NavajoWOTD

aak'ei

fall season or autumn

aah kaye

Also known as aak’ee, this is the Navajo word for the autumn or fall season.

The Navajo winter will begin next month, so the end of the month of November marks the transition to the next season.

In the mid-autumn timeframe (Octoberish, or Gháájí’), the Navajo new year begins. The fall season is also typically the time when creation stories are beginning to be told, although it varies depending on the first snow event.

The fall season is the time when the Navajo Nation hosts its regional fairs, such as the Navajo Nation Fair in Window Rock, AZ, which hosts the Miss Navajo Pageant, among other events. There are fairs for every agency of the reservation, five in total, which are analogous to counties in a state.

ak'ah

oil, fat, lard, grease

uk kah

This Navajo word, along with its other forms bik’ah and be’ak’ah, refer commonly to (its) fat.

It is also the word for lard, shortening, cooking oil, grease and related substances – sometimes even vaseline.

Another word, ak’ahkǫ’ (ak’ah + kǫ), is used to refer to motor oil, lamp oil (like kerosene), or lubricants related to machinery. But the phrase “Chidí be’ak’ah” is understood as “the vehicle’s oil.”

Food that has been fried can be described using “ak’ah bee sit’é.”

An example sentence can be: “Díí tązhii’ éí ak’ah bee sit’é” or in English “this turkey was (deep) fried in oil.”

Some older Navajo used to combine animal fat with dirt, such as the signature red dirt of the Painted Desert, and other ingredients to create a paste, which would then serve as a kind of sunblock when herding sheep.

tazhii

turkey

tah zhee

At the beginning of October we threw a lot of ‘bird’ terms at you (tsídii).

One of those words was tązhii, and is probably the most appropriate to start off this week. It refers to the turkey.

Back in April, there was also a word referring to beef (béégashii bitsį’). The latter part of the phrase can be used in conjunction with turkey to form tązhii bitsį’, which describes turkey meat.

If you’re wondering what to call the cartilage that comes with cooking poultry/fowl (like chicken), it’s your lucky day! It’s referred to as ooshgę́ę́zh, which you’ll also find in our April archives.

Dííjí éí i'ii'nííł. Ada'diiyohnił.

Today is election day, go vote.

dee jih ay ih ee knee-lth. ud dah dee yoh nih-lth

This literally means: Today is election day. Go cast your ballot (3 or more)!

dééh

tea

deh

The Navajo word dééh refers to tea, or Navajo (or Hopi) tea, in English.

The tea plant is abundant wherever there is a good source of water, which commonly includes the runoff areas from roads during monsoon season. The tea plant has wiry stalks and stems, and small yellow flowers at the tops. It grows about knee height and lower.

These plants are collected and bundled to a size about as thick as a broom handle, and about as tall as a soda can. Boil these bundles in water and you have Navajo tea.

Another word for tea is ch’il ahwééh, which is like saying “plant coffee.”

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