The Moccasin Game – A Navajo Legend

The Shoe or Moccasin gameThe Moccasin Game Book and CD

October (Ghaaji) marks the time for shoe games.

The Shoe or Moccasin game is part of Navajo curing ceremonies.
The games are used to teach the young people endurance and self respect.
All Navajo games have a special meaning that is told in a story.

“In the beginning, the Earth was not divided into day and night as it is today. The Daytime Animals and the Nighttime Animals could not agree about how the Earth would be organized. Of course, the Daytime Animals wanted to have daylight all the time, but the Nighttime Animals wanted the world to remain dark. The Giant taught the animals to play the Moccasin Game, and he used the game to decide how days and nights would be organized.”

The Shoe or Moccasin game

Read the book in both English and Navajo to learn the rest of the story!

This hard-cover, perfect-bound book is based upon a traditional story, as told by Done Mose, Jr. This bilingual book is elegantly illustrated by renowned Navajo artist, Baje Whitethorne and edited by Katherine Hurst. The book also includes a CD with the Moccasin Game songs sung by Jim Dandy, Sr. and Monument Valley High School students.

Cultural Awareness: this book and the Moccasin Game songs can be read, sung and enjoyed during the winter months, October through February. Please be respectful and let the story “rest” during the remainder of the seasonal cycle. Thank you!

Comes with a CD with 9 songs sung in The Navajo language.
Nahashch idi (Badger)
Jadi (Antelope)
Galbahi (Cottontail Rabbit)
Ashiike (Young Boys)
Ch indeelidii (Crow)
Nashdoi (Lion)
Ne ashjaa (Owl)
Tazhii (Turkey)
Hayiilka (Daybreak)


Ordering Information

$20.00 USD With Audio CD

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

Online order at this Website:

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.

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

Navajo Shoe Game Featured at Balloon Event

Navajo Shoe Game Featured at the  Third Annual Monument Valley Hot Air Balloon Event

Monument Valley Hot Air Balloon Event Navajo Shoe Game

Winter on the Navajo Nation is a time when healing through laughter begins.
In fact, it is also a time to listen and learn about the emergence of the Navajo people. Winter is when many traditional oral Navajo stories are told that embody the spirit and wisdom of various animals and birds. According to traditional Navajo elders, animals and birds played a very significant role in early Navajo history and still do today.
It is said that animals such as the coyote, bear and owl were put upon Mother Earth to educate, heal and provide guidance for the Navajo people. Navajo legend says that in early Navajo history, animals and birds communicated with each other.

And virtually every animal and bird has a purpose and role in traditional Navajo culture.
Traditional Navajo elders note that similar to human beings, the animals and birds in early Navajo history began to disagree with each other. One point of discussion was whether or not it should always be day or night. Hence, the animals and birds decided to play a game to determine which it would be. It is said that neither the day or night creatures won; therefore, we now have day and night.
Today, that game is still played during the winter season and is it called a traditional Navajo shoe game, which continues to have lot of spiritual significance. In fact, many of the Navajo shoe game songs that are sung today are the same songs that specific animals and birds sung during the original shoe game that was first held in the beginning of time.
Depending on what part of the reservation it is held, each Navajo shoe game may differ. However, laughter is a central part of all Navajo shoe games. Moreover, there are various traditional Navajo stories that talk about humor and how it helps to heal the sick.
The Navajo shoe game was initially called a moccasin game and held in conjunction with a specific ceremony such as a five-day Evil Way Ceremony. Over time, it has slowly changed through the years. Case in point, most people today use cowboy boots or shoes in place of moccasins. What continues is the use of a yucca ball and 102 yucca stems.
Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department Director Martin L. Begaye said, “We’re very excited that a traditional Navajo shoe game will be added to the Third Annual Monument Valley Balloon Event. This is a traditional Navajo social game that is very popular among the Navajo people especially our Navajo elders. It is very important that the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department work closely with the Navajo people and receive their support and participation on such activities as this great annual event.”
The Third Annual Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park Hot Air Balloon Event will be held on January 11-13, 2013 at Monument Valley.
Begay added, “This is the only hot air balloon event in the world that will include a traditional Navajo shoe game. The event will have a little bit of everything for people of all ages.”
Other events that are being held in conjunction with the annual hot air balloon event is an art and writing contest for the youth and an array of prizes that will be awarded. The deadline for the writing and art contest is December 14, 2013. The annual event will also feature 20 hot air balloon pilots from throughout the country and a hot air balloon night glow.
You can obtain additional information at

Media Contact: Roberta John
Senior Economic Development Specialist
Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation Department
(928) 871-6647
Navajo People Website Links:
Navajo CultureNavajo HistoryNavajo ArtNavajo Clothing Navajo PicturesNavajo RugsNavajo LanguageNavajo JewelryNavajo Code TalkerNavajo PotteryNavajo LegendsHogan’sSand PaintingNavajo Food Navajo NewsNavajo Nation

Navajoland Inn & Suites Hotel Saint Michaels & Window Rock AZ

Sponsoring the Navajo Shoe Game Tournament.

Book now
Powered by


Two double beds.. Cable TV with HBO. Phone , Bathroom with shower/tub combination. Iron/ironing board.

Navajoland Inn & Suites Hotel Saint Michaels & Window Rock AZ

Navajoland Inn & Suites Arizona welcomes you in our most popular, comfortable, luxurious and lively hotel in Navajo nation. It is located just 3 miles from Window Rock the capital of Navajo Nation. The city extends into the states of Utah Arizona and New Mexico. It covers 27,000 square miles of unmatched beauty. Navajo Hotel Arizona offers you to enjoy your stay at Navajo nation where you can see more than a dozen of national monuments, tribal parks and many more historic places. At Navajo Nation Inn Arizona you can enjoy a quiet night in one of our rooms or make the night special in one of our suites. Each and every room offer a perfect view of the Window Rock Cliffs and Forest

Hotels near Navajo nation

If you are searching for a hotel near Navajo Nation then Navajo land Inn and Suites is the best destination to stay with your family and friends. Your whole family, friends and kids will love to visit all the places in and near Navajo nation like NAVAJO NATION MUSEUM AND ZOO, WINDOW ROCK AIRPORT, GOLF COURSE, NATIONAL PARKS etc. At navajoland Inn and S suites you can conducts parties, events and business meetings. We provide you an area of 1,200 sq ft of meeting space, seating in a room for 80 people, Theatre seating for about 50 people and U-shape seating for 50 people for your business meetings. Here we provide you Flip charts, w/markers, TV and VCR Screen in our conference rooms at rental. After a long exhausting day with lots of travel and meetings you can relax in our indoor heated swimming pool which will defiantly take away all your fatigue. You can also relax in the Jacuzzi. For people who are fitness conscious we also have a fitness center, euro spa and sauna to keep them fit and healthy.

Book now
Powered by


A full floor of unique lifestyle amenities
AM/FM Alarm Clock
Hairdryers Available
Coffee Maker in Room
In-door heated swimming pool
24 Hour Front Desk
Meeting/Banquet Facilities
Handicapped Rooms/Facilities
No Smoking Rooms/Facilities
Refrigerator/Microwave only in suites
25 inch TV
Free Parking
Free Local Telephone Calls
Television with Cable
Fitness Center or Spa
Ice Machine
Conference Facilities
Laundry Service
Iron/Ironing Board
Pets Allowed (but for a fee)
Wheel Chair Access
Truck Parking
Two-room suites for honey mooners, business people,
or large families.

Meeting Facility :

Team Meetings, religious retreats, family gatherings or game night for your group are all welcome. We offer 1,200 sq ft of meeting space Classroom seating for 80 people Theatre seating for 50 people U-shape seating for 50 people For your meeting we offer the following supplies available with the conference room rental: Flip charts w/markers TV and VCR Screen Please ask about meeting space rental and equipment fees.