Damóo Biiskání

Awaken, for it is Monday once again. And Monday is your Navajo word of the day.

Now, consider the days of the week. Is it possible that the Navajo people came up with a seven day week before the Colonial Era? Yes. But it is highly improbable.

It’s actually a lot easier to borrow the Spanish word for Sunday (“domingo”) and use that to frame the succession of days starting from the first day of the week. The only day that doesn’t follow this convention is Friday (nda’iiníísh), and that’s because its most notable quality is that of being the end of the work week.

Did the concept of a ‘work week’ exist in early Navajo times? How did the cycle of life change once the Navajos adopted a 7-day week? All great questions.

But lets back up for a moment, if the naming convention for the week is based on Sunday, does that mean “Damóo” means “Sunday?” That is correct. “Biisk’ání” is the Navajo addition that means, roughly, “the next day.” It’s like saying, “Sunday, and then another day, is Monday.”

Now back to the Spanish origin of the word; some Navajos will say “Damíigo” in place of “Damóo.” I’m sure you can see why.

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