Native American Werewolf Legends Presents: Yee Naaldlooshii

p1The Yee Naaldlooshii is, you guessed it, the Navajo word for werewolf; though the Navajo werewolves are actually referred to as “skin-walkers”, which is a term popularized by various films. Yee Naaldlooshii means literally, “with it, he goes on all fours”, in Navajo language. A Yee Naaldlooshii is actually only one of several varieties of witches in the Navajo culture. The witches in the Navajo culture are malignant figures, such as they would be in the Christian or Jewish theology. In order to become a Skinwalker, one must first be initiated into the Witchery Way, –killing a relative, or sibling, incest, or necrophilia are particularly common initiations.

19_skin_walker_webAfter initiation into the Witchery Way, in Navajo the “án’t’i;i;zhi”, or Corpse-poison Way. Corpse Poison is literal, –it’s powdered corpse, particularly from the fingertips, back of the skull. The preferred source of corpse poison is dead children, especially twins. The witch people become skinwalkers in order to deliver the án’t’i;, –the corpse poison, in secret to the “witch sing”, taking place in a secluded area called the “án’t’i;báhoolan”. The witch’s sing is the opposite of a good sing, –the Navajo gather to sing, paint, and pray to the spirits for blessings, good crops, good hunting, safe families, etc., –the witch’s sing calls for the opposite. At the witch sing, the witch people paint with ash instead of sand. Contrary to popular media representation, the skinwalkers are a malevolent force, there are no “good guy skinwalkers.”

skinwalkerThe witch turns into a Yee Naaldlooshii to either travel to a witch’s sing, or escape from pursuers, –skinwalkers are not always wolves or coyotes, but can be any animal. Some legends caution that skinwalkers can even steal a human skin, just by looking into your eyes. The Yee Naaldlooshii are known because their eyes glow like an animals when they’re in human form, –when they are in animal form, the eyes do not glow as they should. Animal skins in the Navajo culture are a taboo item, because of their association with skinwalkers, –sheepskin and buckskin are among the very few others used by the tribe. One of the most interesting things about skinwalkers, is that the belief in them did not die, –the Yee Naaldlooshii are still feared and avoided by the Navajo.


  1. i liked the helpful tips on how to be a werewolf, because i have wolves around my house and i have seen many pritns, but i need to know if the water has to be rainwater or water. let me know! thanks!!! 

  2. Do you know any spiritual ways of transformation? Specific details. Without using witch craft or making a deal with the devil.

  3. Skinwalkers are not “werewolves”,a skinwalker can be any animal,bird,fish,etc…they simply wear the hide or skin of whatever creature they wish to be.

    There is no lycanthropy involved.
    Yenald’loosh’i are witches…not lycanthropes.

  4. this is blood fang u seem to know alot about skin walkers im a 5th generation navajo/mix breed theres always sum truth to the stories our forfauthers have shared with us over time but 1 fact remains the skin walkers still live on and we are among you we are not cursed we are blessed. yours truly……….. Blood Fang

  5. everybody do not think there is a native american way of becoming a werewolf just because of the movies it isnot something you want to be i am aginasoquili from the cherokee nation and my spirit animal is indeed a wolf and a werewolf is completely different.

    1. I am too Cherokee and my spirit animal is a wolf. I’m not a changer like distant ancestors are. But I have years to come before I know for sure.

  6. The fact that you have to do something horrible like kill a family member and other horrible things to become something as ridiculous as a werewolf is sad and quite frankly…pathetic. Who seriously would do that.

  7. please don’t hurt me but my mom and dad are both native American mixed with Mexican and my mom and dad just told we have a lot of secrets and they said that am a naaldooshi

    1. You spelled it wrong….. And you know, not all Native American tribes are wolf decendants. I am Cherokee and Apachee. Both have leagends of Wolves but I am not a changer as my parents say our ancestors are.

    2. Hi are you able to help me i was bitten by a person that i believed to be a werewolf many years ago, i still have the mark and the side effects to this day. Can you or anyone help me with any questions i have? the person that did this he left me and i was very confused and afraid for a long time. I dont have any tribes that i am connected with overseas as i am from Australia. I only have my indigenous tribe from my family heritage im yet to meet them one day. And i dont think they would know about this. We have stories of shapeshifting in the culture but not about lycanthrope or werewolves. Even if you can message me privately thats fine. Would appreciate help from anyone who has any knowledge thanks <3.

  8. The skinwalkers is always evil they’re witches ie medicne men whom use the skins of animals to become said animal they can mimic the voices of loved ones to lure you in and it’s taboo to talk of them just talking about them is said to bring on their wrath they also appear in Lakota legends as well

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