20110723

Navajo Gods


I recently came across these images of The Navajo by Edward Curtis taken just after 1900. From what I have read these are representations of different Gods for ceremony and dance. The information I have found for these photos varies. If anyone has a good reference please let me know. I would love to read and learn more about these images and Navajo beliefs and legends. 










{most images get larger when clicked on}

10 comments:

  1. Call the Navajo Nation Historic Preservation Department and speak with a Navajo Cultural Specialist for more information. The gods, as translated in English, are Rain/Corn Sprinkler, Monster Slayer (son to the Sun God), Child Born from/for Water God, Talking God, and From Bottom Depths of Holy Waters Fringed Mouth God. Monster Slayer and Child Born from/for Water are the twin brothers that slayed the giants and creatures that were plaguing the land. The other gods instructed Navajo prophets and other Holy Men during times of great hardship and ceremonial origins. The Navajo have multiple elaborate and complex ceremonial systems that can last up to nine nights. I believe some of these pictures contain minuscule parts of the nine night Night-way (Tleeji Hataal) or Coyote-way ceremony(Maiiji Hataal - EXTINCT). The Navajo traditional chanters are one of a kind, to learn such ceremonies can take up to ten years of training.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi... I'm Native American and here is information about the photos you have.

    Yeibichai (this is what their called in the photos)
    http://www.rivertradingpost.com/yeibichai.htm

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Here is another website with more information. Some of the photos you have are "Skinwalkers". I may warn you some of the details are a bit much. Hope the website I provided you above and this will have you with your questions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skin-walker

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm of the Navajo Tribe, and NONE of those pictures are of Skinwalkers!
    They are all Yei Gods, the only one I do not see are the Females.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, do you know which gods are represented? These are some very powerful images and I'd love to know something about the individuals represented.

      Delete
  6. Thank you Chischillie, it is more than unfortunate how someone puts an uneducated label on something, such as these photos, and they get reposted over and over with the wrong information.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Amazing these photos are out. Pictures of the yeibichei are not suppose to be taken. However I have heard that in the 1900s a video was collected of the dance however it's all done backwards but I yet to come across it. My father was a medicine man for the navajo for a short time. He told me all about these guys. Email me if you have questions he's a good source... ks622@nau.edu

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm Navajo...and, these are hauntingly fantastic photos!! Note: Any Navajo will know that these are NOT the dreaded Skinwalkers. These are men who are acting as proxy for Navajo deity. They've taken years of training to do certain ceremonies. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete