In Navajo (Navajo: Diné) culture, a skin-walker (yee naaldlooshii) is a type of harmful witch who has the ability to turn into an animal, or to disguise themselves as an animal, usually for the purposes of harming people.
In the Navajo language, yee naaldlooshii translates to “by means of it, [he or she] goes on all fours”. While perhaps the most common variety seen in horror fiction by non-Navajo people, the yee naaldlooshii is one of several varieties of Navajo witch, specifically a type of ’ánti’įhnii. The legend of the skin-walkers is uncertain, mostly due to reluctance to discuss the subject with outsiders (in part because strangers may be witches themselves), thus people are led to draw their own conclusions from the stories they hear.
Navajo people are reluctant to reveal skinwalker lore to non-Navajos, or to discuss it at all among those they do not trust.