The Navajo word kéyah means “land” in English.
In an earlier post, I described the Four Corners area of the Southwest U.S. The Navajo and Hopi Nations are described in Navajo using the word bikéyah.
Today, Navajoland is considered the largest tribal nation in the U.S., in terms of land base. It is 17,046,112.51 acres in total, and the deeds are held in trust by the U.S. government. The People make use of the land through different leases and permits for homesites, land use, grazing, and more.
Following the Treaty of Bosque Redondo, the Navajo Reservation slowly grew through a series of expansions. These were necessary because, traditionally, Navajo considered Diné Bikéyah to be bounded by the Four Sacred Mountains. It wasn’t until late in the 1900s that the Navajo Tribal Council chose to change “Navajo Reservation” to “Navajo Nation.”
Diné Bizaad, or the Navajo language, is considered to be closely tied to the land. When it comes to nature, balance is important. If you’ve followed NavajoWOTD, you should recognize that language is not just words, but ideas and culture. Learning the language helps you view the land in a more personal way.