Navajo Constellation Winter Stories

 The posters offer an excellent way to illustrate Winter Stories.

Constellation Rabbit Tracts

© 2013 Heritage Language Resource Center. All rights reserved

So Dine’e Baa Hashne’ Doolee
I will talk about Constellations – Part 1

By Clayton Long

Navajo Constellation Poster Set

The Constellation set includes 10 illustrated posters, each 11″ x 17″ printed on heavy cardstock.

Constellation Poster set

They can also be used with the book, “Coyote Tosses the Stars,” as well as “The String Book.” Original illustrations were created by Theresa Breznau. Each illustration is accompanied by a description written in both Navajo and English languages.

Set of 10 – 11” x 17”
$15.00

Ordering Information

San Juan School District
Heritage Language Resource Center
28 West 200 North
Phone: 435-678-1230
FAX: 435-678-1283
Store Hours: 9:00 – 4:30
Monday through Thursday
Email: rstoneman@sjsd.org

Online order at this Website: media.sjsd.org

Click here for New Fall 2014  Catalog

We accept purchase orders, credit cards, and checks.
We bill only for items shipped and actual cost of shipping.
Personal orders ship after payment is received.
Please estimate 10% of purchase total for shipping cost.

 

Navajo Mountain – Head of the Earth

Navajo Mountain (Naatsis’áán – Head of the Earth)

 

Navajo Mountain - Head of the Earth

According to Navajo oral traditions, Navajo Mountain and Rainbow Bridge are integral parts of the creation story cycle.

After forming the six most sacred mountains–Mount Taylor, Blanca Peak, San Francisco Peaks, Hesperus Peak, Gobernador Knob and Huerfano Mountain–the First People created several more important peaks.

Although Navajo Mountain isn’t one of the six most sacred mountains, the peak does carry such significance that traditional Navajos still refuse to climb the mountain above the lower elevations.

Traditional Navajos believe these mountains and their spirits can help cure the sick, protect the people and bring rain.

In one creation myth, the Navajos traveled far in their quest for their homeland and carried with them five animals–a bear, a snake, a deer, a porcupine and a puma. After many days of travel, the people abandoned the snake and the porcupine near Navajo Mountain.
“The snake and porcupine were of no use, but were a trouble instead, since they had to be carried along.” They turned the snake and porcupine loose at Navajo Mountain, which is why they exist in great numbers in this region today.

Navajo Mountain, a large laccolithic dome, straddles the Utah-Arizona border of the Navajo Indian Reservation. The Navajo call this sacred mountain Naatsis’aan, “Head of the Earth Woman.”

Navajo Mountain has a rich and varied historical past. The earliest maps identify it as Sierra Panoche. The ruined dwellings and irrigation ditches of Desha and Anasazi people, evidence of years of human occupation, still stand on nearby mesa tops, canyon walls, and desert floors.

Official documentation of the occupation of Navajo Mountain began with Spanish explorers and Catholic fathers Anastasio Dominguez and Silvestre Velez de Escalante, who “met only Paiutes” when they forded the Colorado River near Navajo Mountain in 1776. The San Juan Paiutes and Navajos occupied the surrounding mesas and rugged canyons in the early 1800s.

The Paiutes had friendly relations with both Navajos and Utes (traditional enemies of the Navajos), and frequently served as a bridge between the two. They began losing their traditional lands between Navajo Mountain and Kayenta in 1884. Over the years, the Navajo succeeded in getting Paiute holdings added to their reservation. In the 1980s, the Paiutes asked to be recognized as a distinct Indian tribe.

According to Navajo oral traditions, Navajo Mountain and Rainbow Bridge are integral parts of the creation story cycle. These two landforms are key fixtures in the story of Monster Slayer and are important ceremonial sites for the Protectionway and the Blessingway.

Rainbow Bridge

The discovery of nearby Rainbow Bridge by white men created controversy over whether John Wetherill, Byron Cummings, or W.B. Douglass saw or reached the bridge first. A number of amateur and professional archaeologists surveyed Navajo Mountain; they included John Wetherill, Earl Morris, Ralph Beals, Neil Judd, J. Walter Fewkes, Harold S. Gladwin, A.B. Kidder, Byron Cummings, and Charles L. Bernheimer. In 1960 and in 1981 Alexander J. Lindsay and Richard Ambler excavated sites near Glen Canyon and the northeast portion of Rainbow Plateau for Northern Arizona University.

The Rainbow Lodge and Trading Post were built in 1924 by S.I. Richardson and his son Cecil. A second post, a tent operation located near War God Springs, was operated on the other side of the mountain by Ben and Myri Wetherill. In 1932 the Dunn family from Chilchinbito established the Navajo Mountain Trading Post near Cottonwood Wash; it was sold by Dunn’s daughter Madelaine Cameron in 1978.

Trader S.I. Richardson claimed the road he built in 1924 from Red Lake to Navajo Mountain followed an ancient “Ute War Trail.”

Sources:
Navaho Legends by Matthews, Washington,- Navaho Legends.
Sacred Land, Sacred View – Robert S. McPherson
Utah History Encyclopedia

The Four Navajo Sacred Mountains

Mount Blanca (Tsisnaasjini’ – Dawn or White Shell Mountain – East
Mount Taylor (Tsoodzil – Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain) – South
San Francisco Peaks (Doko’oosliid – Abalone Shell Mountain) – West
Mount Hesperus Dibé Nitsaa (Big Mountain Sheep) – Obsidian Mountain – North

Navajo People Website Links:

Navajo Culture – Navajo History – Navajo Art – Navajo Clothing Navajo Pictures – Navajo Rugs – Navajo Language– Navajo Jewelry – Navajo Code Talker – Navajo Pottery – Navajo Legends – Hogan’s – Sand Painting – Navajo Food – Navajo News – Navajo Nation

Huerfano Mesa – Navajo Sacred Mountain

Huerfano Mesa (Dzil Na’oodilii – Encircling Mountain)

Home of First Man (‘Altsè Hastiin) and First Woman (’Altsè Asdzáá)

Huerfano Mesa -Navajo Sacred Mountain

Huerfano Mountain is a mountain summit in San Juan County in the state of New Mexico (NM). Huerfano Mountain climbs to 7,441 feet (2,268.02 meters) above sea level. Huerfano Mountain is located at latitude – longitude coordinates (also called lat – long coordinates or GPS coordinates) of N 36.425843 and W -107.845061

Dzil Na’oodilii is one of the sacred mountains of the Navajos, and is said to be suspended from the sky with sunbeams.

Dzil Na’oodilii is considered to be the “lungs” of Navajo country.

It is also the home of Yódí’ashkii (Goods of Value Boy), and Yódí’at’ééd (Goods of Value Girl), and one of the homes of ‘Altsé Hastiin (First Man), and ‘Altsé ‘Asdzáá (First Woman).

In the beginning DzilNa’oodilii was decorated with pollen, rugs, hides, cloth, and Male Rain for the coming of a special child (Changing Woman)

The Four Navajo Sacred Mountains

Mount Blanca (Tsisnaasjini’ – Dawn or White Shell Mountain – East
Mount Taylor (Tsoodzil – Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain) – South
San Francisco Peaks (Doko’oosliid – Abalone Shell Mountain) – West
Mount Hesperus Dibé Nitsaa (Big Mountain Sheep) – Obsidian Mountain – North

Navajo People Website Links:

Navajo Culture – Navajo History – Navajo Art – Navajo Clothing Navajo Pictures – Navajo Rugs – Navajo Language– Navajo Jewelry – Navajo Code Talker – Navajo Pottery – Navajo Legends – Hogan’s – Sand Painting – Navajo Food – Navajo News – Navajo Nation

Gobernador Knob – Navajo Sacred Mountain

Gobernador Knob (Ch’óol’í’í – Fir Mountain)

 

Gobernador Knob the site where the Navajo’s Divine Goddess, Changing Woman (‘Asdzáá Nadleehe), was found by Talking God (Haashch’eelti’i) .

The Navajo have many traditions relating to Gobernador Knob. Navajo beliefs say that it represents the “Heart” of Navajo Country

Gobernador Knob also represents the outward look of the Male Hogan.

The traditional Navajo ancestral home is the area encompassed by the four sacred mountains but it’s “heart” is at Gobernador Knob, located near the north-east corner of the enlarged area of the map, where
Gobernador Knob - Navajo Sacred Mountain

Gobernador Knob is a small hump on Spruce Mountain (or Fir Mountain), that rises about 90 to 100 feet from Spruce Hill, having an overall elevation of 8,000 feet. Gobernardor Knob rises above the high broken mesa countryside sloping west from the Continental Divide to the Largo Canyon,

There are a number of identified Navajo remains in the vicinity of the Knob itself and the region is a part of the Dinétah (The original or old Navajo Country). At about 1921, Dr. Alfred V. Kidder of the Phillips-Andover Academy investigated what he believed to have been refugee sites of Puebloans fleeing Spanish vengeance during the troubled years during and following the Pueblo Rebellion of 1680.

 

The Four Navajo Sacred Mountains

Mount Blanca (Tsisnaasjini’ – Dawn or White Shell Mountain – East
Mount Taylor (Tsoodzil – Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain) – South
San Francisco Peaks (Doko’oosliid – Abalone Shell Mountain) – West
Mount Hesperus Dibé Nitsaa (Big Mountain Sheep) – Obsidian Mountain – North

Navajo People Website Links:

Navajo Culture – Navajo History – Navajo Art – Navajo Clothing Navajo Pictures – Navajo Rugs – Navajo Language– Navajo Jewelry – Navajo Code Talker – Navajo Pottery – Navajo Legends – Hogan’s – Sand Painting – Navajo Food – Navajo News – Navajo Nation

Porcupine (Dahsáni) Navajo Protector

Changing Woman gave the Hashtl’ishnii – Mud People Clan Porcupine (Dahsáni) as their symbol of protection.

Porcupine (Dahsáni) Navajo Protector

Porcupine is thought to have mystical healing powers, and used during winter ceremonies by Navajo Medicine Men. They are also an important animal for the Navajo Shoe Game.

He is also the protector of Mount Hesperus (Dibé Nitsaa) the Navajo Sacred Mountain of the north and
the Holy People that were told to live in this mountain:

Folding Darkness Boy and Girl
Black Jet Boy and Girl
Black Corn Boy and Girl and cold seasons

 

The Navajo Zoo has two resident Porcupines. One is a male, appropriately named Spike, while the other is a female named Barb. Spike was found locally as a tiny orphan in 2001 when he was small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Barb came to the Zoo in September 2008 and was also orphaned soon after birth. Both porcupines are full-grown and weigh between 25 and 30 pounds. They really enjoy apples given as treats during tours with school children.

Navajo Taboo: Do not kill porcupines or you will get nosebleeds.

The Four Navajo Sacred Mountains

Mount Blanca (Tsisnaasjini’ – Dawn or White Shell Mountain – East
Mount Taylor (Tsoodzil – Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain) – South
San Francisco Peaks (Doko’oosliid – Abalone Shell Mountain) – West
Mount Hesperus Dibé Nitsaa (Big Mountain Sheep) – Obsidian Mountain – North

Navajo People Website Links:

Navajo Culture – Navajo History – Navajo Art – Navajo Clothing Navajo Pictures – Navajo Rugs – Navajo Language– Navajo Jewelry – Navajo Code Talker – Navajo Pottery – Navajo Legends – Hogan’s – Sand Painting – Navajo Food – Navajo News – Navajo Nation

Gray Wolf Navajo Protector

Gray Wolf  (Ma’ iitsoh)

Protector protector of Bitter Water Clan.

 

Gray Wolf Navajo Protector

Gray Wolf was given by Changing Woman as a protector to the Tó dích’íinii – Bitter Water Clan. He also was protector to Abalone shell boy and Navajo Sacred Mountain Doko’o’osliid (San Francisco Peaks).
The howl of a wolf is a signal to turn back from a battle, raid, or hunting trip.

Gray Wolf Chief Ruler

Now after all the people had emerged from the lower worlds First Man and First Woman dressed the Mountain Lion with yellow, black, white, and grayish corn and placed him on one side.

They dressed the Gray Wolf with white tail feathers and placed him on the other side. They divided the people into two groups.

The first group was told to choose whichever chief they wished.
They made their choice, and, although they thought they had chosen the Mountain Lion, they found that they had taken the Wolf for their chief.

The Mountain Lion was the chief for the other side. And these people who had the Mountain Lion for their chief turned out to be the people of the Earth. They were to plant seeds and harvest corn.

The followers of the Wolf chief became the animals and birds; they turned into all the creatures that fly and crawl and run and swim.

They smoked and felt good and began to teach the people to be farmers, to plant corn, wheat, melons, pumpkins, beans, chile, etc. and how to irrigate and take care of their crops. All four (animals) taught the people to use all kinds of grasses, timber, etc.

Blue and Yellow Foxes went together to the pueblos and belong to them. Coyote and Badger belong to the Navajos, but Great Wolf was the chief (ruler) of the whole.

He gets up at daybreak, stands in the midst of the people’s dwellings and calls to the people to go to work in the fields

He advises them to get early to work planting corn, gardening and irrigating.

He had a very smart woman for a wife and they had two children. After a time this woman made herself three small sticks for gambling and would go off all day long and leave the children helpless.

Late in the afternoon Wolf chief, the man, came home and saw the state of the hogan, untidy, and one of the children lying in the ashes of the fireplace.

He did not try to clean up for he was very tired and lay down. At sunset his wife came back with her sticks but she had gambled away everything she had. Then the husband expostulated with her on her conduct. She replied tartly that he could stay and take care of the hogan and children as he had nothing to do. He said he provided food, etc. but she was quarrelsome and continued scolding (like the Navaho women today!).

She told her husband she could take care of herself and so continued scolding, etc. until time for the Corn dance. She carried off the corn to grind and make mush for the dance although her own children were crying with hunger.

Finally she told her husband to go off and she could easily find another. She said she could do without assistance. The husband avoided replying to her and said nothing. He lay still all night feeling bad about her. In the morning he did not know what to do. He took his bow and arrow and walked off.

Shortly he found some meat in the woods on a tree and he took some and ate it raw.

That That is why Wolf eats raw meat. 


The Four Navajo Sacred Mountains

Mount Blanca (Tsisnaasjini’ – Dawn or White Shell Mountain – East
Mount Taylor (Tsoodzil – Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain) – South
San Francisco Peaks (Doko’oosliid – Abalone Shell Mountain) – West
Mount Hesperus Dibé Nitsaa (Big Mountain Sheep) – Obsidian Mountain – North

Navajo People Website Links:

Navajo Culture – Navajo History – Navajo Art – Navajo Clothing Navajo Pictures – Navajo Rugs – Navajo Language– Navajo Jewelry – Navajo Code Talker – Navajo Pottery – Navajo Legends – Hogan’s – Sand Painting – Navajo Food – Navajo News – Navajo Nation

Mount Hesperus – Navajo Sacred Mountain

Mount Hesperus Dibé Nitsaa

Big Mountain Sheep or Obsidian Mountain

Mount Hesperus - Navajo Sacred Mountain
Direction: North (Náhookos)
Color: Black (Lizhin)
Protector: Porcupine (Dahsáni)

The Holy People traveled by way of a sunbeam and a rainbow beam.

They assembled the North mountain with beautiful black jet for positive self awareness to protect us from danger and evil.
Then the Holy People fastened down the sacred mountain with a rainbow beam for peace and harmony.
These are the Holy People that were told to live in this mountain:
1. Folding Darkness Boy and Girl
2. Black Jet Boy and Girl
3. Black Jet Boy and Girl
4. Black Corn Boy and Girl and cold seasons
5. Bird symbol is black birds and corn beetle birds
6. Sacred Black Wind gave life to this mountain and Monster Slayer is the protector of this mountain
After the sun sets, darkness settles in. Mount Hesperus represents darkness. During its formation, it was adorned with the Black Jet stones and other elements.

The literal translation of Mount Hesperus from Navajo is Big Sheep.
Mount Hesperus was named after having many big horned sheep on its surface.

Mountain Song:
My child, I will feed you, give you good health, and I will give you strength and courage.
My child, I will give you clean air and clean water to drink. I am your life.
My child, get ready now and educate yourself. Improve yourself and don’t ever forget who you are.
My child, what I am dressed with, is what you are dressed with. I am your home and you mother and father.

The Four Navajo Sacred Mountains

Mount Blanca (Tsisnaasjini’ – Dawn or White Shell Mountain – East
Mount Taylor (Tsoodzil – Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain) – South
San Francisco Peaks (Doko’oosliid – Abalone Shell Mountain) – West
Mount Hesperus Dibé Nitsaa (Big Mountain Sheep) – Obsidian Mountain – North

Navajo People Website Links:

Navajo Culture – Navajo History – Navajo Art – Navajo Clothing Navajo Pictures – Navajo Rugs – Navajo Language– Navajo Jewelry – Navajo Code Talker – Navajo Pottery – Navajo Legends – Hogan’s – Sand Painting – Navajo Food – Navajo News – Navajo Nation

Cougar – Náshdóítsoh Navajo Protector

Changing woman gave Honághááhnii – One Walks Around You Clan, Cougar or Mountain Lion, (Náshdóítsoh) as their symbol of protection & healing. Ceremonies & songs tell of the mountain lion’s medicinal powers.

Cougar was sent to guard Turquoise Girl on Mount Taylor (Tsoozil) Navajo Sacred Mountain of the South

Cougar - Náshdóítsoh Navajo Protector

 Photo by Harold Carey Jr. at Navajo Nation Zoo

Its eyes are able to see evil in the darkness. The Honághááhnii name may have been given to them by the Apache, meaning “One Walks Around You Clan.” Or it may have originated from the custom of leaving a warrior to walk around while others slept at night.

Navajo People Website Links:
Navajo Culture – Navajo History – Navajo Art – Navajo Clothing Navajo Pictures – Navajo Rugs – Navajo Language– Navajo Jewelry – Navajo Code Talker – Navajo Pottery – Navajo Legends – Hogan’s – Sand Painting – Navajo Food – Navajo News – Navajo Nation

 

 

San Francisco Peaks – Navajo Sacred Mountain

Humphrey Peak (Doko’o’osliid)

Part of the San Francisco Peaks

San Francisco Peaks - Navajo Sacred Mountain

Abalone Shell Mountain

Direction: West ( E’e’aah)
Color: Yellow (Litzo)
Protector: Wolf (Ma’íí Tsoh)

In the west, Doko’oosliid San Francisco Peaks was made on a abalone blanket, soil from Doko’oosliid and pieces of abalone brought from the Third World .

They dressed and decorated this mountain with abalone shell to create understanding of our social unity and life (Iina).

San Francisco peaks was anchored with sunbeams and the mountain was covered with a blanket of yellow cloud.

It also was decorated with black clouds and male rain.

Abalone shell boy made his home on the mountain of the West

These are the Holy People that were told to live in this mountain:
1. Yellow Evening Boy and Girl
2. Abalone Shell Boy and Girl
3. Yellow Corn Boy and Girl
4. All kinds of yellow birds
5. Mixture of water and plants
6. Yellow wind was made to give life to this mountain

The San Francisco Peaks, is where the sun sets.

When you watch the sun set behind the San Francisco Peaks from a certain location, the setting sun creates this bright hue into the sky making a certain kind of light reflect down to earth.

This reflected light is what gives the San Francisco Peaks its literally translated name,

The Mountain that Reflects. As the sun sets, you have carried out your plans.

From day to day, these carried out plans eventually equates to your life.

The western mountain, the San Francisco Peaks, represents life.

The Navajo Sacred Mountains Poster

The Navajo Sacred Mountains Poster

Available in three sizes:
23” x 35” – $10.00
18” x 24” – $6.00
11” x 14” – $2.00
Illustrates the Six Scared Mountains,
their characteristics, and contributions in
Navajo culture and history.

Online order at this Website: media.sjsd.org

San Juan School District
Heritage Language Resource Center
Phone: 435-678-1230
Email: rstoneman@sjsd.org

The Four Navajo Sacred Mountains

Mount Blanca (Tsisnaasjini’ – Dawn or White Shell Mountain – East
Mount Taylor (Tsoodzil – Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain) – South
San Francisco Peaks (Doko’oosliid – Abalone Shell Mountain) – West
Mount Hesperus Dibé Nitsaa (Big Mountain Sheep) – Obsidian Mountain – North

Navajo People Website Links:
Navajo Culture – Navajo History – Navajo Art – Navajo Clothing Navajo Pictures – Navajo Rugs – Navajo Language– Navajo Jewelry – Navajo Code Talker – Navajo Pottery – Navajo Legends – Hogan’s – Sand Painting – Navajo Food – Navajo News – Navajo Nation

 

Mount Taylor (Tsoozil) Navajo Sacred Mountain

Mount Taylor (Tsoodzil) – Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain)

Mount Taylor (Tsoozil) Navajo Sacred Mountain

Direction: South ( Sháddi’ááh)
Color: Turquoise (Dootlizh)
Protector: Cougar (Náshdóítsoh)

In the Fourth World to the south Mount Taylor (Tsoodzil – Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain) was planted by First Man.

It was made with a turquoise blanket, soil of Tsoozil and pieces of turquoise,that first man had gathered from the mountains in the Third World

Turquoise Girl was told to live in the mountain of the South.

A stone knife was thrust through the sacred mountain from top to bottom to fasten it to the earth.

The mountain was covered with a blanket of blue cloud.

It was decorated with dark mists and female rain.

Cougar was sent to guard Turquoise Girl.

These are the Holy People that were told to live in this mountain:
1. Blue Twilight Boy and Girl
2. Turquoise Boy and Girl
3. Blue Corn, the spirit of a boy and girl who carries a corn kernel
4. Blue birds and blue swallows
5. Spotted Blue Corn for plant symbols
6. Blue Wind was made to give life to the mountain
It is called by the Mexicans San Mateo, and was on September 18, 1849, named Mt. Taylor, “in honor of the President of the United States,” by Lieut. J. H. Simpson, U. S. Army.

This is one of the sacred mountains of the Navahoes, and is regarded by them as bounding their country on the south, although at the present day some of the tribe live south of the mountain.

They say that San Mateo is the mountain of the south and San Francisco is the mountain of the west, yet the two peaks are nearly in the same latitude.

One version of the Origin Legend (Version B) makes San Mateo the mountain of the east, but all other versions differ from this. Blue being the color of the south, turquoise and other blue things, as named in the myth, belong to this mountain.

As blue also symbolizes the female, she-rain belongs to San Mateo.

Mount Taylor marks the southern boundary of the Navajo homeland , and is associated with the direction south and the color blue;

It is also important in the Blessing Side ceremonies and the Enemy Side Ceremony.
Mount Taylor was once the home of Yé’iitsoh (Chief of the Enemy Gods).
Once the sun is up, sunrays are all around and Mount Taylor is adorned with sunlight.

After thinking about what you want to do for the day, you start to plan your activities. It is also named Turquoise Mountain.

Thoughts such as, “We want to progress,” grow from small plans to large plans and Mount Taylor has the power to satisfy that wish.

These powers come from the different types of characteristics Mount Taylor was given.

It was given Blessing Way, Chanting Way and Warrior Way characteristics.

The Four Navajo Sacred Mountains

Mount Blanca (Tsisnaasjini’ – Dawn or White Shell Mountain – East
Mount Taylor (Tsoodzil – Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain) – South
San Francisco Peaks (Doko’oosliid – Abalone Shell Mountain) – West
Mount Hesperus Dibé Nitsaa (Big Mountain Sheep) – Obsidian Mountain – North

 

Navajo People Website Links:
Navajo CultureNavajo HistoryNavajo ArtNavajo Clothing Navajo PicturesNavajo RugsNavajo LanguageNavajo JewelryNavajo Code TalkerNavajo PotteryNavajo LegendsHogan’sSand PaintingNavajo Food Navajo NewsNavajo Nation