An extended family might also consist of unmarried, widowed or other relatives of the older woman of the household. Historically an extended family lived together in a designated vicinity and changed the place of residence as a group as the weather or foliage for the livestock dictated. Within the extended family labor is pooled to a great extent in herding and other productive activities. A man living with his wife’s family may also participate in the work activities of his own extended family.
He often visits the homes of his mother and sisters and lends a helping hand in harvesting and other group activities. A man will sometimes pasture his livestock with that of his mother or sister rather than with the property of his wife and children.
Until recently there was no conception of joint property ownership between husband and wife. As a result Navajo women have always enjoyed a favored and somewhat more “liberated” position in their society than have their white counterparts. A woman controls the hogan, built on land that was set aside for her by her family; she owns the children, which belong to her clan, her sheep, the product of her sheep and other livestock, her jewelry and all blankets she might weave and the income from the sale of any of her property. A husband owns what he has inherited from his own family and all goods which he has bought out of his own earnings which, nowadays, often includes a pick-up truck. Either partner may sell or trade what he owns, though one usually consults with the other about any major transactions. …………. Raymond Friday Locke