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Begay Family History
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Begay Family Stories
Monday, 29 August 2005
The Origins of the Ma'ii Deeshgiizhnii Clan in Canyon Del Muerto
Topic: Begay Family History
Some time during the summer, my dad met Larry Chee. His clan was "Tabaahi" (Water's Edge) & born for "Ma'ii Deeshgiizhnii" (Coyote Pass People), making him my dad's clan brother. This man not only pastors a church out in Round Rock, AZ, but also serves as a tour guide of Canyon De Chelly for Thunderbird Lodge In conversation, my dad told him about how I like to take pictures all across the Navajo reservation, & learn the history & original Navajo names behind certain locations. Upon hearing this, he extended an invitation for my brother & I to join one of his jeep tours.

So, back in August 20 of 2005, my brother & I went for this tour. We saw the typical tourist attractions, such as Mummy Cave & White House Anasazi Ruins. The less-famous & less-interesting sites in terms of tourist attractions were what interested my brother & I the most, since it dealt with a part of our own ancestry.

In Canyon Del Muerto, an adjoining canyon of Canyon De Chelly, there's an Anasazi ruin called "Beegashii Sizini," or Standing Cow. At one time, a man named Bilii Lani (Many Cattle) lived at this location. He planted some peach trees from seeds he acquired from Hopi Indians years ago. These trees still stand there to this day.

At this Anasazi ruin, one of my ancestors named "Asdzaa Beegashii" (Cow Lady) lived at this site. Because she lived here, she was named after the place. Her sister, "Asdzaa Tse 'Ii'ahi" (Standing Rock Woman), who lived nearby was named as such because she lived near a rock called "Standing Rock." This rock was used as a fortress & the ruins of stone walls still crown the top of this spire. Standing Rock woman is an ancestor of Larry Chee. Furthermore, Larry Chee was born near this rock.

Both women, obviously, were of the "Ma'ii Deeshgiizhnii" clan. According to Chee, all Navajos within the Canyon Del Muerto & Chinle area of the Ma'ii Deeshgiizhnii clan are said to be originally from the areas within the canyon from Antelope Ruins to Fortress Rock (Tseghaa').w Whithin these regions are Standing Cow Ruins & Standing Rock.

A relative of both Standing Woman & Cow Woman was Ganado Mucho. This is the very same Ganado Mucho who led the Navajos up Fortress Rock to hide from Kit Carson's soldiers when the raided Canyon Del Muerto in the 1860's. It is unknown how they were related. The Navajo word used to describe their relation is "bilah," which just means a relative of the opposite sex. The only time I hear this word is when I'm dating someone & they say, "Ei nilah at'e!" That person is your clan-relative! The point being, I may have Ganado Mucho as an ancestor of mine but how distant I don't know.

Posted by rock3/countryboy79 at 10:48 AM MDT
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