Depending on where they live on the reservation, different Navajo people have different names for the Monument Valley area. People from outside the area often call it Níyol Bitiin, or “The Trail of the Winds.”
Navajos who live in and around Monument Valley generally call it Tsébii’nidzisgai, which means “Whiteness Near and Within the Rocks.”
That has become the most common name, which is used by the Navajo Nation, local radio stations, government entities, and chapter houses throughout the reservation.
Monument Valley High School has the English name for the area, and now the elementary school will have the Navajo name, Tsébii’nidzisgai.
Scientists and tourists may see Monument Valley as nothing more than a beautiful display of rocks, but it’s not just scenery to the Navajo. To them, the formations in Monument Valley are creations of Mother Earth and Father Sky.
Traditional beliefs say that Mother Earth used Wind God, Rain God, Snow God, and other deities to create the features of the monuments.
Individual formations within the valley each have their own names and features. The Mittens, Stagecoach, Train Rock, Bear and Rabbit, Yei Bichei, Eagle Mesa, Sun’s Eye, and Mitchell Butte all have their own special uses for the Navajo.
For instance, the monument “Totem Pole” is often struck by lightning. Because of that, offerings are made there for Lightning Way Ceremonies.
Through hard work and dedication, community members, tribal leaders, teachers, and administrators have established a successful high school in Monument Valley.
Now the community is proud to give a Navajo name, Tsébii’nidzisgai, to the new elementary school in the beautiful and sacred valley.