Gender Related Social Groups

The first Nihookaa Dine'e were not made to live as individuals; rather, they immediately were matched and paired to found the Navajo social order. It is generally agreed that Changing Woman simultaneously created four pairs of women and men by rubbing cuticle from various parts of her body and mixing this with ground precious stones, ground corn, and her breath. She selected individuals from these first Nihookaa Dine'e to live as husband and wife and thus established the four original clans of the Navajo and the practice of clan exogamy (Aronilth, 1985, p. 83; O'Bryan, 1956, p. 167; Yazzie, 1971, p. 74). There is no consensus in the various accounts of this episode about exactly which clans originated from Changing Woman's flesh, or which clans originated from which parts of her body, but members of the clans believed to have come from her flesh take special pride in their sense of being members of an original clan. Once paired, these men and women were directed to go forth to where Changing Woman's sacred cornfields were in the east, within the sacred mountains of Dine Bikeyah, and increase their numbers through heterosexual reproduction (Aronilth, 1985, p. 83).

Navajo reckon kinship through four matrilineal clans—the mother's to which they are born, the father's for which they are born, the maternal grandfather's, and the paternal grandfather's. In addition, married Navajo have affine relations with a spouse's clans. Greatest emphasis is placed on the clan to which one is born. Coupled with matrilocal residence, this generally results in closer ties and commitments to one's mother's relatives than to one's father's relatives. In addition, clans are believed to be related to each other and clan exogamy rules extend to these related clans.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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