Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Navajo Chants For Western Wednesday...!

Although much of the traditional practices of Native Americans is gone now, some of it was saved in the form of photographs.

Navajo Chants

Photo credit: Edward S. Curtis

In the 1930s, a photographer named Edward Curtis stayed with the Navajo people. He photographed them in their ceremonial costumes, determined to preserve the memory of a culture that he feared was dying.

He took pictures of the Navajo people using some incredible masks in their ceremonies, meant to look like their gods. This one is of the god Nayenezgani, the Slayer of Alien Gods, who they would call upon for miraculous births or for help in war.

During their chants, a man would wear a costume imitating on of their gods and would dance and act out performances. The chants would tell stories and ask for help from spirits, who might give luck or exorcise evil spirits.

It's only through the efforts of folks like Mr. Curtis that we have an accurate record of many of the costumes used in their ceremonies available to us today. Hats off to this gentleman and the others like him.

Coffee out on the patio today.


linda m said...

i am so glad there are people out there who want to preserve our history and cultures.My hubby was privileged to attend a Navajo "Blessing" ceremony when he worked on their Reservation. He said it was incredible.

HermitJim said...

Hey Linda...
I think it's great that he got to attend one of their ceremonies. Must have been special to him.
Thanks for stopping by today!

Hermit's Baby Sis said...

"Wind Talkers", the tale of the Navajo code talkers in WW2 is one of my favorites.
The Nazis never did figure out the code, and the Navajos were a great help in winning the war.
Whatever the Native Americans receive in way of tax subsidies or services, I think they totally deserve it.
Big hugs ~

HermitJim said...

Hey Sis...
That was one coder that never was broken by the enemy. It drove the Japanese crazy trying to figure it out.
Thanks, Sis, for coming by this morning!

JO said...

I have been to a few of the ceremonies and they are just beautiful. No matter how hard the whites tried to change all American Indians they couldn't win and I for one am so grateful for their Spirit to stay with their beliefs

Dizzy-Dick said...

There is so much history that has been lost to us but what has been saved and documented is worth its weight in gold.

HermitJim said...

Hey Jo...
Let's hope they remain for all time.
Thanks so much for dropping by, sweetie!

Hey Dizzy...
Boy, you got that right, my friend.
Thanks for the visit today!