Annie Dodge Wauneka was born on April 10, 1910, in a Navajo hogan near Sawmill, Arizona. She was raised in a non-traditional Navajo setting. Her father, Henry Chee Dodge, was a Navajo rancher and politician. Her mother, K'eehabah, was one of Dodge's three wives. Navajo custom allowed polygamy, and a man's wives were usually related to one another. Navajo society is also matrilineal, so children born to wives who were related were considered full siblings. Wauneka lived with K'eehabah for only her first year. At that time, Dodge brought Wauneka to live with him, along with her half-siblings. Dodge spoke fluent English and had been an interpreter for the government. He was a tribal council head as well as the owner of a large ranch with all the modern conveniences. For these facts alone, Wauneka's childhood would have been highly unusual for a Navajo. Their home was more like a typical farm house than like the Navajo hogans. They even had servants. Dodge kept his children humble by making them do chores, like sheep herding, so they wouldn't feel superior to the tribe's other children.