Hard Flint Woman

Encyclopedia Article


In Navajo cosmology, Hard Flint Woman is the grandmother and leader of the Hard Flint Boys. In the Enemyway story, Hard Flint Woman leads the Hard Flint Boys to Monster Slayer to participate in the first Enemyway ceremonial. Monster Slayer, also known as Nayé̆nĕzganĭ, is the eldest of twins born to rid the earth of the monsters who were killing the people, and the Enemyway is sung in order to protect Navajos from harmful ghosts of slain warriors, and can be used for those returning to Dinetah, or Navajo Country, to rid of the harmful effects of evil spirits, or chindi, they may have been exposed to when away from home.

According to Navajo tradition, the story of Hard Flint Woman can be seen in the evening sky. Hard Flint Woman is a part of a family that includes the Hard Flint Boys (the Pleiades), Hard Flint Man, and Hard Flint Woman. While there are only seven stars in the Pleiades constellation, the entire family may be represented by the nebula of stars around the Pleiades constellation. Some versions of the Hard Flint Woman story also suggest that the Maia nebula, which is part of the Pleiades cluster, represents Hard Flint Woman getting into an argument over the bounding or bouncing stick game, a game played by Navajo women involving a stone circle and sticks.

Photo Credit: 

"Maia Nebula, within the Pleiades star cluster, October 13, 2010" by Andrea Tosatto is licensed under CC BY-ND.

Published Works: 
Term Type: