The Navajos Indians were a peaceful simple people. D. H. Lawrence found this culture a wonder, and he portrays it in “Mornings in Mexico. “D. H. traveled all around the world and found that New Mexico was his favorite place. “Mornings in Mexico” by David Herbert Lawrence reflects upon the culture, religion, and other “white” influences over the people that the work portrays. David Herbert Lawrence was born on September 11th, 1885. He was the fourth child and he had two older brothers. D. H. was always second to his older brothers in his mother’s eyes, especially his brother Ernest.
He was not into sports like his brothers and he enjoyed hanging out with girls growing up more than boys. Between 1885 and 1908 Lawrence lived in four houses a “stone’s throw of each other in Eastwood. “Education was important to all of the Lawrence’s and D. H. attended a local school and then moved on to Nottingham High School. From there he held a few odd jobs including student-teaching at Eastwood until he studied at Nottingham University College. D. H. ‘s father was a hard working coal miner and had very little formal education.
He had little interest in anything that was not necessary for a basic life. His 2 mother was from a lower-middle-class family. She was a school teacher and kept a shop in the parlor of their apartment until she died in 1910. His mother Lydia was very admirable of education in all forms. Religion played major parts in their lives, but D. H. was the opposite. He showed this in many of his works, such as Sons and Lovers. His mother was not the only one who is portrayed in his writings. He rarely ever wrote about something he hadn’t personally experienced.
In 1912 D. H. caught a case of pneumonia and ended his teaching career, and the rest of his life he spent traveling and writing about his travels. On one of his first trips he got arrested and accused of being a spy. He was released when a local government official’s daughter (Frieda Weekley) pleaded to get him acquitted. The two moved all over Europe and were always criticized for their “mixed” English-German marriage during World War I. People were so against it they were banned from all coastal areas, and had to report to police wherever they went.
At the end of the war, Lawrence felt that nothing had been solved and also believed that the English governments of his time were weak. 3 The Mexican culture that Lawrence portrays in “Mornings in Mexico” is that of the Navajos Indians. During their travels to Italy, Frieda and D. H. met a woman name Mabel Dodge Sterne, and she invited them to Taos, Mexico. Mabel believed that “the only one who can really see this Taos country and the Indians, and who can describe it so it is as much alive between the covers of a book as it is in reality. “(Meyers, p. 283)D.
H. was cautious at first to respond but soon became excited about traveling to the New World. Lawrence found that his trips to the New World were the greatest experience that he had ever experienced from the outside world. Lawrence enjoyed the liberation he felt from the shackles of civilization he had been forced to live in while in England. The Navajos were a peaceful tribe usually raising sheep and goats. They were nomadic people because of the land in the southwest. Most of the families, though being nomads, had at least one adobe to call “home. “
Religion played major roles in the life of the Navajos. Their pagan rituals: he writes about the snake dances of the Hopis, and the religious ceremonies of the Navajos. D. H. describes the sacrifices “odd” because they 4 firm believers in witchcraft. The Navajos had no idea of one God, or Heaven or Hell, but they believed in “lower worlds. “Their religion is carried by many of their traditions and superstitions. Medicine men have great power in their society because their medicines are mostly magical. The medicine men also have the responsibility to carry on the traditions and ceremonies.
Marriage was a very sacred ceremony for the culture and religion. The ceremony was only allowed if the bride was a virgin and was contracted at a very young age between the parents. The women were renowned for their mastery in weaving blankets and the men were very creative silversmiths. The Navajos culture is one of a friendly nature; they are almost always quite hospitable and industrious. The leaders of the tribes are local. The chiefs of individual tribes have their actual authority based on reputation.
This reputation is usually based off of their knowledge, wisdom and overall character. Since the discovery of the Navajos, circa. 1626, many outside influences have tried to change their culture by converting their religion. The first to try was the Franciscan by the name of Alonzo Benavides. He described 5 this tribe as great farmers and the word Navajos comes from the word ‘Nava’ which in Spanish translates to “field. “The next attempt was by Padre Menchero set up a mission in what is today called Cebolleta. The first time he got a few hundred converts but the mission failed.
The Franciscans again attempted to Christianize these Indians in 1897. This time they were more successful because by 1902 they had created a boarding school for Navajos which is still in existence today. Much has stayed the same since D. H. wrote his vivid description of the Navajos in the late 1920’s. The traditions and religion have carried on for generations and will continue to do so. D. H. Lawrence portrayed the Navajos in their religion, culture and the influences placed upon them from the outside world.