The logo of the Navajo Nation Fire Department (left) was designed by Dicky Bain. Each part of the logo has its significance both historical and traditional. To understand our logo, we must first discuss the maltese cross.
History of the Maltese Cross
The Maltese Cross is actually a symbol of the Christian warrior since the First Crusade (below right). It is in the form of four "V" shaped arms joined together at their bases, so that each arm has two points, and the cross has eight points in all.
From the days of the first crusade, the cross has been the symbol of the Christian warrior who pledged not only to fight in defense of the Holy Land, but also to protect the lives of his compatriots. The Maltese Cross now worn by modern firefighters is actually an adaptation of a particular crusader insignia, the Cross of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem.
The Knights, one of the oldest orders of warrior monks that fought for Christendom, took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Also known as Hospitallers, the monks maintained a hospital for pilgrims in Jerusalem. Then that city became the centre of the crusade-embattled lands, the brothers militarized their order, but continued to protect pilgrims and extend their charity to the sick and poor.
Because of the extensive armor that covered their bodies and faces, the Knights were unable to distinguish friend from foe in battle, so the need for an identifiable emblem for the Knights became crucial. Since they fought their battles for a holy cause, they chose the Cross of Calvary, a white or silver cross on a dark background. After the fall of Jerusalem in 1187, the Knights of St. John moved to the island of Malta.
During the crusades, many Knights became firefighters out of necessity. Their enemies had resorted to throwing bombs and sailing war vessels containing naphtha. Hundreds of Knights were burned alive. Others risked their lives to save their brothers in arms from dying painful fiery deaths.
Thus these men became our first firefighters and the first of a long list of courageous firefighters. Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow Crusaders who awarded each hero a Badge of Honor; a cross similar to the one firefighters wear today.
The Maltese Cross is a symbol of protection. It means that the firefighter who wears this cross is willing to lay down his/her life for you, just as Crusaders sacrificed their lives for their fellow man so may years ago.
The cross used as the symbol of various Fire Services in the United States are often referred to as Maltese Cross, although this is strictly speaking incorrect. The NNFD logo, and well as many other fire department's logos, are merely an evolved form of the maltese cross, although we refer it to as a maltese cross. Fire departments throughout the United States use the maltese cross for their logos because it symbolizes unselfishness, charity, compassion, self sacrifice, bravery, and a brotherhood.
The Navajo Nation Fire Department logo is an adapation of the maltese cross and the Great Seal of the Navajo Nation (right).
In the Navajo Nation Fire Department's logo there are 24 arrowheads that symbolizes that the department will respond and protect 24-hours a day. The arrowhead idea was taken from the Great Seal of the Navajo Nation that possess fifty (50) arrowheads representing protection from the 50 states.
Just like the Great Seal of the Navajo Nation, there are three colored lines that are open at the top. These lines are red, yellow and blue and represent a protective rainbow. The opening at the top of the three concentric lines is considered east and represents the sovereignty of the Navajo Nation.
The ladder, helmet, ax and pike pole are everyday tools the fire department use to perform their services to protect the Nation, its people and visitors.