Focusing on the economic history of the Navajo, this study examines how a combination of capitalism and traditional kinship economy have merged over time to redefine life in a culture that is part of, yet separated from, the surrounding U.S. society. This practical, multi-strategy household economy combines various components of wage labor, government assistance, farming, herding, and the making and selling of artifacts. These variable economic options are generally effective in dealing with the extremes of high unemployment and poverty. This unusual system works because it is based on traditional kinship obligations and a traditional view of one's place in the larger world.
This study will be of use to scholars interested in the development of informal economic structures, the relations between local and global economies, and cultural responses to underdevelopment, as well as scholars in the field of Native American studies.