First Woman

Encyclopedia Article


While there are many different versions of the Navajo Origin Myth, the general outlines of the myth are present in all versions, and First Woman (Áłtsé Asdzą́ą́), usually alongside First Man (Áłtsé Hastiin), is present in every version. First Man and First Woman are considered the builders of this world, responsible for creating the four sacred mountains, the first hogan, and the holy figures. First Man then completes a night-long ceremony where he creates beauty, balance, and order. It is into this world that the child of First Man and First Woman, Changing Woman, is born. It is Changing Woman’s twin boys, Monster Slayer and Born for Water, who defeat the monsters in this world and make it safe for the Navajo people to live in. Changing Woman takes over creation duties from First Man and First Woman.

Photo Credit: 

"Navajo woman and infant, Canyon de Chelle, Arizona, circa 1933" by Ansel Adams ( NARA record 1332556), Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Branch of Still and Motion Pictures, is licensed under Public Domain.

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