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Indigenous Peoples' Literature

Dine (Navajo)

  "Always assume your guest is tired, cold, and hungry and act accordingly. There is nothing as eloquent as a rattlesnake's tail." 
"They came with the Bible in one hand and the gun in the other. First they stole gold. Then they stole the land. Then they stole souls." 

Ginger Hills, Navajo 


At The Rainbow's End 
Changing Woman [Asdz nádleehé]
Coyote Kills a Giant
Diyin Dine'e (Holy People-Navajo)

  Holy and Natural Law 
Holy Wind
Legend of the Night Chant


Monster Slayer and Yé'iitsoh

  Prayer of the Night Chant 
Rock Monster Eagle and Monster Slayer

  Sacred Mountains-Navajo 
  Song of the Horses
  Spider Rock
  Story of the Two Brother-Cousins 

The Dine (Navajo), together with the Apache, constitute the southern branch of the Athapascan linguistic family, living in New Mexico, Arizona, western Texas, southeastern Colorado, Utah, and in northern Mexico. The earliest recorded mention of the Dine (Navajo) is in 1629, when white settlers from Mexico moved among them. A revolution in the Dine economy occurred with the introduction of sheep, raised for food, clothing, and commerce. Peace treaties with the white man in 1846 and 1849 were not observed and Colonel Kit Carson invaded Dine territory in 1863 to stop Dine incursions. He killed large numbers of their sheep and also captured the greater part of the tribe as prisoners and sent them to Fort Sumner and Redondo on the Rio Pecos in New Mexico. In 1867, after the Civil War, the Dine nation was restored to its homeland. They continue to live in peace and prosperity with the growth of their flocks and income from the sale of their famous Dine (Navajo) blankets. In addition, the Dine tribe has attracted great attention from writers, artists, sculptors and choreographers because of their colourful culture.  

"The Dine (Navajos) are intensely religious," wrote Edward S. Curtis, whose twenty-volume study of The North American Indian was published between 1907 and 1930. Colorful expressions of their religious life are found in the many ceremonies performed by their medicine men.  


Other Navajo Pages

Navajo Nation Home Page
Sovereign Dineh Nation

DENE newsletters 
Dene Cultural Institute 
Dene Game 
Dene Yahtiyeh Aze 
Flagstaff Mission To The Navajos 
Navajo Code Talkers
  Navajo crafts
Navajo Home

Navajo Indians 
Navajo News Letter
Navajo Silversmith 

Navajo Trading Post
Stories of Navajo crafts and tradition 
Sun, Moon and Stars (Navajo Story)

Sur la piste des Indiens Navajo
 Traditional Navajo clan practices


Dine (Navajo) Wind Prayer  by Wolfeyes 

Oh, Great Spirit, Oh Grandfathers,
How lucky can one be to know such beauty?
One can search the world over and not find this much loveliness.
Her heart is pure, and radiates love and warmth.
Oh, Mother Earth, It is from your womb that she does come.
It has to be, for she reflects your beauty that I see all around me.

Oh, Navajo Wind, blow softly upon this desert rose.
Embrace her always with your warm gentle breezes.
Fill her heart with the pride and happiness
From a proud and noble people that she does come.

Whisper soft reminders in her ear,
"Never forget...
Never forget."

Oh, Father, the Navajo Sun,
Shine brightly down upon her path,
Allow her to see the beauty in herself as well as in others.
Protect her and keep her warm.
Hide her in your absence from the despares of this life.
Allow her always to walk in beauty.
Oh, Woman who walks in beauty like the night,
I am a friend who is distant and silent.
I will care for you always.



NASA and the Dine

About 1966 or so, a NASA team doing work for the Apollo moon mission took the astronauts near Tuba City. There the terrain of the Navajo Reservation looks very much like the lunar surface. Among all the trucks and large vehicles were two large figures that were dressed in full lunar spacesuits.

Nearby a Navajo sheep herder and his son were watching the strange creatures walk about, occasionally being tended by other NASA personnel. The two Navajo people were noticed and approached by the NASA personnel. Since the man did not know English, his son asked him who the strange creatures were. The NASA people told them that they were just men that were getting ready to go to the moon. The man became very excited and asked if he could send a message to the moon with the astronauts.

The NASA personnel thought this was a great idea so they rustled up a tape recorder. After the man gave them his message, they asked his son to translate. His son would not.

Later, they tried a few more people on the reservation to translate and every person they asked would chuckle and then refuse to translate. Finally, with cash in hand someone translated the message,

"Watch out for these guys, they come to take your land."

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The Indigenous Peoples' Literature pages were researched and organized by Glenn Welker.