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The Navajo Origin Legend
Transcript of The Navajo Origin Legend
By: Sowmya, Carter, Lawrence, Matt and Jaina
Background on the Navajo
There are over 100,000 members of the tribe today
Many of them live in the Navajo reserve, which occupies over 24,000 miles.
Summary of the Navajo Origin Legend
Many of these reserves exist in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico.
History of the Navajo
They settled in the American Southwest over 1,000 years ago
They generally lived in log structures made from natural earth materials (unprocessed)
They were forced to move away from their native land in 1864 when the US army drove them out
They practiced tribal religion, which was polytheistic
For more information, watch this youtube video to learn more about the Navajo people and traditions.
Elements of a creation myth:
First, understand that a
is a traditional story, usually involving supernatural beings or events, that explain how something in the world has come to be.
A creation myth homes in on:
How the universe, earth, and
workings of the natural world
Supports and validates
social customs and values
Guides people through the trials of living
Corn was very important to the Navajo because it was a large source of their food.
These eagle feathers were required to start life and were used to emphasize the purpose and reasoning of wind.
Both the idea of wind and how the first man and woman were created were foreign to the Navajo.The Navajo Origin legend explains each.
Or visit: http://www.bigorrin.org/navajo_kids.htm
twelfth day, when men and women washed
dried themselves with white and yellow cornmeal
gods laid buckskins on top of each other facing different directions
two yellow and white ears of corn between the two buckskins
eagle feathers protruded between buckskins
eight Mirage people walked eight times,
waited for wind to blow, feathers moved
feathers stopped moving, man and woman were created
In the myth, a man and woman marry. They did so after being instructed by the gods and this explains the current social custom.
Wind was a natural force that provided life. This is shown when the wind blew and created the first man and woman.
Homes / Shelter
At the end of the story, the newly married man and woman enter a "shelter" that was created for them. Nowadays, people tend to live in homes, together and marrying, just like the couple in the myth.
Mirage people made house, ordered them to live as husband/wife
"It is the wind that comes out of our mouths now and gives us life. When this ceases to blow we die. In the skin at the tips of our fingers we see the trail of the wind; it shows us where the wind blew when out ancestors were created."
The gods said to them: "Live together now as husband and wife."
Follow the guidance of the gods. For example the people were instructed to be married and live in shelter.
The story reveals important aspects of the Navajo culture, explains social customs and their reliance on the gods, and describes how life began, making it a classic origin myth.
Navajo Ways of Life
They were mainly hunters and gatherers
They grew corn, beans, and squash to eat and trade with.
The Navajo did not wear shirts. Men wore "breech cloths," and women wore skirts.
"The Navajo Indians." Navajo Indians. N.p., n.d.
Web. 22 Oct. 2014.