Dog


Sending of the dog to Acoma as a messenger of the ceremonies; in a coyote like trick he undertakes a test of eating thirty-two kinds of food and runs off with the presents given in reward for his success. Pg. 160, Visionary.

Navajo Chantway Myths, 1957; Kathrine Spencer.

The Holy Beings formed the dog, male and female. The male dog was dressed with the dawn and he was white. He traveled to the East. The female dog was reddish or brownish yellow and she was dressed with the twilight. On their ears sat the Little Breeze. Their ears were made from the winds, and at the tip of the tail also there is a breeze. So when a dog passes another dog he can tell from the mouth to the tip of the tail. Burned food was put on their noses and they were black. A medicine stick, ke et an'dotishe, was placed inside their stomachs, and they say that is why a dog never gets enough to fill him. As he has the wind at the ears and at the tip of the tail he never gets lost. He knows many things, for he was sent to guard the doorways of the people. The male dog was sent east of the Carrizos and the female dog to a place now known as Tohatchi. The white dog was a welcome animal. The people were good hunters and they fed him and petted him and he grew fat. But the female dog went to evil people who beat her and threw sticks at her and she grew poor and skinny. The dogs were told to meet at a place called Tse ha gaye. There are burning minerals under the ground there and one sees smoke. 12 They met there as instructed, but when they met the male jumped on the female and threw her on the ground. The male dog treated her badly. They fought as dogs do now. Then they crossed. The dog said: "People were good to me and fed me lots of meat." The bitch said: "People were cruel to me. They starved me all the time." So they changed places; the white dog went to the home of the yellow dog, and the female went to the home of the male. And after a time they met again at the same place. This time the white dog had gotten the worst of the treatment and was thin and poor, whereas the bitch was fat. So the two got even with each other. Then the two dogs started out for a place called Nat ege saka'te, where a lone currant bush grows on a plain south of Fruitland. A little ledge of rock and the lone currant bush are all that are there. When the dogs reached the ledge of rock they sat side by side with their backs toward the people who had been cruel to them. The one dog sent his bad wish with the gas from his stomach, and the other dog sent her bad wish from her backbone to the wicked people. The two them returned to the place where they were made. Later, the people who had been cruel to the dogs sickened. Their stomachs bloated, and they were very ill indeed. The being who was called Dontso, the All-Wise Fly, came and said: "The only person to make medicine here is Hasjelti himself; but don't tell anyone what I have said. Keep it a secret." Now up to this time they had used ceremonies over the sick, but they could not cure them. When Hasjelti made the medicine the people recovered. This is where the Dog Ceremony 13 begins. The chant is here.
12- Informant's note: This is a place near Newcomb's Trading Post.
13- Informant's note: The medicine used in the Dog Ceremony is for stomach ailments. They are: Informant's name: tse gan il chee; Franciscan Fathers (1910, p. 187), tsigha'jilchi, the dodder, Cuscuta unbellata. Informant's name: chil'dily ese; Franciscan Fathers (1910, p.186), chil dilyisi, dodgeweed, Gutierezzia euthamiae. Informant's name: da'e tinda; Franciscan Fathers (1912, p.77), da'hiqi'hi da', hummingbird food, Scarlet Gilia, Gilia aggregata. These plants are boiled together with native salts.


The Dine': Origin Myths of the Navajo Indians, 1956; Aileen O'Bryan.

The dog (lechai), Khintqelgi dobidinshdidahi hashcheltqi bili dzilkae nat'ani, that fine young chief of the wide house, the inseparable companion and pet of the Talking God. Pg. 175

An Ethnologic Dictionary of the Navaho Language; 1910, The Franciscan Fathers.

Dog (le'tca'i, li'tca'i') (U) is an animal of bad luck that may spoil anything. The Navaho ascribe to Dog the faults possessed by its relatives, Coyote and Wolf, and despise him because 'he can't take care of himself.' The Mexican hairless seems to have been better thought of. When Rainboy's sister prepared for her ascension, she took with her a Mexican hairless dog.
A small watchdog, tied to a cliff opposite the canyon home of the gods, barked sharply at the Stricken Twins.
Persons to whom dogs are unfriendly cannot foretell events. Those who divined by listening put dog earwax, among other things, into their ears. A rite to drive off the evil power of dogs was a part of the Night and Mountain chants (Hill 1938, p. 75; 1935a, p. 66; Reichard 1944d, p. 155; Matthews 1902, pp. 103, 229; Newcomb 1938, p.47; Wyman-Kluckhohn, pp. 6, 27; Kluckhohn-Wyman, p. 188).

Navajo Religion, Vol II; Gladys A. Reichard, 1950