Geraldine Keams was born on August 19, 1951, in Flagstaff, Arizona, the United States, to Lee and Helen Keams. She was raised on a reservation and is a member of the Navajo Nation.
As a child, she grew up without television and had a community full of gifted storytellers. She grew up under their influence and developed a great fascination for her culture. She became an adventurous explorer by reading books about faraway places and listened to the stories of the Navajo.