You must log in or register to comment.

istalri96 t1_j5vwfcx wrote

For some reason I read this as if she was the first Navajo to become leader. I was confused like then who has been in charge?


sableJR t1_j5vy9fy wrote

for real my first interpretation was that a white guy was running the navajo til now


7FukYalls t1_j5w2f1n wrote

They kinda have been considering that Native reservations exist... And you know, the USA.


Cannibeans t1_j5warf8 wrote

Huh? Native Reservations are the exact reason it wouldn't make sense for a white dude to be running it. They're sovereign nations


DontBeHumanTrash t1_j5wbzl1 wrote

Only when its convenient to our government.


beardicusmaximus8 t1_j5wz23i wrote

Its a sovereign nation! Unless we find gold, oil or uranium.


HarlesD t1_j5x9vjy wrote

Let's be real they'd take land away if they needed a place to shit.


Road_Whorrior t1_j5yrqrg wrote

They stole the land near where I grew up to use for a Japanese internment camp despite the tribe the land belonged to specifically telling them they would have no part in genociding another group the way they were genocided. The government originally "asked" to use the land, and when that was refused, they did it anyway.


Terpomo11 t1_j5xw1cj wrote

The Onondaga seem to have negotiated a certain amount of independence for themselves. For example, I live close to Onondaga land and I've heard that apparently in like the 70s some guy who was wanted by the government fled into Onondaga territory and the Onondaga refused to turn him over to the US government.


Silent_Ensemble t1_j5z2adp wrote

A lot has changed in 50 years, I’m willing to bet it’d go down very differently today


wostil-poced1649 t1_j5whswy wrote

In what way?


BrockManstrong t1_j5wsva5 wrote

Here's a list of cases where the tribal authorities had to sue the US government, beginning in 1940:

Failure of the The Government to protect Indians on tribal lands:

The Government asserts it's sole right to prosecute crimes committed against Indians by non-Indians on reservations:

State crimes are automatically Federal crimes on reservations:

A summation of American history with regards to removing the indigenous population:

A US Government Accountability Office report on how the US is currently failing the people it sequestered on reservations:


tegs_terry t1_j5yvsd4 wrote

And any council leaders corrupt enough to get into bed with them.


BlackjackCF t1_j5wzhwx wrote

It’s really telling of the US’s track record with First Nationa people that that’s the first conclusion a lot of us leapt to.


joebewaan t1_j5xcass wrote

Yeah when I read this in the feed I assumed it was a /r/NotTheOnion post


LuxNocte t1_j5xdpda wrote

Kinda says a lot about you as well.


BlackjackCF t1_j5xr81c wrote

That I want America to do better? Yes.


LuxNocte t1_j5ylccs wrote

shrug You can't blame society as a whole for your own mental state. If your first thought was that the Navajo nation was run by a white guy, maybe that is a good time for some introspection.

We all have implicit biases. It shouldn't be so difficult to admit that we all can improve. Externalizing mistakes means that you will repeat them.


BunchaCreeps t1_j60dvvy wrote

My guy, it’s because historically white america has taken upon itself to speak for non-white America. Learn the history


LuxNocte t1_j60xmhx wrote

There are excellent reasons that you may expect to see white faces in positions of power. That doesn't mean that it is not problematic to expect to see white faces in positions of power.


BunchaCreeps t1_j614jws wrote

Ok, no one is saying it’s not problematic. The reason people are taking issue with you is because you think it’s problematic on the people who’ve noticed the pattern rather than the people who created and have consistently maintained that pattern


GrabMyCactus t1_j5wkrh8 wrote

I read it as the First Navajo woman, (no Navajo women existed before?) became speaker.


bobbery5 t1_j5wn3d8 wrote

Once every millenia, there is a woman.


ThatSmallFighter t1_j5xlg3g wrote

Like some demigod with eternal life that has outlived all other Navajo women.


princesoceronte t1_j5wesir wrote

I read it as if she were the first Navajo woman. For a second I thought: "How did it take this long?"

I'm a freaking idiot.


totally_not_a_thing t1_j5w93hf wrote

My read was a version of that. I wondered what other women were in charge before her...


Standardly t1_j5wg8o5 wrote

I thought perhaps she was the first Navajo woman? I didn't recall it being a men-only tribe prior


scarfox1 t1_j5wlnqh wrote

Oh I read it as first time a Navajo led the Navajos. I was like it was white people before? I guess that's why it's uplifting


3percentinvisible t1_j5xsxy3 wrote

I read it as she was the first navajo woman, which really led to other questions


G0dofNothing t1_j5vl373 wrote

Man good for her. I can’t believe the first Navajo woman is still alive.


True_Kapernicus t1_j5vn23p wrote

I don't know how they publish that thinking that it is a good headline.


thedude_imbibes t1_j5woq00 wrote

Like wow, she's really hanging in there, good for her lol. I bet she's got some stories huh


smegdawg t1_j5ym3nl wrote

I can't believe they had non Navajo Women as speaker for the house of the Navajo Nation Council.


UnicornOnTheJayneCob t1_j5w69uv wrote

They likely avoided saying “First Woman” as First Woman is a very important figure in our (Navajo/Diné) creation mythology.


cheese_sticks t1_j5x4hwc wrote

Can be reworded as "Navajo Nation Council selects first female speaker"


UnicornOnTheJayneCob t1_j5x9x7y wrote

In other families/clans it might be different, but given the Navajo conception of gender as I was taught it, it would be somewhat unusual to refer to solely a woman’s physical body in that way.

It isn’t that it is private per se, or inconsequential, it just doesn’t give the full picture or convey what is significant about this story. The new speaker is not “just” female. She is specifically a woman (asdzáán). That is, she is a female-bodied person with a feminine spirit who assumes the feminine gender role in society and in her relationships with others.

(Navajo society traditionally has about five genders, of which Woman is the primary.)

Does that make any sense?


QuestioningEspecialy t1_j5xhz4g wrote

Yeah, that does actually (surprisingly). How did woman become the primary gender, and what are the other 4? o.o


UnicornOnTheJayneCob t1_j5yiby5 wrote

In Navajo culture as I was taught to understand it by my family, we are all spiritual people housed in physical forms. Our spirit and our relationships are who we “are.” It is part of why a Diné will introduce themselves with the names of the clans of their parents/grandparents when first meeting someone: it establishes their relationships and where they sit in the world.

When we introduce ourselves like this, we lead with our mother’s clans, as the Diné are matrilineal. That’s why woman is the primary gender. Traditional Navajo society is also matriarchal and matrilocal. That is, men leave their mothers’ home and relocate to their wife’s home when they marry, and children “belong” to their mother’s family. So, if you are Navajo, your cousins on your mother’s side are closer to you than your cousins on your father’s side, something a little closer to siblings. Property is also inherited through the mother’s line.

The genders are:

  1. Asdzáán - Woman - as above. To put it in modern terms, a straight cis-gender woman.
  2. Hastiin - Man - male-bodied, masculine-spirited person that fulfills the masculine gender role in Navajo society and in his relationships with others. Straight cis-gender man.
  3. Dilbaa - Female-bodied person with a masculine spirit who fulfills the masculine role in society and in relationships with others. The closest but-not-quite-right analogues in modern society would be a butch lesbian or a FTM transgender person who is attracted to women.
  4. Náhleeh - Male-bodied person with a feminine spirit who assumes the feminine role in society and in relationships. Closest analogues: effeminate gay man or MTF transgender person attracted to men.
  5. Nádleehi - Person of indeterminate physical gender, or of either physical gender, who can switch back and forth between being fully masculine and fully feminine and can fulfill either role in society. We don’t really have a good modern analogue for this - closest would be an intersex person. They are perceived as literally embodying two spirits: a masculine one, and a feminine one, which is what enables them to switch.

Sometimes this last one is broken down even further into relevant subtypes: a person with a male body who changes, a person with a female body who changes, and an androgynous person who switches/changes. That’s why sometimes people say that Navajo culture has “at least five” genders.

As a side note, that could also be a reason why the author didn’t put something like “Navajo council speaker to be woman for first time”, as some people have suggested. It wouldn’t be wholly out of the ordinary for a person in this last category who had been acting according to their masculine spirit until now to “be a woman for the first time” if it were the first time they were fully embodying their feminine spirit. I mean, it would still be a weird headline, and not exactly newsworthy, and it is really, REALLY much more likely that it is just poorly written, but it is just this side of possible that it was a deliberate choice (probably not!)


redrightreturning t1_j5yod3j wrote

Thank you for taking the time to write this out and teach us a bit more about your culture.


UnicornOnTheJayneCob t1_j5yz1xd wrote

u/_Gandalf_the_Ghey_ I can totally understand why that people might think that it was retconned and not traditional, but in this specific case it doesn't happen to be that way. I would honestly say that it is more like people are now re-embracing the mythology after a multi-decade period of rejection of it because of assimilation into mainstream American culture. You will definitely see some elders shunning people who identify as something other than "man" or "woman", especially if they are not fulfilling very traditional gender roles otherwise.

The genders like this have been recorded by non-native authors as early as the 1800s and is a part of the Diné creation myth that has been told for thousands of years! Plus, it isn't really a precise fit for modern western conceptions of gender - or especially of sexuality. For example, in traditional Navajo society (at least as I was taught, again), it is not acceptable to be a masculine gay man. If you are a person who forms romantic/sexual relationships with men, it is only okay if you are otherwise fulfilling a strict feminine role in Navajo society, and that is definitely out of step with modern American sensibilities of sexuality.

Plus Navajo hair is pretty difficult to dye blue in my experience. =P


ThereRNoFkingNmsleft t1_j5za9f5 wrote

I'm a bit surprised that this is the first time that woman becomes speaker, given that it's traditionally matriarchal society. Do you know the context why it has not been a woman so far?


UnicornOnTheJayneCob t1_j615bi0 wrote

Ah, called out! Confession: I actually don’t think it really is a true matriarchy, or ever has been. In reality, it is matrilineal, Matrilocal, and matrifocal but not actually matriarchal. The clan chiefs have always been men, though the clan system itself and inheritance is all matrilineal, which made it the social system somewhat balanced. But when Europeans came, they were subject to their own biases about gender roles, and therefore dealt solely with the chiefs, reinforcing their leadership. In my opinion, it stuck even as other traditions faded.

Also, the council in anything approaching this form has only existed for 100 years. Women first stated joining it, though not as speaker, within the first 20 years of its inception. The tribal presidency has only existed since the 1980s, and the current Vice President is a woman. I think that between those things, it really makes sense that these are new things.

If you asked my grandmother though, she would laugh at you and ask why women would need to have roles like that when they are so busy running everything anyway?


ThereRNoFkingNmsleft t1_j618k3n wrote

Interesting, thanks for the answer. I guess whether it's matriarchial or no then depends on the power that the chiefs hold.


rhodopensis t1_j5xs15w wrote

I mean, the same could just be reworded then, no? Maybe “First-Ever Woman Speaker” to avoid the phrase “First Woman” and the use of female.


traye4 t1_j5yo4xc wrote

While an accurate representation of events, that changes the emphasis of the story. Instead of remarking on the achievement of the speaker it remarks on the actions of the council.


SmellyGoat11 t1_j5wcgd9 wrote

Neat, where can I learn more--- or would you be kind enough to take the time to give me the lowdown?


idiotcontrolnow112 t1_j5wcx3f wrote

I’ve learned a lot from r/IndianCountry


QuestioningEspecialy t1_j5xhs3g wrote

...How are the mods? If I'm gonna get burned, let me know now so I can have the cream ready.


UnicornOnTheJayneCob t1_j5ylopk wrote

Good question! It is really long, like explaining the Old Testament or something like that. But First Woman is basically the mother goddess-equivalent mixed with an Eve-equivalent. She and First Man came to be in the First World as spiritual beings, gained consciousness, and brought the People to this world (the fourth or fifth world, where we are now). After lots of other stuff that happened, they formed the sun and moon and land and stars, and formed themselves bodies to inhabit and became humans.

The creation myth is called the Diné Bahane, if you want to look it up! Also, Wally Brown, a Navajo historian, has some slightly long winded but highly informative videos about it on YT. My favorite source about Navajo culture in general (though not necessarily about mythology) on YT though is Navajo Grandma. She talks a little bit about the origins of the people here, mostly starting with Changing Woman.


Kazzack t1_j5x3dhm wrote

"Woman becomes speaker for Navajo Nation Council for the first time"


Mayor__Defacto t1_j5xfa31 wrote

Could have used something like “In a first, a Navajo Woman was selected to be Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council”


TheWorstMasterChief t1_j5vzsm4 wrote

First Navajo woman? How old is she?!?!?


SWlikeme t1_j5w4ibh wrote

Not that old. It’s just been dudes until she came along. It’s weird…


zimtrovert94 t1_j5wg7ub wrote

That title needs some serious work.

Congrats to her, though.


poopmeister1994 t1_j5zrjlr wrote

Congrats to the Navajo for finally having a woman. Must have been a struggle before, popping out of the ground or being made out of clay or whatever


HappyHighwayman t1_j5w3jr3 wrote

Were women not allowed prior to her?


jimboshrimp97 t1_j5x63r8 wrote

It just never happened tbh

Not like there was a campaign for this either as a good chunk of the folks I know on the rez are a bit apathetic to the tribal government (that changed a bit with covid of course). Would not surprise me if this is the first time some have heard of the role, though I'm sure folks were made aware when the last speaker got into a scandal. Nice that this has happened and it's great to see more of the younger gens take note on the tribal government and hopefully reform it for the better.


kirksucks t1_j5vydcp wrote

r/nottheonion ?


name_first_name_last t1_j5w3535 wrote

Not the first Navajo, the first woman. The title is dogshit.


Table100 t1_j5wi1um wrote

according to other people in this thread and google, ‘first woman’ is a very important figure in navajo mythology, so they were probably trying to avoid being confusing/offensive


half3clipse t1_j5wniei wrote

It's also just headlinese, attempting to compress important information into a compact headline.

And it's perfectly fine and understandable. Headline conventions do present some syntactic ambiguity at some point, but this is entirely understandable if the reader applies even a fraction of common sense, let alone one that reads the article under the headline.

On an ambiguity scale of 1 to crash blossoms, this is a 3 at most.


winter457 t1_j5w2kiw wrote

Looks great for her age, being the first Navajo woman ever


7FukYalls t1_j5w2iyl wrote

Very happy news! Incredibly proud of her and her people to bring better services and options to first nation tribes.

Also, apparently people can't read in these comments ffs


-y-y-y- t1_j5wafhd wrote

No, it's a very poorly written title. Someone suggests elsewhere in the comments that the awkwardness is to avoid the phrase "First Woman", as it is apparently a term of significance in Diné culture, but "New Navajo Nations Council speaker to be woman for first time" would have been the appropriate way to phrase it in this case. The way it was written is moderately to severely fucked up grammatically. That being said, this is amazing news! Just painful journalism.


half3clipse t1_j5wp0hs wrote

Headline conventions accept syntactic ambiguity in favor of information density, on the assumption the reader is both 1: willing to not be deliberately obtuse and 2: if interested can read the entire following article which will explain the issue/event/etc in greater detail.

This is not new, and has been a telegraphic style was the convention long long before anyone in this thread was born. It's been how headlines have worked your entire life. If you read this title and don't easily grasp what they're talking about, that's pretty much on you.

>New Navajo Nations Council speaker to be woman for first time

That's still ambiguous anyways: It reads as if the new Navajo Nations Council speaker has just now decided to be a woman for the first time.


damnitineedaname t1_j5x8xq7 wrote


Navaho Nations Council Elect First Female Speaker

Clear, concise, and shorter than the current title.


UnicornOnTheJayneCob t1_j5xgfcq wrote

I explained this in another comment, but because of the Navajo conception of gender, saying it like that wouldn’t actually be whole or complete! To a Diné reader, it might even be LESS clear.

You can, for example, be female but not a woman. (You can be a masculine-spirited person with a female body, or a person with a female body whose spirit switches between masculine and feminine. Neither are termed “women”, and have their own gender names).

Traditionally, women do not become clan chiefs, though they participate in tribal leadership in other ways. So a role like this is significant for a person who plays a traditional feminine role among the people.


rokhana t1_j5xjh0e wrote

I was under the impression that Náhleeh and Dilbaa simply meant feminine man and masculine woman respectively, men and women who are gender-nonconforming. Is this incorrect?


UnicornOnTheJayneCob t1_j5ypeq2 wrote

I am not an elder or anything, but from what I was taught, it isn’t incorrect, but also it is sort of a shorthand, you know? Putting it that way is just a really good way of simplifying it at all without having to go into the whole structure of traditional society and myth, the different gender roles and the somewhat thorny issue of sexuality, how it all interacts with colonization/history, etc.


want_to_join t1_j5wjmt3 wrote

Headlines: "Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon..."

Reddit: "Uhhh, AHKTUALLYYYYYY....."


ImagineTheCommotion t1_j5wpq8e wrote

I’d bet that most of the Redditers who talk shit about this article’s title regularly freak out whenever someone tries to correct their grammar (or spelling)


mikeymxracer t1_j5x58gr wrote

That’s Crystalyne. She’s the daughter of my great-grandmother’s sister. (Thanks for that confusing fact, Mom)


nowhereman136 t1_j5xurzc wrote

Funfact: in 1928, Charles Curtis was elected Vice President under Herbert Hoover. Curtis was 3/8th Native American and a member of the Kaw Nation. He was the first vice president to acknowledge non-european ancestry and the only one until the current VP, Kamala Harris, became the second.


BreakfastGrenade t1_j5yjjo6 wrote

First Navajo woman? what is she, like five, ten thousand years old?


hapiidadii t1_j5wnfur wrote

Wait, if she is the first Navajo woman, then where did all the other Navajo come from?

ETA: sorry, looks like about 800 people already beat me to the same dumb dad joke. In seriousness, I'm glad Navajo women are making their voices heard.


UnicornOnTheJayneCob t1_j5xi6jp wrote

Interesting that you should “ask.” First Woman, though not this specific first woman, was at first solely a spiritual being. She and First Man sort of made themselves bodies and then made themselves human.


treydestepheno t1_j5wxgqr wrote

oh man, wonder what Kevin Costner's move is gonna be this time...


ax_colleen t1_j5x7kbi wrote

I wish Native Americans are ruling this country to be honest


Even_Set t1_j5xbln4 wrote

i think that can brink on the side of racial fetishism. Not that you're ever going to sexualize them, but seeing one race as "royalty" might turn some heads.

Its great that you respect them, as we all should, but might want to rephrase your statement.


ax_colleen t1_j5xbu7i wrote

I don't take the royalty statement too seriously if that makes sense.


Even_Set t1_j5xc30y wrote

Yeah I feel you and I figured. I just think that's more of a "keep in my head" thing, and instead just showing a great appreciation might come across a little smoother.

Sorry if this is coming across rude, i just don't want to see you end up being flamed for describing your thoughts elsewhere.


ax_colleen t1_j5xmfvu wrote

You're right, and I appreciate sharing your thoughts. I should be more careful with cultural context. Thank you.


The_OtherHalf t1_j5xoyoa wrote

Navajo politics in the past… 😬 I’ve never been bothered to look into it but I know it’s been rife with some corruption most notably embezzlement. Now I feel a lot of this new blood has been decent but I just couldn’t say because obviously I know nothing. With what opinions you hold, they’ve been pretty strict with COVID restrictions but that may be due to a pretty morbid start for the Navajo nation in the beginning stage. Also, it’s a dry Nation and I’ve never been fond of that kind of governance. :( …I don’t know about other tribes either but I’m just speaking from experience. Sorry I’m high but what I’m saying is as a Navajo person myself I don’t want them ruling the country no thank you 🤣 let’s please just leave it to educated people which would totally include Native Americans by golly I’ve met some incredible NA college graduates.


the_zachmamba t1_j5x82vi wrote

About time there is a Navajo woman!


goliathfasa t1_j5xif6f wrote

Before her the speakers were all oddly white women.


AutoModerator t1_j5v7n1c wrote

Reminder: this subreddit is meant to be a place free of excessive cynicism, negativity and bitterness. Toxic attitudes are not welcome here.

All Negative comments will be removed and will possibly result in a ban.

I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.


13yearsofage t1_j5werjd wrote

Fighting crime in her Navajo car, using her Navajor-rang. Alert her with the Navajo signal


QuestioningEspecialy t1_j5xaob3 wrote

Is this one of their "signs of the endtimes" or was it a female president? 🤔 Either way, cool. Bring on the reign!~ 🙌🏾


Hoitaa t1_j5xb5iw wrote

That title is all the more reason to use her damned name.


santichrist t1_j5xcsgk wrote

There were definitely other Navajo women to exist first


Alternative_Art8223 t1_j5yc1rc wrote

Glad these comments cleared up that some white guy wasn’t in charge. I though oh wow.. I’m proud but how…? Lol


Passing4human t1_j5yek0k wrote

Is there a Navajo language version of the Navajo Times?


turnip-taker t1_j5zf761 wrote

Wait, what? I mean I would hope so—OHHhhhhhh


Night_Runner t1_j5zhgx7 wrote

Congratulations to the Navajos for having their first woman ever! (Crappy editors are crappy.)


AvocadoInTheRain t1_j5zso53 wrote

specifying navajo woman makes it sound like there have been non-navajo women speakers of the navajo nation council.


oRiskyB t1_j5ymb5m wrote

She is like the character from Horizon but instead of climbing trees she climbs cakes


ketchupthree t1_j5wxe41 wrote

She must be old as shit.


Generallyawkward1 t1_j5xe3fb wrote

Wait. So before, there were ZERO Navajo on the Navajo council? A bunch of white men and women?


Thatswhatthatdoes t1_j5yf0ea wrote

Nope. You can’t even run for office unless you’re on the tribal roll and you must be at least 50% Navajo to be on the roll. They’re really selective about who they vote as Navajo Nation president too. Several years ago a guy in his 40’s was trying to run become president. Because he’d spent time outside the Navajo Nation and cultivated a successful career along with solid degrees he was seen by the younger generation as someone that would be really good for the NN as a whole. If I remember right he wasn’t elected because he didn’t speak Navajo.


Generallyawkward1 t1_j5zj718 wrote

The title of the post is misleading. I’m not the only one that thought that, but, apparently, I touched some nerves.


Thatswhatthatdoes t1_j6289zg wrote

It’s a sensitive topic and one I knew basically nothing about until I lived in Navajo area for several years. Even now, there’s still a lot I don’t know or understand because they have such an interesting and complex culture and history.

I think it’s fair to say that unless you’re around Native politics, you won’t be aware of most of what goes on and so much of it is different from tribe to tribe. Just because it’s true for one tribe doesn’t mean that it’s true for another. Every form of government has its strengths and weaknesses, as an outsider it’s easier to see them sometimes. For example, my partner and I were having a group conversation about some of the issues we had noticed in Navajo area and a participant got angry at us because her adopted son was part of the Comanche tribe. She didn’t know that they had completely different issues, political systems, and constitutions.

I apologize if I came across as harsh in my original reply. That wasn’t my intention but tone is difficult to convey through text on a screen.


wunwinglo t1_j607rz7 wrote

Who knew Navajo people were so sexist? Disgraceful.


Aur0ra12 t1_j5w6iqc wrote

"Navajo Nation Council" -- puppet government sighted!