Cultural Beliefs of Earths Origin

Topics: Navajo people, New Mexico, Navajo Nation Pages: 3 (911 words) Published: March 11, 2013
The Navajo creation story involves three underworlds where important events happened to shape the Fourth World where we now live.

The Navajo were given the name Ni’hookaa Diyan Diné by their creators. It means "Holy Earth People". Navajos today simply call themselves "Diné", meaning "The People". The Tewa Indians were the first to call them Navahu, which means "the large area of cultivated land". The Mexicans knew them as "Navajos de Apaches", known as a special group somewhat distinct from the rest of the Apaches. Alonso de Benavides changed the name to Navaho in a book written in 1630.

According to the Diné, they emerged from three previous underworlds into this, the fourth, or "Glittering World", through a magic reed. The first people from the other three worlds were not like the people of today. They were animals, insects or masked spirits as depicted in Navajo ceremonies. First Man (Altse Hastiin), and First Woman (Alse Asdzaa), were two of the beings from the First or Black World. First Man was made in the east from the meeting of the white and black clouds. First Woman was made in the west from the joining of the yellow and blue clouds. Spider Woman (Na ashje’ii Asdzaa), who taught Navajo women how to weave, was also from the first world.

Once in the Glittering World, the first thing the people did was build a sweat house and sing the Blessing Song. Then they met in the first house (hogan) made exactly as Talking God (Haashch’eelti’i) had prescribed. In this hogan, the people began to arrange their world, naming the four sacred mountains surrounding the land and designating the four sacred stones that would become the boundaries of their homeland. In actuality, these mountains do not contain the symbolic sacred stones. The San Francisco Peaks (Dook’o’oosliid), represents the Abalone and Coral stones. It is located just north of Flagstaff, and is the Navajo’s religious western boundary. Mt. Blanco (Sis Naajini), in Colorado, represents the White...
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