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.

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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


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The Navajo Nation Zoo

The Navajo Nation Zoo and Botanical Park is the only Native American owned-and-operated Zoo in the Country.

Navajo Nation Zoo 1

Zoo Hours: 10 am – 4:30pm, Monday – Saturday, and most major holidays.

Admission is Free for everyone!

Navajo Nation Zoo

The Navajo Nation Zoo and Botanical Park offers a number of services to the Navajo People and visitors from all over the world. Nearly all of our products and services are free of charge too!

Free guided tours to school groups
Picnic areas for rental for your next event
Event Rental Of The Navajo Nation Zoo

The Animals at the Zoo
The Navajo Zoo has over 100 animals representing just over 50 species. All of these animals are on permanent display for our visitors’ enjoyment. As you notice from the links above, we have a great collection of common animals that are native to the Navajo Nation and Southwest U.S.

Coyotes Of The Navajo Nation ZooThe Navajo Zoo has two Coyotes, named Codee and Lucky Sophia. The Zoo acquired young Codee in May 2011 from Sanders, AZ, and Lucky Sophia came all the way from Mojave Valley, AZ in February 2012 to live at the Navajo Zoo.

Cougars Of The Navajo Nation Zoo
The Navajo Zoo has three Cougars on exhibit. The eldest is named Sophie and came to the Navajo Zoo in 1997 from Yuma, AZ. She is rather shy. Previously she shared her enclosure with a very friendly male named Napoleon, who died in 2008 after living at the Zoo for 18 years. In September 2011 we introduced two new older cubs to Sophie. One is a male that already weighs 90-100 pounds before his first birthday; the other is a female (photo above) that is half the size of Sophie. The new male was named Hunter and the female was named Kay-bah through the Zoo’s Adopt-an-Animal Program.