Music ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-15-2022


Jesus Woodlą́ą́jí’ Sin: Navajo Hymns of Faith, the first and only extensive Navajo hymnal, was published in 1979. This hymnal contains 365 hymns for congregational singing, translated into the Navajo language. The Navajo Hymnal Committee, responsible for the seven years of intensive translation work, formed in 1972 under the direction of Reverend Dr. Paul Redhouse (1925-2019), an ordained Navajo minister within the Christian Reformed Church. Redhouse wholeheartedly believed that Navajo people had the right to worship in their own language and argued that pre-issued English hymnals by outside church leaders were not suitable for obvious reasons—a language barrier. Through an examination of the historical, linguistic, and musical contexts in which Diné Christians developed this hymnal, I argue this hymnal sonically represents a shift away from white missionary control over Navajo churches to Navajo ministers leading their own congregations in an act of self-determination.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Music

First Committee Member (Chair)

Ana Alonso-Minutti

Second Committee Member

Lloyd L. Lee

Third Committee Member

David W. Samuels




Navajo, Navajo Language, Christianity, Hymnody, Translation, Self-Determination

Document Type


Included in

Musicology Commons