Encyclopedia Article


One of the four mountains sacred to the Navajo Nation, known in modern times as Mount Taylor, located just northeast of present day Grants, New Mexico. In the Navajo creation myth, First Man buried turquoise in this mountain range, hence its symbolic color is blue. It features as a significant location for Blessingway and Enemyway ceremonies. According to Navajo legend, the chief of the Enemy Gods, Yé'iitsoh, once resided in the mountain. When the Twin War Gods (Born for Water and Monster Slayer, sons of Changing Woman) killed Yé'iitsoh, his blood spilled down the slopes and hardened into the lava flows of El Malpais, in the area surrounding Grants. The mountain is part of a cultural landscape of great significance to all indigenous groups in the region, including the Navajo Nation and the Pueblos of Acoma, Hopi, Laguna, and Zuni. In 2008, these five groups entered a petition to have Mount Taylor be designated a Traditional Cultural Property (TCP). In February 2014, 400,000 acres including and surrounding Mount Taylor were successfully designated a Traditional Cultural Property in a landmark case with national and international significance regarding the identification and (limited) protection of culturally significant landscapes.

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"Mount Taylor (Tsoodzil), September 2014" by Sophie Ell is licensed under CC BY.

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