The Sheep in Winter

The Sheep in Winter – Navajo Language Lessons

The sheep are wet and cold.
They are hungry, too.
If the snow keeps falling,it will be bad for the sheep.
Perhaps that is why the wind cries.
Perhaps the wind is sorry for the sheep.
That is what I think.

Dibé daditléé dóó dabi’niidlí.
Dóó dichin bi’niighá.
T’áá nchíilgo debé doo bá yá’át’éeh da.
‘Éí daats’í biniinaa níyol ‘áni.
Níyol daats’í dibé yaah bíni.
Shí ‘ákwíinisin

Little Herder – Navajo Language Lessons

Story Telling – Navajo Language Lesson
Build a Fire – Navajo Language Lesson
Little Lambs – Navajo Language Lesson
Field – Navajo Language Lesson
The Waterhole – Navajo Language Lesson
The Puppy – Navajo Language Lesson
Sheep Corral – Navajo Language Lesson
Possessions – Navajo Language Lesson
Breakfast – Little Herder Story
The Sing – Navajo Language Lesson
Going To The Sing – Navajo Language Lesson
Sleep – Navajo Language Lesson
Supper – Navajo Language Lesson
Father Comes Back – Navajo Language Lesson
Shoveling Snow – Navajo Language Lesson
The Dogs are Hungry – Navajo Language Lesson
There Is No Food – Navajo Story

More Navajo language links:

Navajo Winter Storytelling Poster

Recounting the Journeys of the Navajo Hero Twins


Navajo Winter Storytelling Poster

Poster © 2013 Heritage Language Resource Center. All rights reserved


The story of the Hero Twins, from birth through manhood, provides a lifelong pattern for the Diné to follow.

Everyone was involved in their raising, their training, and eventually struggles and victories: Sun bear her and other deities, changing woman in the Diné, the animals and the birds, even the earth itself.

The Giants and their followers had made it impossible for the Diné to establish a homeland, but changing woman gave birth to the twins and raise them for their special purpose.

They conquer the giants and provided a safe place for the Diné to call home. Within the protecting boundaries of the four sacred mountains, the Diné established their homeland.

There they can live and follow the teachings of their forefathers. Many of their ceremonies, chants, prayers, songs, and celebrations of the Diné are reenactments of the events of the story of the he will twins.-year-old twins.

When respected and followed, they will keep the Diné in harmony and balance in their own homeland.

Charles Yanito artist and illustrator

 Illustrated  artwork by Charles Yanito.

Charles Yanito was born in Bluff, Utah to the Ti’ash chii and the Toh dich’iinih clans. He attended the Institute of American Indian Arts and holds a degree from the College of Eastern Utah and Utah State University. He has exhibited his works in numerous galleries and regional art festivals. His illustrations can be seen in many San Juan School Heritage Language Resource Center publications. Currently, Charles resides in Bear, Delaware with his family.

From the book:  The Legend of the Navajo Hero Twins

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

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

Navajo Shepherdess Girls in Winter

Navajo Shepherdess Girls in Winter

Title: Shepherdess in Winter. In Monument Valley, Arizona on the Navajo Indian Reservation, children tend the flocks whatever the weather. Here a young girl holds her pet lamb, and in the background loom the stone monuments for which the area is named. [photographer’s caption]

Date: 1950-1970
Creator: Muench, Josef
Photo’s courtesy of:  Northern Arizona University. Cline Library.
Subjects: Navajo Indians, Native Americans
Places: Monument Valley (Ariz. and Utah) Navajo Indian Reservation

New Navajo Photo Gallery


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