Sacred-Texts Native American Navajo
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The Sun said to the two War Twins. “Go to your mother and get her to go to the west to the ocean. This is so I can see my wife. White Bead Woman, from now on.” The Sun had asked her himself, but White Bead Woman had said, “I will be lonesome there all by myself, and I will become homesick.” This is why the Sun said to the Twins, “I will give all my things, all you want, all my possessions, if you get her to go there. I have done many things for you; now repay me for my kindness. Go tell your mother to go to the west.”
This is what the Sun said to his sons. The Sun had many wives besides her, but White Bead Woman was jealous. That is why she did not want to go. The Sun was not coming to see every day, but only once a week. The Twins went to see their mother, but still White Bead Woman did not want to go to the west, even then. All of the rest of the gods tried to help the Twins have their mother go to the west. Still she refused to go.
There was one man that did not know all of this excitement was taking place. This god was very strong so everyone decided to let him try to make White Bead Woman go west. The gods said, “We will have him try.” This god was xaśč’éšžiní, the Black, Flint or Fire God. None p. 86 of the people had fire, only this xaśč’éšžiní, for he was the Fire God. He would rub a stick that had been rubbed in some rocks and make fire. This was a type of a match and this was the first time and place matches were made. The idea came from here for people to make matches today. All around the home of Black God was coal burning, instead of firewood.
The old man was told to go and tell White Bead Woman to go west. He went to her and said, “How come all of your children tell you to go west to your husband, but you still don’t want to go? Why?” He tried his best to try and make her go, but she still would not leave her home. At last he got desperate and said, “If you don’t want to go to the west, all of the earth and gods shall be burned up.” He got angrier and angrier and finally took his weapon out to start the fire (it was a rock torch). This fire was to start all over the world and would be so bad that even the water would catch on fire. Black God struck the two rocks together, or rather ground them, and they began to smoke. After he had done this only twice, the woman stopped him.
If he had done this for four times, everything on earth would have burned up. After this she started to cry and put her arms around the old man and said she would go to the west forever. White Bead Woman gathered all of her property in a white bead basket and prayed to Supreme Sacred Wind for all of the animals and seed plants. The seeds and plants prayed for fell into the basket and the animals gathered outside of her hogan.
At this time White Bead Woman received another name, Receive-Things-in-her-Hand, xāēlắ kă eyā́ gī’, because of this. Some of the animals she put into her basket and some who were left over had to walk. The cattle had been made out of Mirage Quartz Rock by White Bead Woman. She took Mirage Quartz Rock powder and water and molded them into the right shape and size. When she placed them in water they became alive.
They were told, “You will be dangerous and even your voices will be danger, but you will be used for good. You are to be used by the Earth People.” She had it in her mind to do things this way. The Supreme Sacred Wind did not tell her to do this. These cattle were placed in baskets of white shell. When White Bead Woman traveled west, she took out a male and female cattle and put them in the spring at Fierce Water Spring at Pasture Canyon. No others, not her sons or the Sun or Frog Man had any cattle. These cattle were for all the Earth People.
Besides the animals in the basket she placed inside seeds, nuts, p. 87 berries and roots. Her basket was made out of shell and had a finish on top of it, just like the marriage basket. These baskets of all five colors are still in the ocean where they were left by White Bead Woman. Some of the animals were left over and could not be carried in the basket, so they followed her to the west. As she started to the west there was an earthquake. The earth at this time was still just like water underneath. When she started from her New Mexican home, White Bead Woman spent a night at Red Mesa, near where Tuba City, Arizona, is now.
While she was spending the night there with her animals, they moved around in a circle and would not settle down. White Bead Woman made three posts out of black rock. These are the rocks that are found near where Tuba City is now called Black Butte, another near Navaho Mountain called Wildcat Butte and one in Colorado called Black Post Butte. The mountain by the Gap, Arizona, was beautiful and in one long piece at this time. The animals were so numerous that they wore this mountain down by going over it so many times and that is why it looks like that today. Another part of it, to the southwest of Navaho Mountain, was worn down by their crossing over it so many times, too. The animals were thus enclosed by these mountains and the Little and Big Colorado Rivers.
After the animals became calm during the night, she went to the canyon where the water meets from the two great rivers. It was here at the junction of the Colorado Rivers that Salt Woman was created. She was created from the water washing back and forth against the rock or soil of a mountain. From the salty foam she was created—as if it were intercourse. Salt Woman was created long before White Bead Woman, and they were not related even by clan.
There is a story about Salt Woman at the junction of the Colorado Rivers where she was created. Near there is a hill which is of rocks shaped like a hogan. In the center of this is a hole which has water inside. This water never overflows the hole and two ladders reach up from this water to within three feet of the top. If this hole looks black there will be lots of rain. There were gods that came up with Salt Woman in a cane like the other gods in New Mexico. There is a salt trail which has a marker to show where it is. Here is the hole which the Hopi claim as theirs. (The hole referred to is perhaps the one visited by the Hopi in their quest for salt. Intercourse is simulated with the hole and gifts left for the Salt Woman. Reference to this is found in Simmons, 1942. pp. 235-236.)
There is a jackass hoof print made by some of the Salt Woman’s animals as she drove them out of the hole to the west side of Shadow Mountain. She became warm and threw the sweat from her forehead, and it made the soil salty there. She continued up the Little Colorado Canyon and left a finger mark there upon the wall. When everything is good upon the earth, the mark is new; if it is old, then things are evil in the world. It was there at the junction of the rivers that Salt Woman and White Bead Woman met. Salt Woman drove on to Shadow Mountain while White Bead Woman later drove on to the west.
Salt Woman went on to Winslow, Holbrook, Salt or‘áš̨ih, Arizona. There is a lake or reservoir that people can get salt from. Salt Woman now lives there. After you get salt from the junction or the Salt Lake, should you look back or jiggle the load or try to adjust the pack, it will become heavier and heavier. It will also become heavier as you continue to walk on.
White Bead Woman sat there by the bank and then stepped back from the water. She then made a fire and prepared to stay the night. There is a gap down in the canyon where this happened. As she sat there, there appeared a fine young man out of the water called Sea Horse. This man looked like a horse, yet was a man. She spent a night with this man upon ground which was solid or hard. The next morning White Bead Woman had blood coming from her vagina, and this was the first period or menstruation in the world. The animals outside of her basket were later lost because of this infidelity. She left there as a gift to this man, salt, shell, turquoise, jet, white bead, oyster shell and red shell. These things are still there to this day. These gifts were all for this man.
After she had done this, she urinated into the Little Colorado and that is why it is now red as it runs into the Big Colorado. The next morning she went back to the top of the mountain where she had left all of her animals. As she got to the top of the mountain, she found all of her animals gone. On the west of Cedar Ridge is a mountain that was originally the escaped wild sheep from the herds of White Bead Woman. All of the wild sheep and most of the animals who escaped later turned into mountains. All of these animals that did not turn into mountains went into the Kaibab Forest and are still there. That is the reason there are so many game animals there now.
Near the joining of the two rivers is another gap where White Bead Woman went across with the few animals left in the basket. (There were still left the deer, antelope, all of the meat animals, turquoise, berries, p. 89 corn, squash, etc.) She ate some of the corn seeds for her lunch on the way to the west. She went on to Mesa Verde and to ch·ōsgī́. There is a pattern of the Sun there—a sand painting. It is still there and people pray to this Sun and no one can go there unless he has the right prayer.
It is important because White Bead Woman made the Sun pattern. It was made on a rock and planted near there was a plant called Black Medicine, ’aze·’łižin, and a plant called Big or Large Medicine, ’aze·’coh. These two medicines are used in many ways and for many things. She brought the plants with her from the east. If anything goes wrong on the earth, the pattern looks old, and if everything is well, the pattern looks new. The location of the pattern is not known. She planted oak trees further on. Near these she piled some rocks for a marker to tell the trail which she called Pile-of-Rocks.
White Bead Woman continued on to Hopi Towers and on to Gray Mountain and on to the south side of Grand Canyon. She went right on until she arrived at the sea near the highest mountain in California, Mount Whitney. All of the people gathered around her when she arrived. All of the gods living near this area gathered and some even came from the home of White Bead Woman to the east. On top of this mountain was a hogan. If you look there now, it is still there. If you should look at this hogan when things are going bad, then it will look old. If it looks new, then affairs in the world are going to be good.
There are many things on the top of this mountain such as turquoise, flints, black shining dirt, pollen, white bead, horses of stone and many other things. All things that the medicine men made use of then and now can be found there. One of the gods picked up a boy and girl when they came from the east. He took them so that these children could be taught all the songs of the gods before they left the earth. White Bead Woman knew all of the songs which the rest of the gods did not. These children were to learn everything from her.
The gods did not have soapweed in the west where they were, so they had a talk to decide what to use for soap in the ceremonies. The War Twins, meanwhile, did not know there was going to be a sing for these children in order to teach them all of the sacred things the White Bead Woman knew. In fact they did not even know that the children had been taken to the west. The gods finally decided to bury jet, flint, white bead, oyster shell and turquoise so that a plant of soap would grow. They planted these things in the evening and the sing was held over the boy and girl all during the night.
The sing was held because these children had learned all from the White Bead Woman. They now could instruct the rest of the people while White Bead Woman was gone to the west. The dance was held now and the gods danced over the side of these seed materials. These seeds soon began to grow. In the morning they dug up the yucca and were now ready to make soap. During the ceremony they put plants underneath a basket which were pinyon, cedar, evergreen, fir, spruce and kinds of plants, but no pine. The basket was made of white bead like before and was about the size of a marriage basket.
At the time of the sing over the children the War Twins did not know that it was taking place, but they heard a rumor about it. The First Twin started off with a friend, God-Water-Carrier. The First Twin had gone to this friend and told him to go on a journey with him. This friend lived at White-Water-Fall. As they left on their trip it started to rain. They were in this rain all the way down to California. When they got there, the rain went on past the hogan and they went inside.
Inside the hogan, the First Twin asked his mother. “Why didn’t you tell me you were here and that this ceremony was going on? Am I the wrong kind of a god? Why didn’t you notify me? Aren’t I entitled to be notified?” White Bead Woman answered her son saying, “I know you have nothing to do or say about what is going on out here. That is why we did not notify you.”
Then the Twin said. “Have these children learned all the power that they are going to learn?” These children were still Earth People and not yet gods. “Is there any more for them to learn?” White Bead Woman said, “No, this is why we have picked these children. The people did not learn all of my power. I am going away with all the power, but now all of your Earth People will know everything.” The Twins were gods and there were also many gods all over the world. The War Gods and the other gods at times were bad, disobedient, and not right. That is why she was “so stingy” with her knowledge. No one knew as much as she did about the ways of the world.
After White Bead Woman had answered her son, he said, “It is fine that these children know all and have all the power.” He asked another question, “Did they learn the Good Way Song? Did they learn all the songs of the Five Night Sings? Did they learn the War Songs? Did they learn the Yeibache Songs? Did they learn all the other songs?” She answered saying, “It is all complete. All of these things have been learned. Now I do not have to worry about anything.” They had all the power p. 91 gained from knowing these things for they were not gods, but humans. That night the people finished the singing. In the morning the gods decided to send the children back with the Navaho—after they were to create them.
White Bead Woman in the morning took dirt from her chest and made the figures of two people. From her back she took more dirt and molded two more figures. From her right palm she molded two more figures. From the left palm she took dirt and once again molded two small figures. From the right foot dirt was taken and from the left more dirt and molded into figures. At last there were twelve small figures of humans—half of the figures women and half men. Each time White Bead Woman made the figures, she took her fingernail paring and the grease from her body along with the dirt to mold them. That is the reason we get so dirty. If she had not made Navahos from fingernail paring, this would not have happened. This is the reason why the Navaho get so dirty, in particular.
It is the belief of the Navaho that dirt comes from the food which we eat. As we eat dirty things or salty foods especially, this dirt comes from the inside of the body from the things we eat. Because of this, the Navaho take sweat baths to make these wastes come from the pores. This is the reason the Navaho use the sweat bath so much, in order to get rid of the body wastes. When other people take a hot bath, if not a Navaho, it is for the same purpose.
The people who were created were Navaho. The dirt had been taken and molded into figures like us, but very tiny. All of them were laid on the ground with a Never-Been-Shot-Buckskin put over the top and with one on the bottom. These figures were prayed and sung over by the White Bead Woman, Talking God and all of the other gods. After this was done, these small figures came to life and grew to full size. These people were to be called Created-Navaho, diné ’alya·ígí. These twelve people were then sent along with the two children to the east where the gods had been in the beginning.
After all this had happened, White Bead Woman continued to the west. From here are two stories—one to the west and one coming back to the east. We shall now follow the story to the west. White Bead Woman started off, and the gods went to places where they were to stay forever. Some of the gods went into the earth, some into the heavens, some into the mountains and some into the water. These gods became settled and said, “From now on no person shall see us again.”
On the other side of the Gap there is a wall where there is a picture of a Yeibache with a white face and feathers. It if shows up good to the eye and is easily seen, there will be rain. If not, then there will be no rain. This represents the Talking God, Yeibache. He has twelve feathers on his head. When there is a Yeibache Dance, the others in the dance will have two feathers, and the last dancer has twelve turkey feathers and is Calling God. This last man is the clown of the dance and picks up anything that falls from the other dancers. He can do this for he is the funny man. Calling God is a clown while Talking God is always taking care of everyone.
The gods made the promise that they would never be seen or talked to by the Earth People. People were never to see the gods or angels again. “You will see us, but we will be flowers, grass, plants, trees, rocks, earth, lightning and everything upon the earth. These will show you that we are still with you.” All the Navaho, therefore, pray to all of these for they represent the gods themselves and are not the gods. This was told to the people at this time. When it rains and there is nothing showing on the ground, plants and flowers appear. These are the gods themselves. Anything that grows represents the gods. Birds, stars, clouds, rain are all gods.
Some of the gods went back to Black Belt Mountain, sísnajĭni, and some went to the mountain by Crown Point Mountain, some to the other six mountains, and still lesser gods into the other mountains of the earth. Any place where there are black stripes on the earth is found represents Talking God. Water running out of the earth also represents him. Some of the gods went into all kinds of trees. (F. G. would not tell the names of the gods and where they went for he felt he would lose his power as a medicine man. A man who was not a medicine man would have no power to lose and thus could tell.) These trees move and act as if they were alive. After all this had happened, all of the gods left and said. “We will never see each other again.”
After the Twin had finished talking to his mother, he did not stay for the sing. He went back to his home at Reversible Mountain and he and his brother went towards Williams, over where Prescott Copper Mine is now, to change into rocks. There are two rocks that look like the Twins at this place now. The souls (spirits) of the Twins are still in these rocks. They have all their power there, and can hear the prayers of the Earth People. If the world changes, they will come back to life and destroy all the evil—like before. The Twins got their power from the Sun and will keep it until more troubles come upon the earth.
Should the world change, the Twins, White Bead Woman and all of the other gods will return to earth. All of the gods taught the Twin certain powers to kill all of the evil upon the earth. The gods had equal power, but all in different ways. White Bead Woman was taught in the same way as the Twins were later. The reason the War Twins won the wars with their enemies is the same reason the United States always wins their wars—the War Twins are on the good side. If the Navaho were with the Russians or Germans, they would have been the ones who would win the wars. The Navaho speech was used in the Pacific and the people learned the Navaho had the power, and that is why they were used to help the allies.
White Bead Woman went out to the Sun’s house that was in the sea. Some medicine men say she traveled on foot to the west, but she is a god and does not travel in this way. The house of the Sun was sitting on the ocean, but was not an island. Sometimes people see it, but not all of the time. It was made of turquoise, white bead, jet and oyster shell. White Bead Woman looked at the house and blew a rainbow spectrum to the house. She got on it and rode to the house on the ocean. Nowadays we have boats like this house according to what the house of the Sun did. Ships have rooms, beds and all the things that the house of the Sun had. The Sun’s house is like a submarine and sinks sometimes into the sea and that is why you cannot see it. White Bead Woman reached the Sun’s house in the evening.
The Sun was glad to see her and he laughed and kissed her because of his happiness. Everything was in the house that she needed. The house was made as follows: The floor of the middle room was made of oyster shell polished like marble. The walls were also of oyster shell. To the east room the floor and walls were of polished white bead. To the south were floors and walls of turquoise. To the west there was again a room of oyster shell. In the last room, to the north, were black jet walls and floor. This house was like the Sun’s house to the east.
This house also had clouds on all of the walls. In the middle room was a white male and female cloud on the wall. To the south was a blue male and female cloud. To the west was a yellow male and female cloud. Upon the north wall was a black male and female cloud. In this house were also seen the mortar and pestle in the floor and the many flints on the walls. After White Bead Woman had been there four days, she began getting old age (about 400 years old). If White Bead Woman had not gotten old at this time, it would not have been possible for old age to come about now.
After these four days had passed, she went into the east room, and when she came out, she was younger. After going into each of the rooms and finally coming out of the last one to the north, she was again a young girl. Even today she gets very old every four years, and she has to go through this procedure. Because of the four rooms, she will get young every four years, too. First Man and First Woman live at the east in the Sun’s house, and they, too, get old every four years. They, too must do the same as the White Bead Woman.
All the other gods became old every twelve years, and when this happens, they all come together. There is a meeting place which is at another Black Mountain on the other side of Holbrook called Woodruff Buttes or tˣo·žį’xʷi·zo. These gods have a meeting there every night to talk matters over. Anyone who wants to can hear these gods. These gods, unlike the others talked about, become young every twelve years. They, too, have a house so that when they get old they can go through it and become young again.
The Sun also gets old like the other gods and has to go through his house so that he will get young again. White Bead Woman spent most of her time in the middle or center room. It was at this time that she got the name of Changing Woman, or Woman-Who-Changes. The house to the east is made the same as the one to the west. The Sun’s other wife lives there.
The story now continues on to the east from Mount Whitney with the fourteen people. The people came out towards their ancient lands with the male and female bear, male and female big snake, male and female thunder bird, male and female wind, male and female mountain lion and the male and female wolf. The job of these animals was to protect the people from any evil or harm. They were pets to the people. These people were trying to make pets or dogs out of the wolves as they traveled along.
When they came to Williams, they met some Arrow People in human form. They fought with these Arrow People and when the fourteen people were about to be beaten, they turned to the bears and asked for help from them. The bears began to fight and to kill all of the enemy. Victorious, the people continued on to the west of San Francisco Peaks. There they found a spring where there are two mountains together. This place was called Where-They-Spent-a-Night-with-the-Bears.
There are two stories here which come out from this story. One p. 95 goes to the Leupp and the other goes through Tuba City, Arizona. The one that goes along the Loop is a male story and the one through Tuba is a female story. There is a different version of each story according to the direction. There is a flat mountain on the end of San Francisco Peaks. This mountain is Chipped Off Mountain or ził k’élkal. The lions were always behind, and the people finally left them there. The two mountain lions wore out their paws and they were told, “That is where you are going to stay from this time on. You will be used in the future times by the Earth People. Your skin will be quivers, your claws shall become necklaces and your fat shall be used for medicine.”
The people continued along the top of the mountains and one person was carrying the big snake. The man got tired and let the big snake go on the ground. This snake escaped and it is still living in the lava rock, but no one has seen it. “Sometimes he will be seen in the future time,” it was said. The people also told the male big snake he would be used in the future. It was the male snake that was left there and the female was carried on. If people do not have corn pollen, it can be shaken off of a big snake (or bear, thunder, tornado or wind). This was to be the purpose of big snake and this pollen was to be used in the future time. Some medicine men use this type of pollen for certain rites. The claws of the wolf and mountain lion are used in the same ways.
The travelers went on and crossed at Tuba Wash, near the Colorado River and went across Cameron. Lava Rock by Cameron shows the place they crossed the Colorado River. The people got a drink at the spring, Black Spring, on the other side of Cameron and went on to Shadow Mountain. Long ago there used to be tiny dogs barking in that spring. (F. G. does not know why.) All the people decided to spend a night at Shadow Mountain. They had come to Willow Springs after Shadow Mountain. At the game corral at Shadow Mountain there is a spring called Hard-Ground-Around-the-Spring or tˣóbe·xʷi·sgáń.
They went to Willow Springs to the north side of Tuba City and then on to the northeast of the Hopi Reservation at Moenkopi. They followed along where the highway to Tuba is now towards White Mesa. From White Mesa they went to a spring on the east side called Covered-up-Spring or tˣók’i·šže’é. They continued on to Red Lake and then to Cow Springs and towards Shonto.
While they were going towards Cow Springs, two captured Arrow children began playing. The children were eating wild onions and plants as they went through this country, and this is why they were behind. At p. 96 Shonto the wanderers waited for the two children to catch up with them. The travelers said. “We will wait. We have two children to come.” One person went back to get the two children. He could not find them and came back and told the people they were gone. He looked for tracks and found some leading towards Red Lake.
At the road to Red Lake there is a hump along a flat area. When the man went around this hump, he saw two children going to Red Lake and so he ran after them. He came around the point of the hill and got into the open and saw the children going into the rocks. These two children became the Elephant’s Feet. The first one was the boy and the next one was the girl. The boy was from the Water-Coming-Together-Clan. The girl was of the Edge-Water-Clan. All of the leaders or heads of the clans carried canes as they walked along.
There is another story which also tells of the travels of the fourteen. The White Bead Woman made the different clans when the people were first made. They were given their names by her. The first two people to be made were called Along-the-Mountain-Clan. Their pet was to be the male and female mountain lion. This is the reason why the Navahos of this clan are heavy set and have stub noses. This clan had a turquoise cane which they carried with them.
The people created from the back of White Bead Woman were called the Mud Clan, having as a mascot a male and female bear with the leader carrying a white bead cane. The people created from the left hand of White Bead Woman became the Near-the-Water-Clan, having a pet male and female big snake and carrying a cane made out of dark oyster shell. The people from the right hand of White Bead Woman were called the Bitter-Water-Clan with a pet of a male and female thunder bird and carrying a jet cane. The people from the left foot were called Many-Goats-Clan with a pet male and female wind god and carrying a cane out of red stone, céłčí·’ (The informant’s first statement was that these people of the left foot carried no cane. On later discussion the sentence was changed as above. The reasoning behind this is not known for certain, but in all the available versions of the Creation Myths, there are twelve people created, with but four leaders and four canes.)
The people created from White Bead Woman’s right foot were called the Black-Sheep-Clan having a pet male and female wolf. These people had a cane of different kind of oyster shell called very white oyster shell. On the way back to the original land of the Navaho there was much water found along the way. As the different people set out from the White Bead Woman they took along their pets with them.
They met and captured some Arrow People, ka·’ dine’é, as has been explained before, and killed the rest. The clan that did this was the Bitter-Water-Clan. The two posts or Elephant’s Feet were a boy and a girl from the Arrow People. It was not the boy or girl who had received all of the power that got lost, but these captured Arrow People that turned into rocks. The boy and girl were trying to escape and go back home to their own people. The home of some of the gods was at Shadow Mountain. They were to have had a Fire Dance when they arrived at night.
There are two stories here; one is as correct as the other. One goes like this: Near this mountain there is a gully with rocks all around it for it was an antelope corral. Later it changed into a mountain. This is where the gods caught antelope for meat. There were four ways to get into the corral from the four directions. The other story is that this mountain is a hogan. Gods now have their home in Shadow Mountain.
There are trees on top of Shadow Mountain where the gods dried meat. There is also a flat rock to dry meat upon at Shadow Mountain, so the story goes. There are, then, the two stories: One which tells about the hogan and the Fire Dance, and the other about the catching of the antelope by these people. There is also a rope that changed into a rock there. The head man sat inside of the hogan gathering power to round the antelope up. When the people went hunting the heads of the deer and the buckskins were put on the people, and they were thus disguised and were able to kill the animals. The power is lost to man to gather antelope and deer now as it was done in the old days.