curing ceremonial

Encyclopedia Article


In the Navajo tradition, curing ceremonials are chantways used to remove the sources of diseases. For the Navajo, ceremonies are conducted on an individual basis, rather than the systematic ceremonial approach employed by their neighbors, the Pueblos. Navajos can either request a singer (hataałii) to perform a certain ceremonial to cure an ailment, or they can go to a hand-trembler (ndilniihii), star gazer, or listener to diagnose the source of the ailment. Once the source of the ailment is known, the healer can then recommend a proper ceremony for the cure. These ceremonials can include singing, prayers, sand painting, sweats, and emetics among other elements.

Photo Credit: 

"Third Day Mountain Chant ceremonial, circa 1965," sandpainting, (1990.01.1774). Hubbard Museum of the Amerian West, Ruidoso, New Mexico. All rights reserved. Used with permission only.

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