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Walk In Beauty: Prayer From The Navajo People

Walk In Beauty: Prayer From The Navajo People

We here at Talking-Feather wanted  to send a special message to you. The following traditional prayer is from the Navajo People and can be found in many places. The original author of this beautiful blessing is unknown.  Some say that reading the words bring  peace and calm. We have found this to be true…

Chaco Canyon NM Photo by Philip Greenspan

Walking in Beauty: Closing Prayer from the Navajo Way Blessing Ceremony
In beauty I walk
With beauty before me I walk
With beauty behind me I walk
With beauty above me I walk
With beauty around me I walk
It has become beauty again
Hózhóogo naasháa doo
Shitsijí’ hózhóogo naasháa doo
Shikéédéé hózhóogo naasháa doo
Shideigi hózhóogo naasháa doo
T’áá altso shinaagóó hózhóogo naasháa doo
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Today I will walk out, today everything negative will leave me
I will be as I was before, I will have a cool breeze over my body.
I will have a light body, I will be happy forever, nothing will hinder me.
I walk with beauty before me. I walk with beauty behind me.
I walk with beauty below me. I walk with beauty above me.
I walk with beauty around me. My words will be beautiful.
In beauty all day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons, may I walk.
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With dew about my feet, may I walk.
With beauty before me may I walk.
With beauty behind me may I walk.
With beauty below me may I walk.
With beauty above me may I walk.
With beauty all around me may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
My words will be beautiful…

Click to hear the prayer spoken in Navajo by  Wanye Wilson, a Navajo member.

Linguistic Note: The word “Hozho”  in  Dine’  (roughly translated) Concept of Balance and Beauty. Consideration of the nature of the universe, the world, and man, and the nature of time and space, creation, growth, motion, order, control, and the life cycle includes all these other Navajo concepts expressed in terms quite impossible to translate into English.   Some Navajos might prefer the term: “Nizhoni” meaning  ‘just beauty.”


Written by Robert S. Drake, for Tom Holm, PhD, University of Arizona American Indian Graduate Studies Program, Native American Religions and Spirituality.


Extended Lesson for the Navajos: Beauty, Brains, and Bravery!

O’siyo. In updating the ESL lesson plan for the Navajo Nation, there was a lot of new information to add!  Both Navajo men and women excel in nearly all professions and economic endeavors. Their brave spirits have taken them on many new paths.  Here are some updated photos and news for these wonderful people.

See the complete Navajo Lesson Plan with Answer Key Here.

The People: 

Miss Navajo Nation

The beautiful Leandra Thomas is Miss Navajo Nation 2013.  Photo-

The beautiful Leandra Thomas is Miss Navajo Nation 2013. Photo-

This prestigious contest has been in existence since 1952. “The contestants must fill the requirement of having knowledge of the Navajo culture and tradition. Unlike most beauty pageants throughout the world, the Miss Navajo Nation pageant is of beauty “within” one’s self.”- Miss Navajo Council-


Navajo physicist Fred Begay. Photo- physicscentral.

Navajo physicist Fred Begay. Photo- physicscentral.

Dr. Fred Begay (born 1932) is a Navajo nuclear physicist and a Korean War Veteran. Dr. Begay was profiled in the 1979 NOVA documentary, The Long Walk of Fred Young.


Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly. Photo Navajo

“After serving as a Navajo Nation Council Delegate for sixteen years and four years as Vice President in the Shirley-Shelly Administration, Ben Shelly was sworn in as President of the Navajo Nation on January 11, 2011. President Shelly was born in Thoreau, New Mexico.” ~Navajo

Navajo Nation Vice President Rex Lee Jim. Photo

“After serving as a ranking member on the Judiciary Committee and chairman of the Public Safety Committee within the 21st Navajo Nation Council, Delegate Rex Lee Jim was sworn in as Vice President of the Navajo Nation on January 11, 2011. Born and raised in Rock Point, a small farming and ranching community in northern Arizona.” ~Navajo

Joe Shirley, Jr., former President of the Navajo Nation.

Art and Literature

Navajo- Hastiin Tłʼa, (1867–1937) Renown Navajo Medicine man and master weaver. Photo- Wikipedia

Navajo- Hastiin Tłʼa, (1867–1937) Renown Navajo Medicine man and master weaver. Photo- Wikipedia

“Many Indian cultures accepted – and in fact, celebrated – the fact the some people could fill both male and female roles in their society. One such individual was Hosteen Klah (also spelled Hastiin Klah) who became well-known as a Navajo weaver and as a Navajo singer (medicine man). Among the Navajo, weavers are usually female and hataalii (singers, chanters, or medicine men) are usually male. Hosteen Klah filled both of these roles.” -Native Roots-rc gorman

Talented Navajo artist R.C. Gorman was born near Canyon de Chelly, Arizona and spent his life painting scenes that reflected Navajo culture.~RC Gorman Gallery~

Master Weaver Florence Riggs discusses weaving at the 2013 55th Annual Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market. Photo Weavinginbeauty

The 55th Annual Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market  theme for 2013 is  “Weaving Worlds with Wool” celebrates and highlights Navajo Rug Weavers and is Honoring Signature Artist Florence Riggs whose rug is the centerpiece of the event. 

Sherwin Bitsui (1975-) is a Navajo writer, and the recipient of several literary awards and grants. Photo- Bitsui website.


Video:  Keith M. Little Navajo Code Talker

View this wonderful educational  video as the legendary Navajo Code Talker Keith M. Little speaks about his life growing up in his home and his important role  during WWII.

“After hearing about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor while in boarding school, Keith Little chose to enlist in the U.S. Marines. He went to Communications School and became one of the legendary Navajo Code Talkers, seeing action on Iwo Jima, Roi Namur, Saipan and other Pacific locations. Keith helps tell the important story of the Code Talkers through his role as president of the Navajo Code Talkers Foundation.” ~Project completed by- Shawn Tsosie, Jessica King, and Robbie Christiano.~


Music Artist Raymond Carlos Nakai. Photo- Nakai website

Raymond Carlos Nakai (April 16, 1946) is a Navajo musician with several Grammy awards for his music. “Inner Voices” was an award winner.

The beautiful Radmilla Cody (Robert Doyle : Canyon Records )

Radmilla Cody Navajo singer, received a 2013 Grammy nomination for her album Shi Keyah: Songs for the People-She is the first Native American to be nominated for a Grammy Award. This album contains many wonderful songs, but especially Navajo Warrior and the beautiful  Code Talker which Miss Cody sings  a cappella in both Navajo and English.

Navajo Rock Band Blackfire.Photo- newspaperock.

Navajo Rock Band Blackfire started nearly twenty years ago by three siblings, and is still popular. Photo: newspaperock.

Navajo Books

Code Talker- The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII By Chester Nez with JS Avila.

Warriors- Navajo Code Talkers [Paperback

Hosteen Klah- Navaho Medicine Man & Sand Painter By Franc Newcomb,

Songs From the Loom By Monty Roessel

There is no greater place than the land we know as Dine’tah. Our heritage is written in our clans, our ceremonies, and a collection of history that tells our past, yet our future in the bounty of prosperity.” ~President Ben Shelly~

Category: Education

The Beauty and Grace of the Buckskin Dance

Ladies Buckskin Dancing  By  Paul G Pow

O’siyo. The Women’s Buckskin Dance is one of the oldest forms of  Native dance. The dresses are finely crafted by hand  and requires  great skill. The dance itself is one of grace and poise.

-Northern Buckskin – 2005 Red Earth.


“ One of the oldest form of  Native American Women’s Dance is Buckskin. This is a dance of elegance and grace. The movement is smooth and flowing.

Southern Buckskin – 2008 Morongo

The ladies wear fine, hand-crafted buckskin dresses, decorated with intricate bead designs. Northern dresses are fully beaded on the shoulders, or cape. Southern ones, the beadwork is mainly used to accent. They are equally beautiful. The women carry fringed shawls over one arm.

Buckskin Gathering 2012

Much like the Men’s Traditional dance, there are many differences in the outfitting of this women’s style among the various Native American tribes. The jewelry is breath taking. Breastplates made from hair bone pipe, and glass beads can hang to the waist, or all the way to the ankles…Ladies’ Buckskin Dancing is slow, and poised. Circling the drum, they bob to the beat of the drum, letting the long fringe on their sleeves sway in time. They carry a beaded purse, swinging it as well, and a shawl, folded on the arm, swaying likewise.

These highly respected American Indianwomen dance in rhythm with the Drum by swaying and slightly bending at their knees. These movements are very slight.

Beautiful design closeup.

This slight movement, however, creates a beautiful effect in moving their leather fringe in a breezy swaying motion. Northern dresses usually have fully beaded yokes, while Southern dresses have appliqué beadwork.”

 Be sure to see this lovely dance if you have the opportunity!

Visit some of  the wonderful  posts from Talking Feather!

Teachers: Complete Lesson Plans with Answer Keys on the following US tribes: Apache, Blackfeet, Cherokee, Choctaw, Crow, Iroquois, Kwakiutl, Mohawk (read about the fascinating “Sky Walkers”)  Navajo, Shawnee, Sioux, and Zuni.

In addition there is TRIBALPEDIA a concise listing of tribes and their histories through today. Included are Discussion Questions for students.





Category: Culture

Site Map

Home Provides pointers to the complete lesson plans with Answer keys and articles from previous Talking Feather posts.

Current Post Provides a weekly update of the latest news articles featuring information on contemporary and historical issues about American Indians.The sources are current Indian newspapers, books, and original writings by American Indians.

Lesson Plans Provides complete Lesson plans with answer Keys for the Apache, Blackfeet, Cherokee, Choctaw, Crow, Iroquois, Kwakiutl, Mohawk (read about the fascinating Sky Walkers) Navajo, Shawnee, Sioux , Zuni.

Each lesson plan provides both  historical and cultural information.  In addition, numerous exercises are presented covering all of the material, including tasks for reading, group or class discussions, writing and research.

Native Art  Provides origninal  material provided  by American Indians from the past and present.

The Legend of  the Talking Feather Read the true story of how it all began.

WALK IN BEAUTY Prayer from the Navajo Feel the peace and Blessings from reading this wonderful prayer.

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Equinox: The First Native Super Heroine!

O’siyo. On April 23, 2014, DC Comics will introduce their first Native female superheroine. Equinox, (her real name is Miiyahbin)  is a  sixteen-year-old member of the Cree Nation, whose super powers are attached to the seasons. Created by Ontario writer Jeff Lemire, the character Equinox was inspired by a real Cree heroine, 15-year-old Shannen Koostachin. Shannen organized her fellow students to lobby the government for a new school in her community. Unfortunately Shannen passed away in 2010 in a car accident.

Native Superhero Equinox. Photo- Jeff Lemire. DC Comics.

Native Superhero Equinox. Photo- Jeff Lemire. DC Comics.

Equinox, new Cree teen superhero, joins DC Comics lineup. CBCNews


“Metropolis’s Superman and Gotham City’s Batman are getting a brand-new colleague from Canada this spring: a teenage Cree superhero hailing from Moose Factory, Ont. The isolated James Bay communities of Moose Factory and Moosonee take the spotlight in the forthcoming Justice League Canada, a five-issue story arc written by comic artist Jeff Lemire for the comic series Justice League United. The stories, featuring artwork by Mike McKone, debut in April. After earning widespread acclaim for his Essex County graphic novel trilogy — based on his rural upbringing in southwestern Ontario — Lemire and his poignant storytelling style piqued the attention of comic giant DC Entertainment.

You need very distinct voices for personalities on the team or else you just start writing the same character in a different costume. Multiple research trips north proved illuminating and rewarding for Lemire. He spent time in grade school classrooms…Moose Factory musician and comic fan Nathan Cheechoo, for instance, advised Lemire to take away all that stereotypical imagery and get down to basic principles in his depictions. I don’t walk around with beads and fringe and feathers and a loincloth. And that was something I wanted to bring to Jeff, he said. We want our stories shared, and if this is another way to share it, then I think mission accomplished, added Cheechoo, who said his own children are now reading comic books, too.

New DC Comics superhero inspired by young Cree activist

 Shannen Koostachin organized students to lobby the government to replace temporary buildings with a new school in her community. Columbia University.

Beautiful Shannen Koostachin organized students to lobby the government to replace temporary buildings with a new school in her community. Columbia University.

Jeff Lemire says Shannen Koostachin — a young Cree activist from Attawapiskat — helped inspire him. Lemire said the 15-year-old, who led fellow students to Parliament Hill to lobby for a proper school, isn’t far from his thoughts in drawing up the new superhero.

“I think if I can capture some of that heart and some of that essence in this character, perhaps she’ll almost be a guiding spirit in the creation of this character.” 

Kudos to Lemire for paying homage to the real Native heroine Shannen Koostachin.

“This project tells them we’re just as important as Superman, Clark Kent, Batman and all these people. That’s something I want [my kids] to share with friends.”~ Nathan Cheechoo~Cree musician and comic fan.


April is Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Awareness Month. In an ongoing effort to bring awareness of sexual violence against women and abuse against children, many organizations are participating in special events all this month.

Never Alone- Abuse Awareness & Support.

Never Alone- Abuse Awareness & Support.


“A battered woman is of beauty inside.
A battered woman has strength and courage that she chooses to hide.

A battered woman holds on till she can‘t hold on no more in hopes that there‘s still a her that will be able to hold.

A battered woman cries at night yet it‘s a cry she decides to hold inside. A battered woman sees a brighter future that no one else sees.
A battered woman possesses power that she doesn‘t know she has.
A battered woman has anger that only her kind can understand.

A battered woman wasn‘t born. A battered woman was formed.”

~Anita Bullock~Ohlone Tribe of California 

National Domestic Violence Hotline
Staffed 24 hours a day by trained counselors who can provide crisis assistance and information about shelters, legal advocacy, health care centers, and counseling.


Category: Native Comics

Beautiful Earrings To Aid Indian Cancer Foundation

O’siyo.  Navajo, Hopi, Santa Clara Pueblo artist Maria Bird, of  Mea B’flly Designs, has created the first limited edition Powwow for Hope earring entitled Braver.  The profits from this edition will go towards helping the American Indian Cancer Foundation. The artist uses a mix of bold colors and Native culture to create unique earrings.  Maria’s earrings go beyond beauty and serve a much deeper purpose.

Braver: Telling the story about the cancer experience in Indian country.

Excerpt Powwow for Hope Benefit Earring American Indian Cancer Foundation Native News Staff

“The American Indian Cancer Foundation has partnered with artist Maria Bird, of Mea B’flly Designs, to create the first limited edition Powwow for Hope earring. 

The benefit earring, titled “Braver,” launched for viewing at the National Reservation Economic Summit in Las Vegas last month and is now available for purchase online for $30 at the Mea B’fly Designs Etsy shop.

MaRia Bird (Mea B'Fly) and Andrea Preston (DreLynn Design). Photo- Beyond Buckskin.

MaRia Bird (Mea B’Fly) and Andrea Preston (DreLynn Design). Photo- Beyond Buckskin.

Simple Luv.

Simple Luv.

Simple Luv.


Sakura Mano (Cherry Blossom Girl).

“I hoped to capture, with all the ranges of color, that cancer affects everyone’s inner light in so many ways immediately you are full of anger and demanding understanding then it moves to calm notes of prayer for strength and giving thanks for each day given further more. 

Ride Hard or Die Tryin.

The floral designs are in the two top and bottom placements because Love comes from above and below during difficult times. 

Walk With Me.

Above could mean those looking down upon us to our mothers and grandmothers and below meaning our children and those who are unfortunately just finding out they have cancer.

Traditional Nites.

Flowers speak in a gentle but strong manner. It is also iconic that we come from the earth and will return to it again.”

You can find more information or support the cancer cause in Indian country by purchasing BRAVER online at the Mea B’fly Designs Etsy shop.

Note: Maria’s additional earring designs shown here can be found at Beyond Buckskin.

Kudos to Maria Bird and Mea B’fly Designs, the American Indian Cancer Foundation, and everyone who supports this worthy cause.

American Indian Cancer Foundation.

Category: Business