Rainbow Yé'ii, detail, circa 2000, Eleanor Rock, ET513.6
Photo: Kirstin Roper, © NHMU


Yé’ii are sacred beings. The most compassionate of the Yé’ii are the Diyin Dine’é (Holy People) who control the elements and all the forces of nature. The Yé’ii have homes within Dinétah (the Navajo homeland) and are called upon in healing ceremonies where they are portrayed in sand paintings and personified by masked dancers, both male and female. For the last century, Yé’ii have been depicted in rugs and more recently in baskets. Peggy Black explains that when she weaves Yé’ii on a basket, “I am portraying extremely sacred and powerful beings—ones that demand respect. If I convey this respect in the proper manner, these Holy People will bless me and my family. If I show disrespect, these same beings can, and will, cause me much trouble . . . I show respect by having a Blessing Way ceremony done each year.”