In the beginning, according to the creation stories of our people, the oral tradition tell of varying aspects of our ancestors’ arrival that are associated with our origins here. Many Navajo believe that, based on oral tradition, our ancestors have been in the Four Corners region of the Southwest forever. Other oral traditions suggest that the ancestors of the Navajo arrived after the disappeared because of the monsters. Another viewpoint, based on oral tradition, is that some Navajo ancestors lived with the and survived the destruction of the monsters (Begay 2003; Kelley et al. 2007:26; Kelley and Francis 1994, 1998; Warburton and Begay 2005).were created here between the Four Sacred Mountains and we did not come from anywhere else. Different versions of
This section provides information on clans whose members were located in the T’iis Tsoh Sikaad area. Clans with members that occupied sites in the T’iss Tsoh Sikaad area include Nakaii(Ramah Band origin – gypsy Navajos constantly moving around about the clan), (Red Streaked, Red Bottom), (Charcoal Streaked, Zuni), (Salt), (Towering House), (Red Forehead), Ta’neesdzahnii (Tangle), (Water Flows Together), (Mud), and (Bitter Water).
Below is a map that includes the approximate locations of some of the clans related to this project. You may click on the map text to read more about each clan.
These clan origins are associated with the Blessing Way teachings, which depict the clans as the central culm of a great corn stalk that forms the core Navajo oral tradition and ceremonialism. The root of the great corn stalk represents the coyote stories associated with the hunter-gatherer origins of the Navajo people. Branching out from the Blessing Way stalk are the other chant ways, songs, and stories.
The Navajo people arrived in(the confluence of the Los Pinos and San Juan Rivers, where Navajo Reservoir is now located). The children of Kayah stayed at this place after the other Navajo people were let into the surrounding canyons and become known as the (Redhouse 1985:2-8 cited in Kelley and Francis 1994:166).
After the Mexicans captured a Navajo girl, a man from the
Also suggested is that members of the (Ute) clan raided a Mexican village near the modern city of Socorro. They captured a woman, made her a slave, and married her to a clan member. She founded the Nakaii (Zolbrod 1987:309).
Members of two Apache clans came to the Navajo from the south. One clan became known as theclan and the other became known as the Deeshchii’nii (Zolbrod 1987:308).
Several clans raided a pueblo called Sei Bee Hooghan (House of Sand) located near a salt lake. A group of people from the(Honeycomb Rock) clan captured two women from the pueblo and kept them as slaves. The women bore offspring who formed the (Salt) clan (Zolbrod 1987:338).
In the days before horses, our ancestors came to settle with the
was one of the first four clans created by by rubbing skin from her breast (Lapahie 2010). As the clans were about to leave, gave them five animals to protect them, the Great Snake, Fearless Bear, Gentle Deer, Upright Porcupine, and the Mighty Puma, and gave the clan a wand of white shell (Zolbrod 1987:181). Hopi members of the Asngyam clan (Tansy Mustard) could have been incorporated into this clan after the late-17th century (O’Hara 2008:11). is also part of the Hailway origin (Linford 2000:225).
A second group of Zuni came to theClan, and came together with the first group. They left the Zuni villages due to the scarcity of food. Together they formed the clan, which means Black Horizontal Striped People (Zolbrod 1987:337).
Zuni, Charcoal-Streaked Division of Tachii’nii
The origins of this clan are uncertain. It is a division of the Táchii’nii clan, and one translation of the clan is that it is of Zuni origins (York 1983).
A group of people arrived from a place called
Some researchers suggest that the clan was formed by survivors of the destruction of Taalahoghan (the Hopi village of Awatovi) in A.D. 1700, who settled at Spring at the headwaters of Polacca Wash (Red Soil) (Brugge 1993; Ishii 2001:149; O’Hara 2004:10). This group of people had originally come to Awatovi from the San Francisco Peaks and formed a distinct group in the village prior to surviving the destruction of the village.
This clan was said to be related to the Spider People because their teeth were like spider webs (naaneeshzhah) (Lynch et al. 1987:24). The Ta’n44sdzahnii people lived near Ch’0ol77 (Gobernador Knob) at a place called Ta7n44szh located in the San Rafael Canyon area (Linford 2000:216; Towner 2003:205).
was one of the first four clans created by from skin rubbed from under her left arm (Lapahie 2010). As the clans were about to leave, gave them five animals to protect them, the Great Snake, Fearless Bear, Gentle Deer, Upright Porcupine, and the Mighty Puma, and gave the clan a wand of red stone (Zolbrod 1987:317).
Another account reveals that gave the people a porcupine, a jet cane or wand, a basket, and images of talking prayersticks. The color of water derived from using the jet cane was brown in color, which is where the clan name derived (Mitchell 1978:181). Another account says that the owner of the jet cane had brown skin so the clan was called (Mud) (Wyman 1970:458).
was one of the first four clans created by from skin rubbed from under her right arm (Lapahie 2010). As the clans were about to leave, gave a fearless bear and a wand of haliotis shell (Zolbrod 1987:317; Mitchell 1978:181). The wand was used to provide a water supply but it was too bitter, so they were called clan (Mitchell 1978:181; Wyman 1970:458).