Much of the writing about Navajo weaving talks about Navajo rugs as commodities that have been traded away or sold to non-Navajos, and how the traders have historically encouraged the Navajo weavers to incorporate different patterns that would fetch higher prices. While it is definitely true that Navajo rugs and blankets have been an important part of the commerce of Navajo society, we need to remember that they are much more than that as well. For the weavers, wealth, art, beauty, and philosophy are all part of the same cosmic whole. Navajo rugs, therefore, are more than just decorative art to be sold to non-Navajos. Even though the rugs are often sold, the process of weaving is considered serious and personally meaningful work.
While rug designs vary and have been influenced by non-Navajos, the process of weaving ultimately belongs to the weavers themselves, and for them, it is deeply creative and spiritual, and an important part of daily life. Some have pointed out the influence of Pueblo weaving and the introduction of Spanish sheep on Navajo weaving, but again, those things do not diminish the deep cultural meanings that weaving has to the Navajo people.
On this website, we will not attempt to summarize the entirety of Navajo cosmology and philosophy, but if you want to read more about it, please see the section called "Teaching Materials".