These clan origins are associated with the Blessing Way, which is the central stalk of a great corn stalk that forms the Navajo oral tradition and ceremonial canon. The roots of this great corn stalk are formed by the coyote stories that are 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.
(Water Flows Together)
The Navajo people arrived in Dinetah at To Aheedlii (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 became known as the Tó’aheedliinii (Redhouse 1985:2-8 cited in Kelley and Francis 1994:166).
(Mexican, People Who Move About)
A man from the Tó’aheedliinii clan captured a Mexican girl after the Spanish captured a Navajo girl. The people thought of exchanging the Mexican girl for the Navajo girl because the girl’s mother missed her greatly. Instead, the Navajo girl escaped, so the man kept the Mexican girl. The Mexican girl founded the Nakaii dine’e clan (O’Bryan 1993:119). One researcher suggests that the Tó’aheedliinii man mentioned above was Jiháá (Motion of a Rattle) who lived west of the Chuska Mountains in the 1700s, and captured a Mexican girl from San Mateo (Mitchell 1978:188; O’Hara 2004).
Another account suggests that members of the Nooda’I dine’e (Ute) clan raided a Mexican village near the modern city of Socorro. They captured a Spanish woman, made her a slave, and married her to a clan member. She founded the Nakaii dine’e (Zolbrod 1987:309).
(Red Streak, Red Streaked, Red Bottom, Red Cheek)
Members of two Apache clans came to the Navajo from the south. One clan became known as the Tl’aaschchi’i clan 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 Tsenijikini (Honeycomb Rock) clan captured two women from the pueblo and kept them as slaves. The women bore offspring who formed the Ashiihi (Salt) clan (Zolbrod 1987:338).
In the days before horses, our ancestors came to settle with the Anaasazi who lived at Kin Yaa’a (Towering House). There, the Anaasazi had turkeys. A turkey shook its feathers and all types of corn came out. Our people took the corn, and the Kinyaa’nii (Towering House) people were the first of our clans to plant it. Later, there was a dispute with the Anaasazi living there, and our clan moved on (Barbone 1982).
Kinyaa’aanii was one of the first four clans created by Changing Woman by rubbing skin from her breast (Lapahie 2010). As the clans were about to leave, Changing Woman gave them five animals to protect them, the Great Snake, Fearless Bear, Gentle Deer, Upright Porcupine, and the Mighty Puma, and gave the Kinyaa’ nii clan a wand of white shell (Zolbrod 1987:317).
Another account says that they received a turkey for food (Mitchell 1978:181). Hopi members of the Asngyam clan (Tansy Mustard) could have been incorporated into this clan after the late-17th century (O’Hara 2008:11). Kin Ya’a is also part of the Hailway origin (Linford 2000:225).
A second group of Zuni’s came to the Tabaaha Clan, and came together with the first group. They left the Zuni villages due to the scarcity of food. Together they formed the Naasht’ezhi 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).
(Red Running/Extending Into the Water)
A group of people arrived from a place called Tachii’ (Red Extends/Runs Into Water) after escaping the naayéé'. No one was certain how they had escaped but they were then considered to be holy people. These people formed a large group, so they were divided into two clans, one called Tachii’nii, and one called K’ai’dine’e (Willow People). Through time, the two clans stayed close and the names of the two clans are now interchangeable (Zolbrod 1987:307). This group could be descended from Anaasazi who lived in the Grand Canyon and survived the naayéé' (wind of fire) that destroyed the other Anaasazi (O’Hara 2004:11; Begay and Roberts 1996:208).
Some researchers suggest that the Tachii’nii clan was formed by survivors of the destruction of Taalahoghan (the Hopi village of Awatovi) in A.D. 1700, who settled at Tachii Spring at the headwaters of Polacca Wash (Red Soil) (Brugge 1993, O’Hara 2004:10; Ishii 2001:149). 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.
(Tangle, Badlands, Rough Land Formation)
This clan was said to be related to the Spider People because their teeth were like spider webs (naaneezah) (Lynch et al. 1987:24). The Ta’neeszahnii people lived near Gobernador Knob at a place called Ta’neeszh located in the San Rafael Canyon area (Linford 2000:216; Towner 2003:205).
Hashtl’ishnii was one of the first four clans created by Changing Woman from skin rubbed from under her left arm (Lapahie 2010). As the clans were about to leave, Changing Woman gave them five animals to protect them, the Great Snake, Fearless Bear, Gentle Deer, Upright Porcupine, and the Mighty Puma, and gave the Hashtl’ishnii clan a wand of red stone (Zolbrod 1987:317).
Another account reveals that Changing woman gave the Hashtl’ishnii 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 was derived (Mitchell 1978:181). Another account says that the owner of the jet cane had brown skin so the clan was called Hashtl’ishnii (Mud) (Wyman 1970:458).
To dich’ii’nii was one of the first four clans created by Changing Woman from skin rubbed from under her right arm (Lapahie 2010). As the clans were about to leave, Changing Woman gave To dich’ii’nii 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 bitter, so they were called To dich’ii’nii clan (Wyman 1970:458; Mitchell 1978:181).