Nayenezgani – Slayer of Alien Gods

Two of the most important characters in Navaho mythology are twin miracle-performing sons of White-Shell Woman, Yolkai Estsan, chief goddess. This photo pictures the leader of the two the first conceived and the first-born, whose father is the sun.

Nayenezgani - Slayer of Alien Gods

Mask representing Naayéé’ Neizghání, Monster Slayer, used in Night Chant Ceremony.
Source: The Night Chant, A Navajo Ceremony by Washington Matthews – Date = 1902

His name means “Slayer of Alien Gods,” . By him, with the assistance of Tobadzischini, his twin brother, were killed numerous bird, animal, rock, and human monsters, typifying evils, who wantonly destroyed human life.

The masks the usual inverted buckskin bag of the male character. It is
painted black with sacred charcoal and has a lightning symbol on one cheek, either right or left, consisting of five white, narrow, zigzag parallel lines -which present,each, four obtuse angles.

To each of the holes for eyes and mouth is affixed a brilliant white sea-shell.
A fringe of hair is secured to the seam of the mask, from side to side; this is usually red or yellow and may be either flowing or stiff. A turkey-plume and a downy eagle-feather are attached at the top of the
mask, at one side of the center.

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


  1. Mario Atencio, I understand that this sort of thing is sacred to you, but as Brian said, knowledge of your people will be lost if it is not recorded somewhere. What will happen to your legacy?

  2. I disagree with Mario. More needs to be shared and as long as it is accurate, that is a good thing. Otherwise knowledge is lost or confused. For example, right now multiple sites edited by natives themselves are sharing a photograph of a nightway dancer in this exact costume as this exact deity but are captioning it as a skinwalker because they don’t know better. It seems like the ultimate sacrilege is being committed by a lack of knowledge rather than having too much.

  3. Harold Carey Jr says

    Thank you for you opinion. I do not wish to offend anyone. I will in the future I will not show such detail.
    Here is where the information and photos came from.
    The Night Chant, A Navaho Ceremony. By Washington Matthews – May, 1902.
    It has been on the Internet and In this book for many years.

  4. Mario Atencio says

    My parents would say that such, as the above, should not be shared so blatantly. I understand the need to feel good about such things, but it was explained that you dont trap them. You might disagree about this, Just wanted to share my opinion about your blog.

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