NavajoWOTD

iiná

life, to live

ee nah

The Navajo word iiná means “life” in English.

In Navajo culture, life, and living, is beautiful.

It comes about through a balanced approach to everything one does – embracing free thought, structure, action, and reflection.

There are things that define the cultural identity of the Navajo people, like stewardship of the land, leadership through a sense of unity, perpetuation of the oral histories, and others that comprise the definition of iiná for different people. To a sheepherder, sheep is life. To a farmer, corn is life.

In Navajo culture, iiná represents what one considers to be most essential in living a good life.

Wáshindoon

Washington, The Capital

wah shin done

This is a Navajo word adapted from the word “Washington” that signifies the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the US Federal Government in general.

In a more broad sense, it can also signify a capitol, as in the place of government. This is what is meant by “biwáshindoon” (it’s “Washington”).

Gháájí'

October, Navajo New Year

gah jih

The Navajo Times shared this:

Gháájí’ = October.
Translates to ‘Half’. Is meant that this is the month of the ‘Separation of Seasons’. In Diné culture, the beginning of the New Year begins in October.

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

So there you have it – it is the Navajo New Year__!

One thing of note, spelling varies, so Ghąąjį’ is also acceptable, as well as Ghaaji’.

tsídii

bird or birds

tsid dee

Tsídii is the Navajo word for birds of all types.

Here are a few common Navajo words for bird names:

  • Atsá - Eagle
  • Joogii - Blue Jay
  • Gáagii - Crow
  • Naalʼeełí - Duck
  • Néʼéshjaaʼ - Owl
  • Tązhii - Turkey

bááh dah díníilghaazh

frybread

dah dih kneel ghah zh

The Navajo saying dah díníilghaazh, or bááh dah díníilghaazh, refers to frybread.

Bááh can be a blanket term for baked goods, or for breads. Recall the word we gave for the Milky Way, łees’áán yílzhódí; łees’áán could fall under this category.

Dah díníilghaazh describes the process of creating frybread, specifically. You can imagine the rising of the bááh as it cooks in a grease or oil that is bubbling, as in boiling.

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