A chindi (Navajo "ch'íįdii") is the ghost of the Navajo tribe believed to be released at dying breath.
The chindi is almost always considered to be an evil force, avenging some form of offense to the person. The Navajo believe that contacting such a spirit can cause illness (Ghost Sickness), or death. It is also believed that a chindi can be used to cause harm upon someone else. Dust devils (desert small tornadoes) are referred to as chiindii and are said to be these spirits. Clockwise dust devils are good spirits and counterclockwise are bad.
The most famous account of the chindi is the account of the Long Salt family. In the August-September 1967 issue of the magazine Frontier Times, John R. Winslowe wrote of his 1925 encounter with Alice Long Salt, a slender teenage girl. In the periodical, she described the reason for the Long Salts' demise. She believed that after two members of the tribe deceived a blind medicine man, he sent a chindi to destroy the Long Salts. Each member of the family was stricken with an incurable illness, and eventually died.
Curiously, anyone marrying into the family met the same fate as a blood Long Salt. Alice's mother died when the girl reached seven and she was attending the Tuba City boarding school at the Indian agency. Alice's father became skin and bones, dying two years later... The remaining three Long Salts [Alice's two uncles and an aunt] were ill, crippled, and helpless. Friends cared for them, watching them fade into nothing before their eyes.
In the winter of 1928, Alice Long Salt was found dead three miles from the trading post on Red Mesa.
- A science fiction book by Jack McDevitt is titled "Chindi".
- Steiger, Brad. "The Chindi." The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings. 1st ed. 1999.
- Wyman, Leland, W. W. Hill, and Iva Osanai. "Navajo Eschatology." American Anthropologist 45(1943): 461-463.