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Clanship System
  Extended K'4
Navajo Nation Government



Din4 Clanship System Origins

According to traditionalists, 'Asdz33 N1dleeh4 (Changing Woman) was sent to the west to rule the Western Twilight. While there, she became lonely so she created clans by molding dirt from her body. She formed the first clan by scratching her chest and molding the body with dirt. Thereafter, she named them the Kiny11'aani (Towering House clan) and blew the mold to the east. As representatives of the east, she also gave him a gish (staff) adorned with yoo[gaii and the N1shd07tsoh (Big Cat) as a protector.

Next, she scratched under her right arm above the rib cage and formed another mold, which she named the To'dich77n77 (Bitter Water clan) and blew to the south. She gave him a gish garnished with doot['izhii, the T['iishtsoh (Big Snake) as a protector and told him he would represent the clan from the south.

Thirdly, she scratched between her shoulder blades and formed another mold, naming him the H0n1gh11n77 (One-Who-Walks- Around clan) and blew him to the west. A gish embellished in diichi[i and the Shash (Bear) were given to assist him in representing the west.

Lastly, she scratched under her left arm above the rib cage, formed another body of dirt and blew to the north. She named this clan, Hasht[ishnii (Mud). Again, gave him a gish decorated with baashzhinii and the Dahs1ni (Porcupine) as a protector.

During this time, the clans were recreated from spirit to flesh and referred as Din4 Analya. The four clans utilized their protectors to return to the Sacred Mountains. The four original clans were told that they were not related and could intermarry to bring forth offspring clans. An individual's four clans represents the separation of powers and through k'e, checks and balances are maintained. Over the years through intermarriage of clans, the Din4 increased in population. Some of these clans were exchanged to serve as slaves to supplement the other clans.

From: Navajo Nation Government, Fourth Edition, Office of Navajo Government Development, Window Rock, Navajo Nation.

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