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date: 14 August 2020

Ts′its′ǫ́ǫ́s [‘atsázooł cisǫ́•s]locked

  • David P. McAllester
  • , revised by Charlotte J. Frisbie
  •  and J. Richard Haefer


[‘atsázooł cisǫ́•s]

Whistle used to represent bird calls in ceremonies of the Diné (Navajo) people of the southwestern USA. It is made from a reed stalk or the femur of an eagle and is about 15 cm long. A notch is cut into the upper side of the tube about 3 cm from the top. The tube is blocked at the notch with pitch and a rolled section of corn husk is placed over the opening to direct the air into the lower section. Some sources say the distal end is closed with pitch, but more often the whistle is played with the distal end underwater so that bird-like trills are produced. In the Shootingway ceremony, songs of the last four days are accompanied by the whistle with a beaver- or otter-skin collar attached to it, together with a basket drum (ts’aa’ náhideesh ghał). The whistle is also used in Lightningway, Mountainway, and Nightway ceremonies and those of the Native American Church....

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