Navajo: Sacred & Profane

300,000 • non-dogmatic • theistic • non-proselytizing

Lesson Objectives

• Define Key Terms

• Appreciate the relationship between the Navajo and their Homeland

• Recognize how problematic it is to call Navajo thought a "religion"

• Appreciate the relationship between Hocho and Hozho

• Recognize the different ways of medicine for ones-sung-over

• Appreciate how the Navajo's relationship with American religion evolved

Key Terms




Diyin Dine'é

Inner Form


Changing Woman

Pueblo Revolt


Native American Church

Review: Sacred & Profane

The Beginning of Culture

• Humans take the "rawness" of the wild and make choices

• Cooked food represents human activities and choices

     • This network of activity and choice is called culture

          • A culture, like that of the Navajo, is represented through symbols

Symbolic Meaning: the Sacred & Profane

• When humans interpret the world, we imbue it with symbolic meaning

Profane: most objects have little meaning to us. Like a pencil or a nickel.

Sacred: some objects will be set apart for their special meaning to us

Sacred: Totem & Taboo

     Totems: those sacred objects which signify "good"

     Taboos: those sacred objects which signiy "evil"