s job in child-rearing is thankless because his children will leave the home, particularly his male children, when they marry. A father‘s wife will always be involved in heavy decisions because she will become a grandmother, among the most important people in the Navajo culture.
Still, fathers give selflessly to their childrens’ development. Sure, they’re traditionally the chief breadwinners and providers, but they’re also rocks upon which their children depend while growing up. They love them, encourage them, and comfort them when needed. They tell stories about the past, instructing their children in the history of the Navajo and passing on their culture. They inspire them by being worthy of emulation.
Fathers must provide, but they must also be involved in the family and with child-rearing. They have two jobs until the children leave home. They deserve compassion, respect, and love for honoring their commitments to their families.
Father’s Day, unlike Mother’s Day, is a fairly recent holiday. It only became such in 1972, a full six decades after Mother’s Day. The contributions of Native American fathers, however, are a tradition thousands of years old.
Native Americans in Society
Navajo fathers must navigate a society that may seem to have passed them by. They must be the gatekeepers of the history of the nation and how it relates to their families. Fathers have left their children and gone to war. They’ve left their homes to help with natural disasters. When there’s no work close to home, they travel afar to provide in the same way as their ancestors roamed sometimes a hundred miles or more for better hunting. When they come home from these excursions, they are welcomed, loved, and honored, which is how it should be.
Fathers are at the center of the family, and the family is crucial for the survival of a just and egalitarian society where everyone’s contribution is lauded and necessary. Perhaps you’ve read stories of Native American fathers of the past sacrificing everything for the good of their families or the Navajo nation. These were great men who served as admirable models for current an future generations.
Nearly one in 20 Native Americans in the United States is Navajo, which means that the Navajo can be a shining example to their Native American brethren. The fathers who work tirelessly and help rear their children are among the best citizens of this great Navajo nation. They are an inspiration to many both in and out of the nation.
Remembering These Fathers on Their Special Day
At Kachina House, we honor fathers by offering wonderful gifts for Father’s Day. You can honor your father, too, by presenting him with one of our lovingly created masterworks of Native American art and craft. To find out more about everything we can do, give us a call, drop by the shop, or visit us online today.