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date: 27 January 2020


  • David P. McAllester
  • , revised by J. Richard Haefer


Term used by the Navajo of the southwestern USA for various rattles. It can also denote the decorated stick carried in the Enemyway ceremony, representing the power of Changing Woman and Enemy Slayer. ‘Aghááł nímaazígíí is the name for a wild gourd rattle, ndilkal ‘aghááł that for the Peyote rattle, which is made from a small wild gourd. The ‘adee ‘aghááł vessel rattle is made from a bottle gourd about 16 cm tall, with a wooden handle (usually of cottonwood root) attached through the open end. The gourd is normally painted in ritual designs and may have a small eagle plume attached to the end of the handle that protrudes through the blossom end of the gourd. The feather represents rain clouds and the power of the eagle; the gourd itself connotes plant growth and fertility. The rattle is carried in the yeibichai (‘grandfathers of the gods’) dance of the Nightway ceremony. Masked and painted dancers, the ...

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