Christianity and Navajos’ religion are opposed in many ways and this opposition is clearly visible in the conception of Death and in the funerals practices both parties have. The confrontation of these two different views has led to a mixing of funerals practices and ultimately to a mix of both sets of beliefs.
Many Navajos have been attending western schools where westerns culture has been taught to them, thus new Navajo generations have a Christian religion at odd with their parents’ religion. It is now a casual thing during funerals to encounter a mix of practices since the attendants are from both cultures, or that some family members feel haunted by recollections of their genuine religion or uncomfortable with the service provided during the funerals or with the type of funerals the deceased has chosen.
Here is a testimony of a woman hauted by the genuine religion.
Here is a testimony of a woman who had to choose which type of funerals she would provide her father with.
Ultimately from this confrontation of beliefs a new religion practice is born, the Native American Church, which is a combination of Christian and Navajo beliefs. The doctrines of the Native American Church are similar to mainstream Christianity, but rituals around the peyote revolve around Native American beliefs with an emphasis on mother Earth and Indian spirits rather than on the Bible. However funerals are more Christian oriented.
In 1966 the Native American Church of Navajoland was formed in southern Arizona.