Place of Emergence
Once all the beings had came through Hájinei (Place of Emergence) into the 4th World, they were relieved. Shortly after, they were concerned that they were missing an individual, a lady. From all directions they searched.
The birds flew to the sky in search of her. Four legged animals ran each directions in search of her. Insects crawled into every hole they could find in search of her. There was no trace of her. The last place they looked was the hole they came out of. Standing at the edge of the hole, they could her a faint voice coming from inside.
When they looked down into the hole, it was filled with water. The only way they could find out where the voice was coming from was by going into the water. Once they got into the water, at the bottom they saw the lady who they were searching for. Humans tried swimming down to her but couldn't reach her. Different animals attempted but nothing.
It was until a Waterbird and a beaver approached them and agreed to swim to her. Down into the water they went. Deeper and deeper, they were finally able to met her. There they heard her singing a song while brushing her hair and waited for her to finish and once she did, they told her that they had come to return her with her people. She declined.
She explained that she had died. She explained to them that they'll do as she says. She informed them that they'll brush a dead persons hair down without tying it into a Navajo hair bun and will not have a head band around their head but rather placed next to them. They smear chiih (Red Powder) onto both of their cheeks. A red string is to be wrapped around their left wrist to signify their passing. This is why they say traditionally you're not supposed to play string games with a red string, only dead people use them.
After being informed of what they were told, they swam back to the surface and told the Navajo's what they were told.
Image Credit: Tyrell Descheny
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The perception of mental illness won’t change unless we act to change it.
During Mental Health Month, We Are Navajo joins NAMI and the mental health community to reaffirm our commitment to building our understanding of mental illness, increasing access to treatment and ensuring those who are struggling to know they are not alone. Learn More