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Witches are people, men or women, who practice witchcraft. In many cultures witches are typically believed to be female. In Navajo societies, witches are most often believed to be male, although older people and women without children are also believed to be witches. These witches cause harm or illness to the people they curse or who encounter them. This sickness can be cured by completing curing ceremonies.

In the Southwest, there are strong concepts of witchcraft for both the Pueblo groups and the Navajo. For the Navajo, witches may also refer to Navajo wolf, wolf, or skinwalker. In some Native American legends, a skinwalker is a person with the supernatural ability to turn into any animal he or she desires. In addition to transforming into animals, the skinwalker has other powers. He or she can read others' minds, control minds, bring forth disease, destroy homes, and even cause death. While Europeans warned of a wolf in sheep's clothing, certain tribal beliefs cautioned against a human in wolf's clothing. Literally, the Navajo wolf, or witch, can also be referred to as a skinwalker.

Photo Credit: 

"Dolon wearing a wolf skin, detail from an Attic red-figure lekythos, circa 460 BCE" by is licensed under Public Domain.

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