Navajo Clans

Clan Connect


Kinship, or K’éí, among the Navajo People, is an important part of the culture that has its foundation in the stories of the creation of the Navajo People. Changing Woman, Asdzáá nádleehe, who created the first four men and women, sent them from Huerfano Mesa to make their home in the lands between the Four Sacred Mountains and gave each a staff made from a different material. In their trek across the desert each dug for water with their staff: The one with the staff made of Abalone Shell dug up bitter water, and thus the clan came to be known as Bitter Water Clan (Tódích’íí’níí); the one with the staff made of White Shell dug up salty water, thus the clan came to be known as Salt Water Clan (Tódik’izhí); the one with the staff made of Black Obsidian dug up muddy water, thus the clan came to be known as the Mud Clan (Hashtl’ishnií); and the staff made of Turquoise dug up clear water, thus the clan came to be known as Near Water Clan (Tó’áhaní).

From there, the clans continued to walk and encountered other groups of people. They would call out to each other: “Who are you and where do you come from?” This way of introduction is the beginning of the Navajo People introducing themselves by clan. As those new groups joined with the Navajo People, either through peaceful coexistence or warfare, and married into the Navajo Clans, they were given names that became their Navajo clan names. For example, the Ute Indians, Nóóda’í people, were brought into the Navajo society by marriage and began the Nóóda’í dine’é, or Ute Clan.

All Navajos are known by their four clans – they are born of their mother’s clan, and born for their father’s clan, and then announce their maternal grandmother’s clan and their paternal grandfather’s clan. In this manner, the People establish kinship among the people they meet.

Here’s the proper way of introducing yourself in Diné bizaad, the Navajo language. Simply insert your name in the top line and your four clans as indicated:

 Yá’átééh. Shi éí _____[name] yinishyé.
________[Mother’s clan] nishļí;
________[Father’s clan] bá shíshchíín;
________[Maternal Grandfather’s] dashicheii;
________[Paternal Grandfather’s] dashinálí.

The Navajo Clans

Navajo Name Meaning
Tódich’ii’nii Bitter Water Clan
Tódik’ozhi Salt Water Clan
Hashtl’ishnii Mud Clan
Tó’ahani Near the Water Clan
Tó baazhni’azhi Two Who Came to the Water Clan
Tótsohnii Big Water Clan
Tachii’nií Red Running into Water People Clan
Tabaaha Water’s Edge Clan
To’aheedliinií Water Flow Together Clan
Kinyaa’aanií Towering House Clan
Dzil t’aadi Near the Mountain Clan
‘Azee’tsoh dine’é Big Medicine People Clan
Tazhii dine’e Turkey People Clan
Halgai dine’é People of the Valley Clan
Shash dine’é Bear People Clan
Naadaa’ dine’é Corn People Clan
Honaghaahnií One-Walks-Wround Clan
Ta’neeszahnií Tangle (Brambles) Clan
Hashk’aa hadzohi Yucca Fruit-Strung-Out-In-A-Line Clan
Nihoobaanií Gray Streaked-Ends Clan
Ts’ah yisk’idnií Sage Brush Hill Clan
Dziltl’ahnií Mountain Cove Clan
Dzil na’oodilnii Turning Mountain People Clan
Tseikeehee Two Rocks-Sit Clan
Tsin sikaadnií Clamp Tree Clan
Yoo’o dine’é Bead People Clan
Biih bitoodnií Deer Springs Clan
Biih yaazh dine’é Little Deer People Clan
K’aa’ dine’é Arrow People Clan
K’aahanaanií Living Arrow Clan
Yoo’o dine’é Bead People of Bitter Water Clan
Hooghan lani Many Hogans Clan
Dzaaneez lani Many Mules Clan
Tse deeshgizhnii Rock Gap Clan
Lok’aa’dine’e Reed People Clan
Bit’ahnii Within His Cover Clan
Haltsooi Meadow People Clan
Nat’oh dine’é Tobacco People Clan
Yé’ii dine’é Giant People Clan
Biih dine’é Tachii’nií Deer People of the Red Running into Water Clan
Gah dine’é Tachii’nií Rabbit People of the Red Running into Water Clan
Naaneesht’ezhi tachii’nií Charcoal Streaked Division of the Red Running into Water Clan
Dibé lizhinií Black Sheep Clan
Kin litsonií Yellow House People Clan
‘Ashiihí Salt People Clan
Deeshchii’nií Red House Clan
Tl’izi lani Many Goats Clan
Tsenabahitnii Sleep Rock People Clan
T’iisch’ebaanií Gray Cottonwood Extending Out Clan
‘Ats’oos dine’e Feather People Clan
Biih tsoh dine’é Big Deer People Clan
Jaa’yaaloolií Sticking Up Ears People Clan
Naaket l’ahi Flat Foot People (Pima) Clan
Naashaashi Bear Enemies (Tewa) Clan
Naakai dine’é The Wandering People, or Mexican Clan
Nóóda’í dine’é The Ute Clan
Keha’atiinií The Foot Trails People Clan
Tsi’naajinií Black Streak Wood People Clan
Tl’aashchi’í The Red Bottom People Clan
Ma’ii deeshgiizhinií Coyote Pass (Jemez) Clan
Nóóda’í dine’é Tachii’nií Ute People Division of the Red Running into Water Clan
Doliil dine’é Blue Bird People Clan
Tl’ogi Hairy Ones or Weaver (Zia) Clan
Naasht’ezhi dine’é Zuni Clan
Kin lichii’nií Red House People Clan
Tsenjikini Honey Combed Rock People or the cliff Dwellers People Clan
Naashgali dine’é The Mescalero Apache Clan
Naayizi diné’ Squash People Clan
Sei bee hoghanií Sand Hogan People Clan
To’azolí Light Water People Clan
Tsin yee na’alo’ií Tree Stretcher Clan