In Navajo, tsé is the word for “rock” and bit’a’í refers to a wing.
You may remember that one word for wing is at’a’. With the stem -‘í in bit’a’í, feathers are being referenced in such a way that their position can be described as extending in some “thin” fashion. Overall, this contributes to the idea of a wing.
Taken together, we’re saying something along the lines of “rock that has wings.” In English, the name of this place is Shiprock in New Mexico.
Tsé Bit’a’í is home to many Navajo leaders, and is one of the Navajo Nation’s most voter-active chapters. Shiprock High School has graduated generations of Navajo families, which has led to the distinctive motto, “Once a Chieftain, always a Chieftain.”
Judge Judy Sheindlin recently revealed that she would be addressing the Class of 2015 as the keynote speaker. The decision was made as part of an essay contest in which a Shiprock High School student participated.
Shiprock and the surrounding communities continue to advocate for positive change in their communities. Like many other Navajo Nation communities, it has faced many challenges in balancing a rich culture with the changes of urban life.