Gila monster

Encyclopedia Article


Gila monster is one of the Navajo Holy People and is thought to be the original medicine man (according to the Flintway ceremony). When drawn in sand paintings and other representations, Gila monster appears as the large, venomous lizard known as the Gila monster, whose native habitat is the Southwestern U.S.. The Gila monster is associated with Navajo traditional healers, especially "hand trembles," because the animal's foot is thought to shake when he walks. Trembling hands are a sign that one has been infected by the Gila Monster is meant to be a healer.

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"Gila Monster of North America, plate from Century Cyclopedia circa 1895" by The New Century Dictionary, Eds H.G. Emery and K.G. Brewster.

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