- The Navajo view death as a necessary part of life, as a way of making sure there weren't too many people.
- However, Navajos consider corpses unclean and avoid touching or going into a residence where someone has died. If they must touch a body, they will have a medicine man conduct a sing for them to restore themselves to harmony.
- Navajos will avoid speaking the name of a dead person because they do not want to attract the attention of the dead.
- The Navajo believe that the evil parts of a person live on as an evil spirit called a chindi. If a person dies in a building, they believe the chindi is trapped inside. Therefore, they break a hole in the north wall of the hogan (north is the direction of evil) and do not use that hogan again.
- The formal mourning process lasts for four days. Four is a sacred number to the Navajo, and they believe this is how long it takes the deceased spirit to travel to the underworld.
If I had time, I would have made this into a month-long series about death in different cultures. Unfortunately, I've been too busy to research this. Fortunately, I know another indie author who has researched many death customs and included them in her books. I'll discuss them next week. If we're lucky, she might answer a few questions for me too.