Nik Wallenda to Tight Rope across the Little Colorado River

by: Roberta John

Nik Wallenda will attempt to cross the Little Colorado River near Cameron, Az. on Sunday JUNE 23, 2013

Location: Little Colorado River Navajo Tribal Park, Navajo Reservation.

Nik Wallenda practicing his balance at Little Colorado River Navajo Tribal Park

(Nik Wallenda practicing his balance at Little Colorado River Navajo Tribal Park, May 2013. Photo by Geri Hongeva-Camarillo, Navajo Parks & Recreation)

 

“A Dream Come True”

 A prayer and a dream.

           That’s what builds a new path or will take you to new heights….literally. Case in point, Navajo Nation Park Manager Helen Webster and World Famous Tight Rope Legend Nik Wallenda each had a dream.

           It was a dream they had envisioned for many years….they just didn’t know their dreams would connect them.  Webster is a park manager for Little Colorado River Navajo Tribal Park, which oversees the Little Colorado River Gorge on the western outskirts of the Navajo reservation.  Located just off the beaten path, it is a haven of solace that has been uniquely sculpted by the hands of Mother Nature.  Wallenda on the other hand is a non-Navajo from Sarasota, Florida.

           Webster began working for the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department in February 2006.  It was never part of her goal in life to work for the Navajo Nation, but she believes everything happens for a reason.

           In the beginning, Webster said she had to start from scratch to get the park off the ground. Reflecting back, Webster said her first major project was to establish a fee booth, which she accomplished in a record time of four months.  Her vision then, which continues today, is to have state of the art infrastructure and facilities to create an accommodating atmosphere for visitors.

           Webster said, “Despite all the challenges and obstacles, I really enjoy my job. My goal is to provide quality customer service – I want our visitors to enjoy their visit here at Little Colorado River Gorge.”

           Over the years and one step at a time, Webster worked to help install an entrance fee station, improve fencing, install picnic tables, develop a hiking trail, install signage and waterless restrooms while never losing hope that one day she would see paved parking.

           Then one day there was an element of surprise when Location Scout PJ Connolly introduced Webster and Wallenda.  It seems the “King of High Wire” wanted to fulfill a life-long goal and walk across a towering canyon without a harness.  As fate would have it, Wallenda marveled the towering canyon walls at Little Colorado River Gorge as the perfect location to honor his great grandfather Karl Wallenda who died after falling from a tight rope in Puerto Rico in 1978.

           Wallenda was captivated by the rustic and mystic beauty of the Navajo Nation and viewed Little Colorado River Gorge as the ideal place to achieve his ambition.  It would be the highest walk he would attempt in his life yet. Webster saw this as an opportunity of a lifetime.

Although there was concern about the limited infrastructure and how an event of this magnitude could even happen, the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department rose to the occasion and agreed to work with Wallenda and make his dream come true.

Hence, many discussions and meetings have been held over the past several months to make this event become a reality.  It is not an easy task, but the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department is working diligently behind the scenes to produce a triumphant event for the world to see.

In fact, just the land clearances alone took more than 10 months to complete.  Some of these requirements included consent from local land users, and a biological, environmental and archaeological survey.

Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department Manager Martin L. Begaye, said “We are very honored and pleased that Nik Wallenda has selected the Navajo Nation as a location to help him achieve his life-long goal.  Hosting an event of this caliber requires a lot of pre-production planning and approval.  As stewards of our land, we are working cooperatively with many different individuals and entities to ensure that we also preserve and protect our natural resources so that future generations will continue to enjoy our native homeland.”

Echoing Begaye’s comment, Geri Hongeva-Camarillo, media representative at Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation, said “We began video production in April to promote the majestic beauty of the Navajo Nation.   During the two-hour long broadcast from the Discovery Channel, spectators will see and learn about the Navajo Nation.”

The video will feature interviews with various Navajo leaders, distinguished Navajo people and it will showcase our tribal parks.  Moreover, the Nik Wallenda Tight Rope Event is generating a lot of interest from worldwide media and the Navajo Nation is doing whatever it can do lay out the red carpet.  There will be a fashionable ensemble of local Navajo entertainers who will perform at a nearby location for the first 600 people who are fortunate enough to watch the event on a jumbotron.  Due to limited space, the public is encouraged to view the event on the Discovery Channel.

Considering the scope and distinction of this first-ever historic event, NBC and the Discovery Channel are collaborating to produce and air the June 23rd event live beginning at 6 p.m.  It is estimated that more than one billion people from throughout the world and more than 100 countries will be able to see the live telecast.

           As an act of goodwill and a spirit of camaraderie  to the Navajo Nation, NBC hired a contractor to pave a road to the Nik Wallenda Tight Rope site and a parking lot specifically for the media.  It was quite the challenge.  What normally takes years or months took only a matter of days to lay a new foundation and pathway….It was like an overnight transformation.

           Webster said, “I have been praying for improvements to Little Colorado River Navajo Tribal Park ever since I started.  I had no idea NBC would be able to pay for a new road and parking lot for us. This is what you call a miracle.”

           Begaye, added, “We have always wanted to make major improvements at Little Colorado River Navajo Tribal Park, but were unable to do so due to limited funding.  We are very grateful to NBC for helping the Navajo Nation.”

           Webster said after the event is over, she would like to see the new paved area as a new way to promote Little Colorado River Gorge, adding, “I want to thank my immediate staff , co-workers and other individuals who are assisting to make this event come to fruition.  It is amazing to know just how many people from throughout the world will be able to catch a glimpse of our beautiful Navajo culture. After they see the video, I hope they will want to visit the Navajo Nation.”

           And interestingly, it all started with a prayer and a dream from two individuals of two different worlds.

Roberta John, Senior Economic Development Specialist
Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation
(928) 871-7380
Email: bobbie@navajonationparks.org

           For more information about the event, please contact Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation at (928) 871-6647 or obtain information on their website at www.navajonationparks.org

Community Event will be at Shadow Mountain, viewpoint 1, near milepost 286 on Hwy 64, 18 miles west of Cameron, Az.

Event Schedule will be begin from 3:00pm – 7:00pm

Skywalk will be televised live on the Discovery Channel from 6:00pm – 8:20pm…. (5:00pm Pacific Time, 8:00pm Eastern Time)

The general public will not be allowed near skywalk site, credentials required.

The first 600 people will be allowed to watch on a JUMBOTRON screen located at Shadow Mountain, viewpoint 1- Little Colorado River Navajo Tribal Park area.

  • Bring water, snacks, sunscreen, umbrellas, folding chairs and dress comfortably.

  • June temperature in Cameron, Az is very warm, no Air Conditioners at this site.

  • Public Parking lot will be 3 miles north of Cameron Bridge, no parking at Shadow Mountain, viewpoint 1.

  • Public Shuttling will be begin at 1:00pm

We strongly advised watching the event from the comfort of your own home, Shadow Mountain Viewpoint -JUMBOTRON area will be very hot in the middle of June and there are no air conditioners at this site. Limit of 600 at Shadow Mountain Viewpoint.

DIRECTIONS TO CAMERON, AZ

Enter your location and get directions to Cameron, Az. by using Mapquest.com at :

http://www.mapquest.com/maps?city=Cameron&state=AZ

MILEAGE to Cameron, Az (mileage varies depending on route)

  • Tuba City, Az 26 mi
  • Flagstaff, Az 52 mi
  • Tusayan, Az 60 mi
  • Winslow, Az 102 mi
  • Window Rock, Az 179 mi
  • Phoenix, Az 197 mi
  • Cortez, Co 213 mi
  • Albuquerque, Nm 368 mi

Source: 

Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation at (928) 871-6647 or obtain information on their website at www.navajonationparks.org

Navajo forced education mistake with photos

The Navajo   treaty  1868 required the government to provide education at the rate of one teacher for every thirty children between the ages of six and sixteen.

Navajo students at Carlisle upon arrival

Navajo students at Carlisle upon arrival

The feeling that education is a white man’s invention is completely in error and reflects the “father knows best” approach which characterizes so much of the dealings of the dominant society with the Native Americans.

The Navajos did have a traditional system of education which allowed and provided the means by which Navajo culture could be passed on, changed, and retained.

Tom Toslino - Navajo as he arrived at Carlisle and after 3 years after

Tom Toslino - Navajo as he arrived at Carlisle and after 3 years after

First, the development and reliance on off-reservation boarding schools was one of the major devices whereby formal Navajo education was effected. The objective was the destruction of Navajo culture by removing the child far from the harmful influence of his home and family.

Navajos as they arrived at the Carlisle School

Navajos as they arrived at the Carlisle School

Navajos six months after arrival at the Carlisle School

Navajos six months after arrival at the Carlisle School

Carlisle Indian School was founded by a man who had both courage and vision but a man whose vision did not include any future or need for Indian culture and the continuation of separate Indian tribes.
Colonel Pratt, the founder of Carlisle Indian School, was an army officer with experience in fighting Indians on the southern plains and whose dream for the Indian included the destruction of Indian tribal entities and the abolition of Indian culture.

The technique used to accomplish these twin purposes was the establishment of an army-oriented boarding school far removed from the damaging influences of Indian tribes, Indian parents and Indian reservations.

Colonel Pratt started a system of education which is still prevalent and evident today: boarding schools located in off-reservation communities. Many teachers in those and other types of Indian schools even today believe that the future success of Indian students will rest in direct proportion to the degree that they forget their Indian language, culture and history and become “real Americans” who understand and believe only in the primacy and supremacy of the dominant society and its way of life.

Ruth Underhill, Here Comes the Navajo, Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1953,
Richard Henry Pratt, Battlefield and Classroom -Four Decades with the American Indian, 1867-1904, Yale University Press, 1964.

Kinaalda – Celebrating maturity of girls among the Navajo

The Navajo Puberty Ceremony  celebrating maturity of girls among the Navajo is held generally on the fourth night after the first evidence of the maiden’s entrance into womanhood. On the first morning following the moment of this change in life the girl bathes and dresses in her finest clothes.

Kinaalda - Celebrating maturity of girls among the Navajo

Kinaalda – Maturity ceremony for Navajo Girls

Later she stretches herself face downward on a blanket just outside the hogán, with her head toward the door. A sister, aunt, or other female relation, if any happen to be close at hand, or if not, a male relative other than her father, then proceeds symbolically to remould her.

Her arms and legs are straightened, her joints smoothed, and muscles pressed to make her truly shapely. After that the most industrious and energetic of the comely women in the immediate neighborhood is called in to dress the girl’s hair in a particular form of knot and wrap it with deerskin strings, called tsklólh.

Should there be any babies or little tots about the home, the girl goes to them, and, placing a hand under each ear, successively lifts them by the neck, to make them grow faster. Then she darts off toward the east, running out for about a quarter of a mile and back. This she does each morning until after the public ceremony. By so doing she is assured of continuing strong, lithe, and active throughout womanhood.

Grinding Corn at Kinaalda, Navajo Puberty Ceremony

Grinding Corn at Kinaalda, Navajo Puberty Ceremony

The four days preceding the night of the ceremony are days of abstinence; only such foods as mush and bread made from  may be eaten, nor may they contain any salt. To indulge in viands of a richer nature would be to invite laziness and an ugly form at a comparatively early age. The girl must also refrain from scratching her head or body, for marks made by her nails during this period would surely become ill-looking scars.

All the women folk in the hogán begin grinding corn on the first day and continue at irregular intervals until the night of the third, when the meal is mixed into batter for a large corn-cake, which the mother bakes in a sort of bean-hole outside the hogán.

Navajo Girl Molding at Kinaalda

Molding at Kinaalda

Molding – Photo courtesy of Gary Witherspoon

The ceremony proper consists of little more than songs. A medicine-man is called upon to take charge, being compensated for his services with blankets, robes, grain, or other articles of value. Friends and neighbors having been notified, they assemble at the girl’s hogán fairly early in the evening.

Navajo Girl Running at Kinaalda

Navajo Girl Running

Navajo Girl Running at Kinaalda – Photo courtesy of Gary Witherspoon

When dusk has settled, the medicine-man begins his songs, singing first the twelve “hogán songs” of the Bahózhonchi. After he has finished, anyone present who so desires may sing songs taken from the ritual of the same order. This motley singing and hilarity continue until well toward sunrise, when the mother brings in a bowl of yucca suds and washes the girl’s hair.

Her head and hair are dried with corn-meal, after which the girl takes her last run toward the east, this time followed by many young children, symbolically attesting that she will be a kind mother, whom her children will always follow.

Pouring Corn Batter for the ceremony cake (alkaan) Kinaaldá, the Navajo Puberty Ceremony

Pouring Corn Batter for the ceremony cake (alkaan) – Kinaaldá, the Navajo Puberty Ceremony

The hatál, or medicine singer, during her absence sings eight songs, generally termed the Racing songs. On her return the great corn-cake is brought in, cut, and divided among the assemblage, when all disperse, and the girl may once more loosen her hair and partake of any food she pleases.

 

Day Ritual Activities

First Day
Comb
Dress
Mold
Run
Grind Corn
Put pot of wheat near outdoor cooking fire (after the molding).

Second Day
Run
Grind Corn
Spread wheat in the sun to dry (after digging the pit).
Soak cornhusks (while working on the batter).
Third Day
Run
Grind Corn
Dig pit; build fire
Make mush
Put batter in pit; bless it
Cover pit
Gather soapweed root and white clay for morning (during the singing).
Fourth Day
Dawn
Run to east while four songs are sung.
One Twelve Word song, unless the ceremony is the first Kinaalda,
when this song is omitted.
Make offering to Mother Earth.
Prepare white-clay basket (during the Racing Songs).
Lift children (after the molding).
Girl goes back into hogan (after returning goods).
Retie girl’s hair.

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Navajo Nation water quality information available – Video

Navajo Nation Water Quality Project from Northwestern University is a interactive website to make water quality information easily available and analyzable online.

Navajo Tourism Etiquette HD Video

Elle Ganado wife of Tom Ganado

Tom’s Ganado mother and some of his white friends succeeded in persuading him that eight wives were seven too many. Out of the eight Tom chose Elle, who, strange to say, is the only wife who has borne him no children.

Elle Ganado

Elle Ganado

Tom and  are wealthy, as Navajos count wealth, owning several flocks of sheep and goats (which are cared for by Tom’s army of grandchildren) much turquoise, wampum and an abundance of the typical Navajo hand-wrought silver jewelry.
Tourists who have come to know the old couple wonder if they do not long for the life and people of their home country. They do, occasionally, and visit the reservation, but always return before they had intended. Thoroughly Americanized in their mode of living and sanitary habits, Tom and Elle soon tire of the filth and superstition of their tribe.
To their white friends Tom and Elle exemplify everything Navajo, but to their relatives at home they are sorely contaminated by American cleanliness and are earnestly besought by the medicine men to give up their dangerous habits of bathing and changing clothes occasionally.

Most photographers posed Elle with Navajo children. usually girls. Although usually identified as her children, she had none, and these were likely those of other craft demonstrators or Tom’s grandchildren from an earlier marriage.

Tom Ganado or, “Mail Carrier” – Navajo Man

Tom Ganado  apparently interacted with tourists. Tom Ganado was fluent in Navajo, Hopi, Spanish, and English, which greatly enhanced his value as a freighter for Hubbell (who spoke the same four languages) and the Harvey Company.

Tom Ganado - Navajo Man

Tom Ganado – Navajo Man

Tom Ganado home is in the southern part of the reservation and he can generally be found near the settlement known as Ganado, Arizona. During the past two years Tom and his family have spent the greater part of the time in Albuquerque, where they have been engaged in one of the large stores. These and other Indians who work at this place are well cared for; they live in hogans built by themselves and have frame buildings with stoves that can be used when desired.
Extreme cold has no terrors for the Navaho Indian, as it is an old enemy; they are however, unaccustomed to steam heat. The sudden changes from superheated rooms to the outer cold and dampness are the cause of much sickness, and Tom, though strong and wiry, became a victim of new conditions. He caught a heavy cold and, soon after, pneumonia developed. A consultation was held and he was finally removed to the hospital. The doctors soon had the disease under control, but, owing to his weak condition, he was obliged to remain in the hospital several weeks.

In 1904 the Albuquerque Morning Journal describes Tom and his work:
Tom has been with the Harvey system here for nearly two years, and in that time has become one of the most useful men about the big establishment. He is not merely a picturesque ornament. He works, knows the details of the business thoroughly and but for his frankness in dealing with customers, would make an excellent salesman. Tom, however, sticks rigidly to the truth and has no hesitancy in speaking his convictions accordingly when a prospective customer comes to the curio department. Tom’s opinion of the individual is quietly formed and as quickly announced.
Tom’s interactions with tourists, if accurate, did not reflect the Harvey Company’s view of the ideal American Indian demonstrator, though his industriousness and hard work were valued and remembered in his home community of Ganado.
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Barboncito, Navajo political and spiritual leader

Barboncito,  (1821-1871) was a famous Navajo political and spiritual leader who lived in Canyon de Chelly, had long been known as a peace leader, but he reluctantly turned warrior in 1860. With Carson’s invasion, he was among the first to surrender, but he rapidly experienced a change of heart. Finding his confinement unbearable, he escaped with five hundred others on the night of June 14, 1865. He was hunted by New Mexican militia units, but he avoided capture.
He also was known as Hastiin Hastiin Daagi (“Full-bearded Man”), Bislahalani (“the Orator”), and  (“Beautyway Chanter”). Barboncito was born into the Coyote Pass clan about 1820 and was a brother to Delgato.

Barboncito Navajo political and spiritual leader

Barboncito Navajo political and spiritual leader

American officials awarded authority to Navajos already in possession of some power. Determining leadership at the Bosque Redondo nonetheless proved difficult prior to the summer of 1866. Federal policy was based upon the idea that the government dealt with only a few Indian leaders who would bargain for the tribe.
But at the beginning of the experiment, there were few leaders with enough stature to command respect. Barboncito, known for his tough diplomacy, might have been an early spokesman for the Diné. Shortly after his somewhat early surrender, however, he became disillusioned with Carleton’s utopia and fled eastern New Mexico. Herrero had only a limited following.
As a result, the responsibility of government recognition fell upon Delgadito, who had originally been identified as an “Enemy Navajo,” one of a band of people long noted for their cooperation with Spanish, Mexican, and American representatives. Although he had briefly helped in the fight against the Americans, some doubt remained about his limited resistance during the Kit Carson campaign. He had been instrumental in arranging for the early surrender of himself and several other ricos, a surrender that was suspected of aiding in Carson’s victory.
By the time Barboncito, Manuelito, and Ganado Mucho had reached the reservation, the Bosque Redondo had become an administrative nightmare. Because of its expense, Carleton’s experiment had already come under considerable scrutiny. Investigations by various federal officials had become commonplace, especially after the Sand Creek Massacre of Cheyennes in 1864. One of the most famous of these investigations was a special joint congressional committee headed by Senator James R. Doolittle of Wisconsin. It was not, however, solely concerned with Navajos.
It was thus that Barboncito, Manuelito, and Ganado Mucho were propelled into leadership. These men found themselves  faced with a difficult situation. The Navajos could not afford to be malleable wards. This fact was dramatically illustrated just weeks after Ganado Mucho’s surrender.

 
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Navajo leader Ganado Mucho (Many cattle)

Ganado Mucho, which means many cattle, was born into the Tatsohnii (Big Water) Clan of the Navajo, or Diné (Of the people), and was a Navajo leader during the tribe’s difficult transition to reservation life
Ganado Mucho, like Manuelito, had also retreated to the Grand Canyon and lived among the Coyoteros, but he was a different kind of leader.

Of both Hopi and Navajo ancestry, Ganado Mucho was a cautious man who was inclined toward diplomacy. He was, after all, a wealthy man with large herds of cattle and sheep. His tranquility was, nonetheless, severely disturbed by the unwise actions of the American military in the late 1850s.

Ganado Mucho Navajo Leader

Ganado Mucho Navajo Leader

It would have been unremarkable had Ganado Mucho gone to war, but he did not, even when his fellow leaders did. During the 1859-61 war, he remained at home in his territory west of the Defiance Mountains and maintained neutrality. His policy proved to be successful.

When private New Mexican expeditions marched into Navajo territory in 1862, in search of livestock  and slaves, he still managed to avoid conflict. Kit Carson’s invasion the following year was a different matter, however. Carson’s orders called for the capture of all Navajos.

Already filled with distrust of Anglo-Americans, Ganado Mucho rejected the capitulation of his fellow ricos and retreated. But by the spring of 1866, harassed by Pueblo, New Mexican, and Ute raiders, he had had enough. Ganado Mucho surrendered and was escorted to the Bosque Redondo. Although his arrival at the reservation with his large herds had some of the trappings of a majestic spectacle, it was marked with tragedy, for two of his daughters had been taken as slaves en route.
By the time Barboncito, Manuelito, and Ganado Mucho had reached the reservation, the Bosque Redondo had become an administrative nightmare. Because of its expense, Carleton’s experiment had already come under considerable scrutiny. Investigations by various federal officials had become commonplace, especially after the Sand Creek Massacre of Cheyennes in 1864.

One of the most famous of these investigations was a special joint congressional committee headed by Senator James R. Doolittle of Wisconsin. It was not, however, solely concerned with Navajos. was thus that Barboncito, Manuelito, and Ganado Mucho were propelled into leadership. These men found themselves  faced with a difficult situation. The Navajos could not afford to be malleable wards. This fact was dramatically illustrated just weeks after Ganado Mucho’s surrender.
More than one hundred Comanches attacked the Navajo horse herds. They killed the herders, one of whom was Ganado Mucho’s son, and stole two hundred head. Soldiers managed to locate their trail, pursued them, and eventually engaged them in combat on July 14. The battle, however, was indecisive.

The Comanches fled east, and the soldiers could not keep up. The commander of Fort Sumner, Captain William McCleave, placed picket posts to the east to protect Navajo property and lives, but even McCleave doubted the effectiveness of this defense.
A year later, this spectacle would move Ganado Mucho to rare eloquence. Stricken by personal tragedy, he addressed New Mexican Superintendent of Indian Affairs A. Baldwin Norton in bitter irony. He pointed out that the Navajos had come to the Bosque because they had been promised safety. But what had they gained when their enemies were better armed than they and the army could not protect them?

Ganado Mucho’s immediate instincts remained in character despite his caustic remarks, made after twelve months of rumination. He apparently did not organize resistance or plan an escape; instead, he reluctantly cooperated.

Source: Chiefs, Agents & Soldiers: Conflict on the Navajo Frontier
 

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Navajo Mythology Twins – Monster Slayer

Two of the most important characters in Navajo mythology are twin miracle-performing sons of White-Shell Woman, Ylkaists¡n, chief goddess. This plate pictures the leader of the two the first conceived and the first-born, whose father is the sun. His name means “Slayer of Alien Gods,” from an, alien; ye, gods; to kill. By him, with the assistance of Tobadz­schin, his twin brother, were killed numerous bird, animal, rock, and human monsters, typifying evils, who wantonly destroyed human life.

Navajo Hero Twins Poster

Naayéé’neizghání (Slayer of Monsters) and Tóbájíshchíní (Born for Water) are the Navajo Hero Twins.

Navajo Hero Twins Poster

When the Spirit People came upon this earth from below they made six sacred mountains, four on the distant horizon at the cardinal points and two in the centre, Chaa­li and Tza­lhnahodaa­hla­. On the eastern slope of Chin­li, brought forth as the daughter of Earth and Sky, was born Ylkaiestsan, White-Shell Woman. First Man took her to his home near Tza­lhnahoda­hla, where she matured in twelve days into a beautiful woman with supernatural powers. Later she lived in a home of her own at the foot of this mountain. It was while there that she gave birth to twin boys who became saviours of their people, slaying alien gods who were fast depopulating the earth.

Monster Slayer - Tóbájíshchíní ­ - Navajo

Monster Slayer – Tóbájíshchíní – Navajo

Yalkai Estsa¡n would often lie on the eastern slope of the mountain as the sun rose through the morning, and when the day grew warm would seek the shade of jutting rocks from which trickled shining drops of water. Quite unknown to herself she had conceived one day from the sunbeams and the dripping water. When she became aware that she was to become a mother Yalkaiastsa¡n was made very happy, for she did not enjoy living alone. Soon she found herself the proud possessor of twin boys. The first-born and the stronger came to be known in his youth as Nayainazgana­, Slayer of Alien Gods; the other was always known as Tobadza­scha­ina­, Born From Water. Their prenatal life covered a period of only twelve days, and maturity was attained in thirty-two days after passing through eight changes, one of which came every four days.

At that time the earth was infested with great giants, foreign gods, who were rapidly destroying the people. Of these, Ya­tso, Big God, as large as a mountain, was the only one in human form. The others were Man-eating Bird, Rolling Stone, that crushed all in its path, Tracking Bear, and Antelope, who killed without mercy. Fearing lest some of these monsters learn of the presence of her boys, Yólkai Ä”stsán kept them hidden away on the mountain side, but they chafed under confinement, so she made them bows and arrows and let them play about, but admonished them not to stray far from home. The boys promised to obey, but not long afterward, because in reply to their questions their mother told them she did not know who their father was, they became sulky and broke their promise, going off toward the east. They would go and search for someone who knew. When on a small knoll a long way from home they heard a whispered “Sh-h.”

“Are you afraid, my younger brother?” asked Nayaitnazgana­.

“No!” was the quick response.

Four times they heard the whisper, and then two of the Wind People appeared. “We saw you travelling eastward,” said they, “and came to caution you. The land is cursed with alien gods who kill for pleasure; beware of them! Why do you journey thus alone without your father?”

“Our father! Alas, we know nothing of him and are now starting on a search to learn. Do you know who he is?” asked the boys.

“Yes, the Sun is your father; but if you think to find him you will have to travel far eastward and cross the wide, wide waters.”

Nayaitnazgana­ turned to his younger brother and said, “Sa­tsa­la­, let us go.”

The Sun was then overhead. Being in fact of a holy nature, the boys covered distance rapidly and by mid-afternoon had passed well beyond the limits of their homeland. There they came upon an old woman sitting beside a ladder projecting from a hole. She asked them who they were and whither they were going. They told her to the Sun, whose sons they were, but whom they had never seen.

gend of the Navajo Hero Twins cover

The Legend of the Navajo Hero Twins Book 

Navajo creation story

Books and Posters

The Legend of the Navajo Hero Twins Book Review
Changing Woman Protects Her Sons
The Holy Beings Teach the Navajo Twins Poster
Navajo Winter Storytelling Poster
The Navajo Hero Twins Receive Their Weapons – Poster
Tsidil – Navajo Stick Game
Book Review of  ”The Legend of the Horse”
Legend of the Horse Poster
K’é – Diné (Navajo) Kinship System