Encyclopedia Article


Also spelled chʼįį́dii in Navajo, a “chindi” is the spirit of a dead person. Navajos are taught to avoid contact with the dead or enclosed places, like a hogan, where someone has passed to avoid coming into contact with chindi and contracting ghost sickness. Navajos believe that when a person dies, everything that is bad or out of harmony with the person will be left behind as a kind of malevolent spirit that has power to harm the living. For this reason, any hogan or structure inside which a person has died potentially contains chindi and must be abandoned. If a Navajo contracts ghost sickness by coming into contact with a site to which a chindi is still attached, the proper ceremonies must be performed in order to restore balance to the living.

Term Type: