Navajo Creation Myth Shows Beauty and Power of Ancient Storytelling

When you choose to spend your vacation with Bluegreen Resorts at the Cibola Vista Resort and Spa in Peoria, Arizona, you’ll find it easy to explore the rich history and culture of the Navajo people who live today in the northeastern part of Arizona and in the adjacent corners of New Mexico and Utah. The Navajo are renowned for their skill as silversmiths and for their work with turquoise and a variety of gemstones. They also create stunning woven goods and pottery.

Like most of the world’s other distinct cultural groups, the Navajo continue to re-tell the stories told to them by their ancestors in order to make sense of the world and their place in it. The Navajo legends having to do with the creation of the earth and its people are especially engaging.

According to Navajo mythology, the first of the “Diné” (meaning the Navajo people) originated in a primeval world of darkness, called Nihodilhil. In this world of darkness, there were four corners, and each corner held a colored cloud—one black, one white, one yellow, and one blue.

In the early times, only Holy People and four varieties of insects lived in the First World of Nihodilhil. The black and white clouds met and formed the first man, and with him the first white corn. The yellow and blue clouds met and formed the first woman, and with her the first yellow corn. In addition, the first woman brought with her a piece of turquoise, a white shell, and a yucca plant.

First Man burned a crystal to make a fire, and First Woman burned her turquoise, and by seeing each other’s light they found one another. They were joined by a coyote, who knew the secrets under the water, and by a second coyote, called First Angry, then by groups of spider ants, black ants, wasps, and many other creatures. Through a series of adventures, these original beings rose up through a series of later worlds, colored blue, yellow, and finally white. On these journeys, they met many other creatures, birds, holy people, and gods.

In the Fourth World, the man and woman built the first hogans and learned to use flint and wood to make fire. The four seasons came to this world, and so did monsters and tricksters. The hero Monster Slayer went out to vanquish the forces of Cold Woman, Hunger Man, Poverty, and Old Age. But when they all convinced him that without them life on earth could not proceed, he spared them, and that decision led to the world we know today.