The Black-footed Ferret was once part of the historic landscape of Navajo Nation's desert grasslands, living among their primary prey, the prairie dog. The ferret nearly went extinct due to great losses in prairie dog populations across the western U.S. in the last two centuries. Ferrets have been lost to diseases such as sylvatic plaque and canine distemper as well. The ferret had been extirpated from Navajolands since the 1940s. But now, the Navajo-tribal ranch at Big Boquillas has a successful re-introduction project since 1996 thanks to a cooperative effort between the USFWS, AZ Game & Fish Dept., Phoenix Zoo and the Navajo Nation. The ferret is an Endangered Species.

The Black-footed Ferret is named 'Naa dloo lizhin' in the Navajo language. The skin or hide of the ferret played was an essential item used in several traditional Navajo healing ceremonies; its hide was also used for medicine bundles.