Changing Woman

Encyclopedia Article


According to Navajo mythology, it is on Earth, full of beauty and balance, that First Man and First Woman have a child, Changing Woman, also known as White Shell woman or Asdzą́ą́ Nádleehé in Navajo. She is associated with sacred items that represent speech and thought, both of which are in a medicine bundle that Changing Woman inherits. Changing Woman is the mother of the Hero Twins, Monster Slayer and Born for Water. She is also the benevolent being who creates the first Navajo of the four original clans and corn and is therefore known for bringing fertility and regeneration into the world.

Photo Credit: 

"Painting of a Sandpainting of First Man and First Woman," photograph by Gerald Nailor, 1936, Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 163.

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