In the latter part of the year 1902 the late Dr. Washington Matthews entered into an arrangement with the Department of Anthropology of the University of California, through its head, Professor F. W. Putnam, in accordance with which he was to devote the remainder of his life to the preparation of a large amount of unpublished material which he had accumulated during the many years of active life among the North American Indians. In accordance with the agreement, this material was received by the Department of Anthropology shortly after the lamented close of Dr. Matthews' life.
It was the good fortune of the editor to spend some days in Dr. Matthews' company during the autumn of 1903, when plans were formed for the completion and publication of certain material. The texts of a number of prayers and songs, for the most part connected with the ceremony of the Night Chant, had been recorded hastily, and required the aid of a Navaho to bring them into proper condition for publication. Since Dr. Matthews' health would not permit of a trip to the Navaho country and his increasing deafness rendered the acquisition of information from native sources difficult, the editor undertook the work of revision. The first trip made in 1904 to the Navaho country was unsuccessful because of the serious illness of Hatali Natloi, the priest from whom the texts had been originally obtained. A second trip during January of the present year resulted in the accomplishment of the task, but alas! too late for the completed work to pass under the critical hand of its author. The editor must the therefore assume the responsibility for the addition of certain lines to the texts, for the substitution of certain words made at the dictation of Hatali Natloi, for the alteration of the orthography of a few Navaho words, and for the choice, here and there, of one of the two possible renderings suggested by the author. It is needless to say that the free translations are the unimprovable work of the author.
Berkeley, Cal., April 14, 1906.