In Navajo (Navajo: Diné) culture, a skin-walker (yee naaldlooshii) is a type of harmful witch who has the ability to turn into an animal, or to disguise themselves as an animal, usually for the purposes of harming people.
In the Navajo language, yee naaldlooshii translates to "by means of it, [he or she] goes on all fours". While perhaps the most common variety seen in horror fiction by non-Navajo people, the yee naaldlooshii is one of several varieties of Navajo witch, specifically a type of ’ánti’įhnii. The legend of the skin-walkers is uncertain, mostly due to reluctance to discuss the subject with outsiders (in part because strangers may be witches themselves), thus people are led to draw their own conclusions from the stories they hear.
Navajo people are reluctant to reveal skinwalker lore to non-Navajos, or to discuss it at all among those they do not trust.
- Wall, Leon and William Morgan, Navajo-English Dictionary. Hippocrene Books, New York City, 1998 ISBN 0-7818-0247-4.
- Hampton, Carol M. "Book Review: Some Kind of Power: Navajo Children's Skinwalker Narratives" in Western Historical Quarterly. 01 July 1986. Accessed 17 Nov. 2016.
- Keene, Dr. Adrienne, "Magic in North America Part 1: Ugh." at Native Appropriations, 8 March 2016. Accessed 9 April 2016. "What happens when Rowling pulls this in, is we as Native people are now opened up to a barrage of questions about these beliefs and traditions…but these are not things that need or should be discussed by outsiders. At all. I'm sorry if that seems 'unfair,' but that's how our cultures survive."
- Brady, Margaret (1984). "Some Kind of Power": Navajo children's skinwalker narratives. University of Utah Press.
- Morgan, William (1936). "Human-Wolves among the Navaho". Yale University Publications in Anthropology. 11.
- Salzman, Michael (October 1990). "The Construction of an Intercultural Sensitizer Training Non-Navajo Personnel". Journal of American Indian Education. 30 (1): 25–36.