Sacred-Texts Native American Navajo
Index Previous Next


 There were fourteen people now, the twelve made by White Bead Woman and the two children stolen from the east. At Red Lake the first man created, who was the head man, stuck his cane into the ground and found that he was close to water. The water was close to the top of this hole. One of the men said, “The water is close.” The man who said this got the name of the Close-Water-Clan. The people continued on past Shonto and on past the west side of Kayenta, and on to where the hill drops down which is called Sloping Hill, or ǹde·lk’id.

 At a spring below the hill they built a dam using a rock for a wall. This was done for mud was coming down the hill because of the extra water. The place was muddy and they laid rocks on the bottom of the spring so they could get clear water. As they continued on the second man put his p. 98 cane into the ground and pulled it out. Water came out, and it was salty and muddy. A man said, “It is muddy and salty.” This man was given the name of the Muddy or Mud Clan. The whole place was getting muddy and the ground was like quicksand. There was a wall built using large rocks by all fourteen people. This was so the water would not go all over and get everything muddy and become like quicksand.

 The people spent several years at these different places. The wall that was built looks as if the cement between the rocks has handprints from these people. While they were so busy making the dam, the pet female big snake disappeared. After the snake disappeared, she went to Rock-That-Steals or cé’ani’įhi. This she-snake went on towards Shonto and got a drink at the spring called Shonto and which is one mile above where the trading post is now. She went on to Kaibito, where there is a window rock, on the point of White Mesa. This was made by the snake. A man was sent out to bring her back.

 As this man came over the hill at Shonto, the female snake was going over White Mesa. He saw the reflection off of her back. This man ran towards the top of White Mesa and then saw her going over Red Mesa. When he got to Red Mesa, he saw the snake going to the northwest of Red Mesa. When this man got on top of Red Mesa, he saw her go towards ził nanes ƛ’i·ží which was to the northwest. He tried to run after her from Red Mesa to the northwest, but before he could get on top of the hill, she slowly changed into a mountain. As she went along, she got longer and longer and finally became what is known today as Crooked Mountain.

 All of the changes from people and animals into stone or mountains were done by themselves for they had this power. When this man got to Crooked Mountain, he could not find the snake. He talked to Crooked Mountain and found the mountain was the female snake. The snake mountain told him that in the future all of the things which had been changed into rocks and mountains would change back into whatever they were before. This was to happen when the world changes or comes to an end.

 When the man went back to the people, he told them what happened and so they moved on. How many years they stayed there is not known. The people went along a path where the highway to Flagstaff is now. There is a gap on this side of Kayenta near McDonald’s Trading Post in Monument Valley. It was at this time that these people divided into two groups. Some went to Batatican where they were stationed at Where-the-Ruins-Are, bitˣ áht’ahdi kín. The other group went on to Kayenta.

p. 99

 At this time they started to irrigate with the water from the river at Kayenta. At that time there was water in the river. Some of the people went west to Kayenta, near Wild or Fierce Spring. The group was growing quite large by this time for there were many children by now. There were the men, women and children of the original twelve plus the Arrow People who had been captured. Some of the people were told to live at Fierce Spring forever. The other group went near the north of Kayenta where there is a Black Post. They call this post Many-Hair, ’a’atání. The people got the name because there was a tanning place where the hair was left behind, which was near Black Post. There is much arguing about the story at this point.

 These people were still there at Oljetoh, which means moon-water, near Monument Valley. Earlier before this time there had been no name for this spring. A woman went to get some water from the spring and looked in and saw the moon reflected on the water. Because of this, they named the spring Oljetoh. Soon after this the people started to move eastward of Oljetoh. They traveled on until they came to a black rock and a man wanted to stay there. He wanted to stay there forever and because he had the power turned into a rock called Black Post.

 To the west of Dennehotso was a man who also wanted to stay there forever and so he also turned into a rock called Black Post. This also happened to the west of Dennehotso to a family who were behind all the rest of the people who were marching up ahead. The whole family became tired, and they stayed behind and turned into a rock which was later called Baby Rock. This rock looks as if a woman were carrying a baby on her back. There are many different women, men and animals who turned into rock during these early times.

 The people traveled on through Dennehotso to Mexican Spring, nakaĭ tō. West of Mexican Spring there was a wash that is round because the water runs almost in a circle there. On they traveled from Mexican Springs to a round mountain this side of Farmington. This mountain is round and it looks as if it were round in all directions and as if it were turning around. Towards and beyond Shiprock were two black rocks at the spring.

 The people preparing lunch met two people there. One man went to get water from the spring and met a man and woman there. The strangers said to each other, “Hello,” and the Created Navaho got out his tobacco bag. When they had taken out their pipes, they found they both had the same shape and design. The man and woman also had a sack of p. 100 tobacco that looked the same. Each recognized these things and so they said they belonged to the same clan. Because of this they were friends. The Created Navaho was of the Bitter-Water-Clan. The stranger was also a Navaho and of the Bitter-Water-Clan. The stranger belonged to the other group of people who had gone the other way to reach their ancient land. These two men were then to be called Coming-to-the-Water-Yellow-Pasture-Clan, tắ·ă pān łtsṓī, because of their meeting.

 The people had lunch at this spring and went towards the place called Braced Rock, tsḗ bēyē’ānaĕ áhˣá. They lived here for quite awhile and then left a turquoise stone man and woman, a jet man and woman, a white bead man and woman and an oyster shell man woman there. They forgot these stone figures when they left. White men dug up the turquoise man and took it away and that is why the rock almost fell down. White men were afraid and so braced the rock a few years ago. The carved turquoise was like a person and three to four inches tall. These figures were used as a power to protect the family, but some moved away and forgot them. Only the turquoise man and woman were used in this way. These people had these figures with them from the beginning.

 Also at this place was a large rock that these people held up by using a rock wall underneath it. The whites have now put a post under it to hold it up. When this rock falls the world will change or end. This rock almost fell once during the war, and if it had, it would have been us who would have been beaten instead of the Japanese or Germans. The people continued to where there was a canyon which had a waterfall called tˣó hˣă’ădắ el tī·hī·. This is north of Gallup, New Mexico. There were large holds in the rock caused by the water and water laid in these holes. One man said, “There is a lot of water in there.” They called this man the Big-Water-Clan or tˣó cohni.

 On the east side of Tohatchi there are two cottonwood trees and that was where the two children were found that were taken to the west to learn from White Bead Woman. Here there is a hole about three feet deep and twelve inches in diameter. One of the people dipped a lot of water from here and still much remained. This man said, “There is a lot of water.” The people went there and found the children. These two children had been found in a corn field and the gods took them to the west. The Created Navaho left the children here and they told the children to tell the men and women all that had been taught to them by White Bead Woman. The group that left San Francisco Mountains met them here. (The story from San Francisco Mountains is known to F. G., but this story must be told by another medicine man. Frequently this was the case in the story telling p. 101 when a story or name was so sacred that the telling of such secrets would literally drain the medicine man of a portion of his power.)

 From this point on the people divided into many groups and forrned into the different clans. After the various people separated many things happened. During the time of the wars with the other tribes, there was a woman from the Red House Clan, kin łí·čí·hí·, who was going crazy. She was crazy about men and doing many wrong things. She went south towards the Apache country. The Apache and Navaho were not one people at this time.

 This woman went to the Apaches and married one of the men of the tribe. She was pregnant before she married the Apache. After she lived with these people for awhile, she had a baby girl. She took good care of the child until she got old enough to get married. The mother gave the girl to her husband, who was an Apache chief. The mother was going man crazy again and the chief wanted to kill his wife because of this. Both the girl and her mother had children from this Apache chief. Between them they had five girls and four boys.

 An Apache woman, the mother-in-law of these women, told them they were going to be killed. This Apache woman told them to run away to their clan. She said, “Run away and be careful or you will be killed in the morning.” This lady made a lunch for them to take on their journey. She was watching out for them every moment. The chief told her to watch the two women so they could not escape. The old woman hid the lunch and told them where it was. “Your children are Navaho, but the Apaches will do nothing to them for they are the chief’s children.” Both of the women were playing around with other men.

 The old woman told them, “Try and be careful as you go towards the Navaho and do not show footprints for I am not going to tell them where you went. I am going to hide this knowledge from them. I will not tell them anything.” During the night the two women started out to where the lunch was hidden and began traveling that night. When day came, they hid themselves so they would not be seen. In the morning there were groups of Apaches searching for them all around. At night they started all over again and hid that morning again. In the morning the Apaches came back and forth in groups again. Towards the end of the day the men started going home again.

 The women in the morning started moving again, stepping on rocks. They traveled all night and hid when morning came. The next morning p. 102 the Apaches were coming again and about three o’clock they passed by the women, but they were hunting in groups of only two or three now. The Apaches went back and the women started out again. At midnight the old woman could go no further. She had swollen ankles and knees, but she crawled on going easy and crying as she went. They went on to the other side of Flagstaff, on to the east side of the mountains (San Francisco), on to the southwest of Winslow to Square cactus Mountain or xoš dik’áni.

 The mother crawled on the other side of this mountain to show where the Navaho people were and where her people lived. She kept crawling and crawling to get to the top of the mountain. Finally, she got to the top and she told her daughter which was the way to go. She was to go to the mountain near the Loop called Midst of Buttes or čéžin bi·’. She said, “There is a place called Killing Sheep Mountain or dibé ńžígáń on the other side of this mountain.”

 The mother told the girl where all of these places were to be found. “There are people living on the other side of Black Mountain in a place called Canyon de Chelly. That is where I came from. You have a grandfather and grandmother and other relatives there.” She told the girl to go on. “Don’t try to wander off any place. Don’t turn back.” The girl was about twenty-one or twenty-two at this time. The old woman told the girl, “I will stay here and wait until my leg and ankle get well.” She was really going back to her children even if the Apaches killed her.

 Again she told the girl, “At this time of the year the Navaho hunt at dibé ńžígáń. There is a river, the Little Colorado River, and even if it is high, don’t turn back. Use a stick to tell where the shallow parts are and don’t go into the deep water.” The older woman had a little lunch left so she gave it to the girl and the old lady started crying. She told the girl for the last time, “Don’t worry about me. Somehow you might get back to your people and be with them again.”

 The young girl started out and stayed at Winslow. When she came to the river, she got a stick and did as she had been told. When she went across the river she came to Killing Sheep Mountain. While she was on this hill, she saw some people riding horses in the distance at a place called Coyote Place or ma’i· šižé·’. One of the men saw her on the hill. They said, “There is someone walking way over on the top of that hill.” These two riders came up to her, and they saw a girl sitting there. These two riders asked questions, but she answered only in Apache. At last they understood when she mentioned her grandmother and grandfather.

 They said, “It must be the woman who went to the Apache and must be the woman called Running- or Wild-Woman. They started back with p. 103 the girl and said, “We will find out about this when we get back to ma’i· šižé·’.” The people asked where she came from and she said, “Pine Canyon in Apache country.” She told everything that had happened and mentioned her grandmother and grandfather. Some of her relatives were at this camp, and they all started back to Chinle and on to Canyon de Chelly. Later the girl married one of the Navaho and started to raise more children. The people named her Red House Clan or khĭn łinchī́nĭ. She got her name by the canyon called deščî·ni’eszáń. That is where the Red Streak Clan came from. The children left there are the same clan that live there today. About this time other groups had their origin.

 This is a story about the diné nókoλô·ni·, or Eskimos. (These are actually the Athapascans to the north, but the Navaho believe them to be the Eskimos.) This is also the story of the Fire Dance. One time there was a man who went to where there was a large crowd gathered. This man stayed for awhile and married a woman in the dark. This woman had no flesh on her nose for she was of the Insect People. This woman told someone to go and tell her man, her husband, to come and eat Indian tortillas. There are like Mexican tortillas with corn husks, corn meal and meat which is boiled. This man did not want to come for he was bashful of this woman.

 The Fire Dance took place shortly after this. There were many women like this for they were born that way. They were Insect People at that time and all carried knives. All of the women wanted to cut this man into pieces for his not wanting his wife. However, the man was not killed. They began to dance inside the hogan and outside towards the north.

 They left the Fire Dance, and as they walked along they said these things, “From now on when we face the south from the north the people are going to freeze up. The winds will make them very cold.” The wind was to come and go inside the Insect People’s noses and cause it to be very cold. If there is a cold north wind, it is caused by this. These Insect People went north and became the Eskimos. They were told never to be seen again by the Navaho. The Navaho have seen them and that is why the world has trouble like it has now.

 A long time ago at Blue House, kin do·iłiži near kintˣe·l, there lived a Navaho girl no one wanted. Her parents were dead so she went to some neighboring Navaho to live by grinding corn and by cooking. Even though she was a good looking girl, no one wanted her for a wife so she wandered from hogan to hogan. One day she was out looking for food when she saw some smoke coming out of the ground. She went up to it p. 104 and looked down into a small hole. Inside was an old woman spinning a web.

 The old woman looked up as she saw the shadow of the girl and said to her, “Come down to my house.” The old woman was Spider Woman or na·sžé’i·’eszą́’. The Navaho girl said, “The hole is too small,” but Spider Woman said, “It is big enough.” The Spider Woman blew at the hole four times, each time it got bigger and bigger until it was big enough for the girl to climb through. The girl sat by Spider Woman and watched her weave.

 Spider Woman had a long stick with a hole in one end, and she passed the thread in and out of the loom making a blanket. She was making a design of everything in the sky. The Navaho were later told not to make use of this design in their blankets. Spider Woman also told the Navaho not to make the designs too fancy. After Spider Woman had finished weaving the blanket, she went up to the ground above and lowered the Sun by blowing it to the west. She then asked the girl to stay the night as it was getting dark. As soon as the Sun had gone down, Spider Man came in. He asked where this girl had come from and why she was there. His wife told him that everyone hated her and she felt sorry for her.

 The girl stayed for four days and watched Spider Woman make blankets. She learned the songs that went with the making of each part of the loom. There are songs still used today. One is used while spinning called the Spinning Song and the others while the tools are made. After she learned these things she went back to the hogan where she was staying and asked for cotton of three colors, yellow, black and white. At that time the Navaho had cotton and used coal, plants, blossoms and sandstones of all kinds for the dye. The colors stuck because of the songs and prayers. The Navaho girl took the cotton and put up a loom different from Spider Woman and like the Navaho use today and then began to weave. She completed one blanket that day. The following day she began another blanket and some Hopis came and watched her. Then they went home and made some blankets just like hers.

 The girl learned to make all designs, birds and animals. The Hopi learned how to weave from the Navaho. The girl was told by Spider Woman that she ought to know the songs in order to go to the extreme and make all of the designs. Spider Woman taught the girl all the songs and prayers. Spider Woman chose weaving for the Navaho in the beginning. She told the girl to leave an opening for the home of Spider Woman, just the same. Nowadays women do not know the songs and do not leave the openings.

p. 105

 In the early days the Navaho knew how to weave simply, but did not know how to make designs. They were picking these designs up, but hostilities began with the Utes, nṓdā’ă, Mexicans, nakaí, and other tribes. Each of these groups were stealing from the Navaho. The Navaho forgot the designs and the Pueblos took over. First Woman taught the Navaho how to weave. She taught them to learn to weave in the first world. Down below they learned to weave a Beautiful Design Skirt, which was below the knees. The Hopi took over and made it shorter. At this time it was made from cotton.

 When they got on this earth the people started raising sheep, and soon used wool for weaving. The Hopi learned to weave with the various designs just like they do now. The carrying basket and the water bottle were learned from Thunder God, ’iˇn̓i’. Now it has been taken away by the Comanche and other tribes. The Navaho learned this from the Thunder God. He had a water jug and they copied it from him. In the sand paintings, underneath the Thunder Bird are water jugs represented. The Thunder Bird represents the rain and represents the clouds carrying the rain.

 There was once a man who was a great gambler. He was very lucky at winning many things. He was called Earth Winner or ni’xʷi·ł bį hi·’. After a time of being very lucky, he began to lose everything he had won. He talked too much about what he had and whom he had gotten it from. All of of the people decided it was not fair for someone to talk like that so they took a black bow and put it on his tongue and cut it out. The people put his tongue on backwards, and the man began to mutter a new language. They put him on an arrow and shot him to heaven, and he kept mumbling all of the time. When he was shot into the air, he said, “I will be back someday to settle with you.”

 When this man got to mid-heaven, he met Bego Black, Bego Blue, Bego Yellow, Bego White, and Bego Silver living up there. These Begos asked him, “Where did you come from?” He said, “I am coming from below where the Earth People live. They put me in bad shape for they cut out my tongue and put it in backwards. I want you to make another Rhino. At one time they used to eat the Surface People.” The Begos fixed him a Rhino, but when they said, “Bego Rhino,” the figure turned into a cow. This cow began to moo and soon had a long horn. The Begos said to this man, “You will live on this in future days.”

 The man said, “I want you to make a fierce bear like the one who ate people on earth. They used to eat Surface People. I want you to make p. 106 this.” Again the Begos fixed a figure and said, “Bego Bear,” and this figure turned into a hog and began to grunt. The Begos said, “That will be your food and that is what you will live on.” The man said again, “I want you to make me a flying monster (eagle). It used to eat Surface People.” The Begos made another figure and when they said. “Bego Eagle,” it turned into a chicken—a rooster. The Begos said, “That is what you are going to live on in future days.”

 After all of these things had happened, this Death Bego said. “I want you to make a walking rock. They used to eat Earth Surface People.” The Begos made one and said, “Bego Walking Rock,” and the figure turned into a wagon. The Begos told the man, “That is what you are going to live on in the future.” At last the man said, “I want you to make me two antelopes who used to eat Earth Surface People.” The Begos made this last figure and when they said, “Bego Antelopes,” the figures turned into a mule. The Begos told the man, “That is what you will live on.”

 All the Begos told the Death Bego, “We did not make anything for you. We tried, but they just turned into certain animals and things.” This man and his goods were sent away. They all started off and came down in the land to the east, and that is where they live (Europe). The descendants of this man are thought to be Spanish. The Pueblos and some Navaho believe they got the sheep and horses from these Spaniards. The Navaho had sheep over here which had long curly black, brown and white wool. They also had goats of all kinds and horses and small mules. The big mules, sheep with rough heavy wool and the chickens came from overseas.