The Navajo Legend of Shiprock

ShipRock is called, T see Bit a i, in Navajo, which means, “rock with wings, or simply, “winged rock.

The formation, figures prominently, in Navajo Indian mythology, as a giant bird, that carried the Navajo, from the cold northlands, to the Four Corners region.

ShipRock, when viewed from certain angles, resembles a large, sitting bird, with folded wings, the north and south summits, are the tops of the wings.

ShipRock, is a sacred mountain, to the Navajo people, that figures prominently in Navajo, mythology.

The primary legend, tells how a great bird, carried the ancestral Navajos, from the far north, to their current homeland, in the American Southwest.

The ancient Navajos, were fleeing from another tribe, so shamans prayed for deliverance. The ground beneath the Navajos, became a huge bird, that transported them on its back, flying for a day, and a night, before landing at sunset, where Shiprock now sits.

The people, climbed off the Bird, which rested from its long flight.

But Cliff Monster, a giant dragon-like creature, climbed onto the Bird’s back, and built a nest, trapping the Bird.

The people sent Monster Slayer, to combat Cliff Monster, in a Godzilla-like battle, but in the fight the Bird was injured.

Monster Slayer then killed Cliff Monster, cutting off his head and heaving it, far to the east, where it became today’s Cabezon Peak.

The monster’s coagulated blood, formed the dikes, while grooves on the Bird, drained the monster’s blood.

The Bird, however, was fatally injured, during the great battle. Monster Slayer, to keep the bird alive, turned the bird to stone, as a reminder to the people of its sacrifice.

It stands today, as Shiprock.

Other Navajo myths, tell how the people lived on the rock mountain, after the transport, descending, to plant and water their fields.

During a storm, however, lightning destroyed the trail, and stranded them on the mountain, above sheer cliffs. The ghosts or chindi of the dead, still haunt the mountain, Navajos ban climbing it, so the chindi are not disturbed.

Another legend says, Bird Monsters lived on the rock, and ate humans.

Later Monster Slayer killed two of them there, turning them into, an eagle and an owl.

Other legends tell how young Navajo men would climb Ship Rock, as a vision quest. Standing on the Navajo land, Shiprock today, is a testimony, to the resilience of these native people.

As found on Youtube

You might also like More from author