The Legend of the Navajo Hero Twins

Book Review of 

The Legend of the Navajo Hero Twins

by Don Mose, Jr.
Illustrated by Charles Yanito

 

gend of the Navajo Hero Twins cover

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

Lavishly illustrated with the world-class artwork of Charles Yanito. (37  illustrations)

Experience the Journey!

Read about the epic journey of the Navajo Hero Twins, the traditional narrative that parallels the journey of life and defines the foundation of Navajo culture.The book covers:

  • Raising the Twins
  • Spider Woman Prepares the Twins
  • Journey to the Father on the Holy Trail
  • Sun Bearer Challenges the Twins
  • The Sweat Lodge
  • The Weapons
  • The Sacred Mountains
  • Holy Beings Teach the Twins
  • The Twins Kill the Monsters
  • A Home in the West
  • The Story of the Hero Twins Lives on Today

… and many other topics.

 

Don Mose Jr
Don Mose, Jr., traditional storyteller

Don Mose, Jr. is a member of the Diné Nation, originally from the small reservation community of pinon, Arizona. Storylling has always been an important part of Don,s life. As a boy, Don listened to his Grandfather and his Aunt as they related the timeless history and narratives of the Diné. Don has commjtted his life’s work to sharing these traditional stories with the younger generations. ln his quest to keep the flames of Diné culture alive, Don has been inspired by the traditional people of the far north, the Athabascan relatives he met on his journeys to Siberia and the Yukon. lt is Don’s desire that these stories be used to help students.

Charles Yanito artist and illustrator
Charles Yanito artist and illustrator

Charles Yanito was born in Bluff, Utah to the Tl’ash chii and the Toh dich’iinih clans. He attended the lnstitute of American lndian Arts and holds degrees from the College of Eastern Utah and Utah State University. He has exhibited his works in numerous galleries and regional art festivals. His illushations can be seen in many San Juan Schools Heritage Language Resource Centor publlcaflons, Currenfly, Charles resides in Bear, Delaware with his famlly.

 

 

Navajo Old Age Illustration by Charles Yanit

The twins were on their way, together again. As they reached the foot of the mountain, they saw
an old woman. She walked slowly towards them, leaning on her cane. Everything her was old, her wrinkled face, her thin arms, her bent back. She looked so tired, and she even spoke slowly, with a quaver in her voice. “So, you are the warrior boys. Whst brings you to Dibe Nitsaa?”

Navajo Old Age Illustration by Charles Yanit 


Book measures 8.5 “ x 11”

Spiral Bound for easy reading 

Initial introductory printing — soft cover — $35.00 

To Purchase:
Heritage Language Resource Center
Navajo and Ute Language Resources
28 West 20 North
Blanding, Utah 8451
435 -678 -1230
Website: media.sjsd.org

Posters from the book

The posters are Available in 2 sizes:
17” x 22” – $7.00 each or $25.00 for the 4 poster set
11” x 14” – $3.00 each or $10.00 for the 4 poster set

The Holy Beings Teach the Navajo Twins Poster

The Holy Beings Teach the Navajo Twins Poster

The Navajo Hero Twins Receive Their Weapons

Navajo Winter Storytelling Poster
Recounting the Journeys of the Navajo Hero Twins

 


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 Blanca (Sisnaajini) Navajo Sacred Mountain

Mount Blanca (Sisnaajini) – Dawn or White Shell Mountain

Direction: East ( Ha’a’aah)
Color: White (Ligia)
Protector: Bear (Shash)

Mount Blanca (Sisnaajini) - Dawn or White Shell Mountain

 

Mount Blanca (Sisnaajini) Navajo Sacred Mountain

The mountain is considered to be the eastern boundary of the Dinetah, the traditional Navajo homeland.

When the Holy People had assembled the things with which to dress the East mountain, they traveled by way of a sunbeam and rainbow beam to decorate Sisnaajiní.

The Holy People dressed Sisnaajiní with a perfect white shell for positive thoughts and thinking.

Then the Holy People ran a bolt of lighting through a sacred mountain to fasten the East mountain to our Mother Earth.

These are the Holy People that were told to live in this sacred mountain:
1. Dawn Boy and Girl
2. White Bead Boy and Girl
3. White Corn and Male Rain
4. Rock Crystal Boy and Girl and Birds
5. Spotted White Corn for vegetation symbols
6. White Wind, Spotted Wind gave life to this mountain

As Navajo people, we were given Blanca Peak as a starting point. Blanca Peak was put in the eastern direction because the sun rises from there at the start of each day.

Blanca Peak should be thought of as the ‘north arrow’ on a map, which determines the orientation of a person’s mind and physical presence on earth. The eastern direction is easily determined each morning as it is dawning. The sun then rises.

During this process, you are waking up and thinking what it is that you will be doing for the day.

As you go outside of your Hogan, you’re already facing east toward the Holy People. So, being that Blanca Peak is in the eastern direction, Blanca Peak represents ‘thought’.

Thought comes first in everything that you do. Blanca Peak was carefully formed.

Its spirit is that of the Holy People and its appearance is that of varying plants such as trees and flowers.

In that respect, your first thoughts have those same characters.

The literal translation of Blanca Peak (from Navajo) is Black Belted Mountain. There are many stories in why it is called that.

Each of the sacred mountains is a holy person dressed in various outfits. Blanca Peak has a belt. A layer of trees around it that is caused by the ‘tree line’ forms the belt. Just like any of the sacred mountains, Blanca Peak stands on its feet and extends out its arms.
Sources:
Navaho Legends -Matthews, Washington,-.
The Dîné: origin myths of the Navaho Indians – O’Bryan, Aileen.
An ethnologic dictionary of the Navaho language – Franciscans, Saint Michaels, Ariz.
Foundation of Navajo Culture, by Wilson Aronilth, Jr.,

The Four Navajo Sacred Mountains

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

Other Sacred Mountains

Huerfano Mesa – Navajo Sacred Mountain
Gobernador Knob – Navajo Sacred Mountain

The Navajo Sacred Mountains Poster

The Navajo Sacred Mountains Poster

 

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 Creation Story 2 – House God

First Man and First Woman placed two sacred deerskins on the ground as before. On the buckskin a shell of abalone was placed, on the doeskin a bowl made of pearl. The shell contained a piece of clear quartz crystal, and the bowl a moss agate. The objects were dressed respectively in garments of white, blue, yellow, and black wind, and were carried to the end of the land in the east by First Man and First Woman. With their spirit power Astsa• Ha¡sta­n and Astsa• A’stsa¡n sent both the shell and the bowl far out over the ocean, giving life to the crystal and the agate as they did so, directing that the one who would be known as Cha•honaa¡i, the Sun, should journey homeward through the sky by day, shedding light and warmth as he passed; the other, KlÄ•honaái, the Moon, must travel the same course by night. To each were given homes of turquoise in the east and west, and none but the Winds and the gods, HaschaltÄ­ and Haschagan, were to visit them.

Upon their return Astsa• A’stsa¡nn and Astsa• A’stsa¡n were asked if they would leave the sky in so plain a condition, or if they intended to beautify it with jewels. They replied that it was their intention to dot it with many bright stars. All those who had bits of white shell, turquoise, crystal, pearl, or abalone were directed to contribute them for the making of the stars. These were placed upon the two deerskins by First Man and First Woman.

The seven stars of the Great Dipper, Na´hokos Bakaon were the first to be set in the sky. Next, those of Na’hokos Baa¡d, his female complement, were placed in the blue dome. Then followed A’tatso and A’ta’tsaa­, Sa’ntso and Sontsa’a­, and Dalga’hat, the Small Dipper, Sonha’tsÄ­ and Klaka¡i Sta’a­, the Milky Way.

In each instance the arrangement of the stars in the constellation was made when the fragments of precious stones were placed upon the skins, where Ástsĕ Hástĭn and Ástsĕ Ĕstsán imparted glowing light to them and delivered them to the Winds to carry to the sky. Only a small portion of the gems had been thus transformed and sent up, when a fine-looking, well-dressed stranger came up to watch the proceedings. In reply to his question as to what was being done, his attention was directed to the sun, the moon, and the many stars already created, while more were soon to follow. The man was Coyote, son of Darkness. He watched the work for a time, when, seeing his chance, he caught the large deerskin containing the pile of jewel fragments and flung it skyward, blowing into the bits four times ere they could fall, scattering them all over the sky. Thus it is that there are myriads of stars irregular in arrangement and without names. As he strode off Coyote explained curtly that there were already enough sacred things to worship.

Then the Winds were stationed at the horizon to guard the earth, and at the four sacred mountains in the east, south, west, and north, to act as messengers for the Hascha’aa and Hascha’gana Talking Gods and House Gods who had their abodes on them. On the same plane, one behind the other, the Winds were ranged in streaks, White, Blue, Yellow, and Black. Outside of all Coyote placed a streak of Red Wind. This forced itself to the inside many years later and gave rise to disease and premature death, for as the good Winds are life-breathing, so the evil Winds are life-taking. Even now the Red Wind takes the lives of many children every year.

Haschógan - Navajo House God

Haschógan – Navajo House God

Photograph 1904 by E.S. Curtis

Second in general importance only to Haschaalta­ among Navaho deities is the House God, here shown. His position among the gods is quite parallel with that of peace chief among Indians in life. Like the majority of the myth characters he has numerous counterparts in the various world quarters.

The Da’ai†n made their homes near Cha’a­li, close to the place of emergence. It was there that all ceremonies took place. From their homes the people saw a dark Cloud settle and cover the top of Cha’a­li. For four days it kept lowering until the mountain was completely shrouded in dark blue fog. They did not know whether it portended good or evil, but realized that something of moment was at hand. Astsa• Ha¡sta­n ascended the mountain through the fog to learn what it meant, but found nothing unusual. As he turned to descend, a faint, apparently distant cry reached his ears, but he paid no heed. Ere long the same sound came to him again; then a third and a fourth time, whereupon he turned and walked in the direction whence it came. On the eastern slope he found a tiny baby, and wrapping it in rays of sunbeams he carried it home to his wife.

The Cloud that descended was a portion of the sky which had come to meet the Earth; from the union of the two Ya’lkaia’stsa¡n, White-Shell Woman, was born. In twelve days the baby had grown to maturity, subsisting on pollen only.Astsa• Ha¡sta­n and Astsa• Astsa¡n sent messengers to all the Da­ga­n to tell them of the marvel and to summon them to a ceremony which would be held four days later. Word was sent also to the gods on the four sacred mountains.

Ástsa• a’stsa¡n dressed Ya’lkai Astsa¡n in fine garments ornamented with beautiful jewels. At the western side of her hogan she placed a sacred deerskin and laid upon it several wool and cotton blankets, covering the whole with a mountain-lion skin. These were arranged as the seat of honor for White-Shell Woman, for whom was about to be held a ceremony celebrating her maturity.