Shiprock, detail, 2005, Joann Johnson, ET513.D-10
Photo: Kirstin Roper, © NHMU

Rock Monster Eagle Story

Tsé Nináhádleeh (Rock Monster Eagle) terrorized the Diné (Navajo), capturing people to feed to his nestlings on the top of Tsé Bit'a'í (Shiprock). One day the monster saw Naayéé’ Neizghání (Monster Slayer), one of the Hero Twins, and flew toward him. As Monster Slayer ran, Wind's Child whispered into his ear that he should allow the monster to pick him up. And so he was carried to the top of Shiprock and dropped toward the sharp rocks, black with blood. Rock Monster Eagle flew off to find another victim, but Monster Slayer saved himself from crashing on the rocks with living eagle feather given to him by Na'ashjé'íí Asdzą́ą́ (Spider Woman). When the monster returned, Monster Slayer shot him with a zig-zag lightning arrow. When Rock Monster Eagle fell from Shiprock, there was a tremendous earthquake. Monster Slayer then slew the female Rock Monster Eagle and turned the young bird monsters into a golden eagle and an owl.