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---- Wednesday - July 23, 2014 - 8:17:30 PM - Navajo Nation Time ----

El Huerfano Mesa
(Dzil Na'oodilii - Holy People (Navajo Deities) Encircling Mountain)

El Huerfano is a large isolated sandstone semi-circular mesa lying in the flatlands of north-western New Mexico in the four-corners area, and is at an elevation of 7470 feet above sea level. Dzil Na'oodilii lies about 25 miles south of the town of Bloomfield, New Mexico. Two small trading posts, called Huerfano Trading Post and Blanco Trading Post, lie about 1 mile and 3 miles south west of it. The mesa lies only about 2 miles from the New Mexico State Highway 44 connecting Bloomfield and Cuba, New Mexico and appears L-shaped driving from Bloomfield toward it. It is also about 25 miles south-south-west of Gobernador Knob, about 40 miles north of Chaco Canyon National Park, and about 80 south-east of Mesa Verde National Park. Dzil Na'oodilii School and Brethern in Christ Mission are about 4 miles south of Dzil Na'oodilii on New Mexico State Highway 44. Huerfano Chapter House and Huerfano School are located at a very small and isolated town called Carson, about 10 miles northwest of Dzil Na'oodilii on Indian Route 44. De-Na-Zin and Bisti Wilderness Area are located about 7 and 20 miles respectively, southwest of Dzil Na'oodilii, requiring one to go on a dirt road to get there.

"Dzil Na'oodilii" is also referred to as "El Huerfano" (Spanish) or Huerfano Mountain (English). This mountain is actually a Mesa, which means, a mountain that is flat or level on top, looking somewhat like a table. The English equivalence for the Spanish word "Mesa" is "Table".

This steep walled mesa dominates four-corners New Mexico south of the San Juan River for about 40 miles, and can be seen atop Shiprock Peak and the Chuska Mountains about 50 to 60 miles to the west. Navajos frown upon efforts to climb it and only their medicine men dare to climb to the top. The ruins of 2 old trading posts are to be found in the bad lands lying immediately to the south of the mesa.

Dzil Na'oodilii is one of the sacred mountains of the Navajos, and is said to be suspended from the sky with sunbeams. This is where Changing Woman (Asdzaa Nadleehe ) received her puberty, gave birth to her warrior twins, and lived in the first hogan. Dzil Na'oodilii's shape is identified with the perpendicular sides and round roof of the 6 or 8 sided hogan. Navajo mythology says that the 2nd ceremony was performed on earth after Changing Woman had her first and second menstral periods of flow, and where the hogan was consecrated with the Leaders' House Songs (12 of them with the help of Coyote), and where her warrior twins would leave to kill (cleanse the earth of) the Monsters.

Dzil Na'oodilii is considered to be the "lungs" of Navajo country. It is also the home of Yódí'ashkii (Goods of Value Boy), and Yódí’at’ééd (Goods of Value Girl), and one of the homes of 'Altsé Hastiin (First Man), and 'Altsé 'Asdzáá (First Woman). In the beginning DzilNa'oodilii was decorated with pollen, rugs, hides, cloth, and Male Rain for the coming of a special child (Changing Woman).

After Changing Woman's initiation to womanhood was complete, the form of the Navajo girls' ceremony (Kinaaldá) was established at Dzil Ná'oodilii for all time. Traditional Navajo families hold this same ceremonial celebration for a girl's 1st and 2nd menses today. The usual practice is to consecrate the hogan with the Leaders' hogan songs for the 1st, and Talking God's hogan songs for the 2nd. There is a story that Coyote, who had attended the puberty ceremony uninvited, objected to Talking God's plan to sing only 4 house songs. Coyote said, "Now there on the east side Talking God had set 12 white tail-feathers in a row, at the south side he set 12 turquoise tail-feathers, at the west side he had set 12 abalone shell tail-feather figures, at the north side he had set 12 jet tail-feathers figures in a row." Coyote pointed out that the inner forms of the 4 sacred mountains of the 4 cardinal directions also had the same number of tail feathers and said that these powerful deities already knew that there should likewise be 12 songs. So it was decided that there should be 12 songs in Talking God's set of house songs.

According to Navajo mythology, the Navajos have a story of the birth of a Divine Being that is analogous to the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem. As the story is told, a baby laid crying in a cradle made of 2 short rainbows at Ch'oolii'. 'Altsé Hastiin found the baby and took the baby back to DzilNa'oodilii to 'Altsé 'Asdzáá, telling her that he had found the baby in the rain and darkness. Haashch'eelti'i (Talking God) approached them and he clapped his hands over his mouth saying that something important had happened, for the baby was what the Holy People had been wishing for. The baby was the daughter of Ya dil hil (Father Sky) and Nahasdzaan (Mother Earth). Days passed which were the same as years, and when 2 days had passed, the baby sat up, and in 4 days she walked. She was then dressed in Yoolgai (White Shell). She was named Yoolgai Asdzaa (White Shell Woman), also referred to as Asdzaa Nadleehe (Changing Woman). She was raised by the Holy People to become the most important of beings for she symbolizes fertility and regeneration, as our mothers and grandmothers do today.

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URL: http://www.lapahie.com /Huerfano_Mountain.cfm
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Dated Created: 08/27/2001
Version: 2.0
Updated: 12/09/2004
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