Navajo Yeibechai Dancers


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Josef Muench Unknown inn809p.jpg IN-N-809 Color 1504.0809.0000 inn809p Postcard 3x5 Historic Photographs 1960s Reproduction requires permission. Digital images property of SHM Library & Archives

Description

On back of postcard: "Yeibechai Dancers and Monument Valley. These gay figures, taken from the nearby Navajo Tribal Parks Observatory for the picture, represent the most sacred of the tribe's dances and have been performed in this region for hundreds of years. On the Arizona-Utah border."

The Yei (meaning Holy People) are supernatural beings who created the Navajo people and taught them how to live in harmony with the universe.

In the Yeibechai dance, the Yei are represented by masked men. Nine days and nights of ritual are required for the Yeibechai Dance. Because of the expense of feeding a large number of people for nine days, these dances are rarely performed. However, in the event of some disaster or illness which cannot be otherwise treated, there is no alternative.

(Source: James F. Downs, The Navajo, Waveland Press, 1984)

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