Category Archives: Words

Shicheii

Summary:

Shicheii is my mother’s father, or my grandfather (aka maternal grandfather). In the Navajo way, shicheii is also my grandson by my daughter (a kind of nickname or recognition). In the clanship way, shicheii’s first clan is my “dashicheii” clan, which often is the third to be listed after my father’s clan (“báshíshchíín”). The horned […]

Báshíshchíín

Summary:

As part of the Navajo introduction and clanship system, this word references your father’s first clan. Since every Navajo is their mother’s clan (meaning her’s is the “first clan” or the one her children pass on to their children), their father’s clan is the one they would be “born for”. For example: Hashk’aan hadzohí báshíshchíín […]

The Next 100 Years

Summary:

What do we need to do now so that Diné Bizaad continues to be spoken in 100 years? I posed this question to reflect on the passing of our Navajo Code Talkers. The past year has seen the original 29 leaving, and that leads to the reality that many of our elders wish to see […]

Tsékooh Hatsoh

Summary:

One of the Navajo names for the Grand Canyon in Arizona is Tsékooh Hatsoh. Here, we have the word tsékooh, which refers to a canyon. The second word describes a big space, making use of the ha- and -tsoh particles. The Grand Canyon, today, is a park under the protection of the US Federal Government. […]

Ílį́įgo naalyéhé

Summary:

The Navajo words ílį́įgo naalyéhé together refer to jewelry. The first word comes from the particle ílį́, which denotes value, worth, or genuineness (in a word like ílį́k’ehgo it means ‘with respect’ or ‘respectfully’). Naalyéhé means property, or goods, in Navajo and is literally ‘that which is carried [about]’. So, ílį́įgo naalyéhé is like saying […]