NavajoWOTD

háálá

because or inasmuch

hah lah

Meaning: because, or inasmuch as.

Consider the following:

  • I took a shower because I just got out of the swimming pool.
  • I bought a bike because I have classes across school campus.
  • I am studying now because I have final exams next week.
  • Michael will travel home after final exams inasmuch as he does not need to stay around any longer.

In these cases the effect precedes the cause, and for this reason háálá is appropriate.

e'e'aah

west or sunset

eh eh ah

Yá’át’ééh! K’ad dííjį́’ éí nda’iiníísh!

Your Friday, and weekend, word is e’e’aah, which means evening, sundown, sunset, or west.

Navajo culture teaches that both nature and the universe are inherently ordered, and in keeping with that belief the west is considered the third direction. It does not mean that it is any less significant than the other directions. In fact, symbolically speaking, e’e’aah is associated with the carrying out of the living and learning process that began with the rising sun (ha’a’aah) and its next stage as it rises towards noon (shadi’aah). It is the execution of our thoughts and our planning.

This doesn’t mean you should spend all morning and noon thinking and planning, and then wait until the evening to do work! The four cardinal directions simply serve as a reminder of this process, and is there to be observed and applied in life.

deigo

up, upward

deh goh

The Navajo word deigo is understood to mean up, or upwards, or sometimes upright.

Deigo is a simple combination of both ‘dei’ (up) and ‘-’ (in the direction of).

Since these two simple words are widely understood on the Navajo reservation, gódei is also sometimes used in certain contexts.

Tóhajiilee

Canoncito, New Mexico

twoh hah jee leh

Continuing today with Navajo place names, Tóhajiilee is a community located about 35 miles west of Albuquerque in New Mexico and was also known as Cañoncito. It is not physically a contiguous part of the Navajo Reservation, but it maintains a legitimate presence in the Navajo Nation Tribal Government.

This word was chosen to replace Cañoncito in the late 1990s because previous generations of Navajo people drew water (tó) from natural wells that were situated in the area. Members of the community decided that a true Navajo name was more suitable and they were successful in making it official with the various surrounding governments.

What’s interesting is that this trend continues today. Multiple chapters* have adopted Navajo names in lieu of Spanish or English place names in recent years.

Tóhajiilee has also been in the national news recently for its proposed 4000 megawatt solar array project, which would be the largest of its kind on tribal land.

*‘Chapters’ refers to Chapter Houses, which are the local government offices that assume the political affairs of the local (geographical) community. In all, there are 110 chapters that comprise the Navajo Nation.

dilchxoshí

pop or crackle

dil choh shih

Dilchxoshí, or dilchxosh, is the Navajo word used to describe things that have a characteristic ‘pop.’ Another way to describe it is effervescence.

Two common snacks have this characteristic: soda and popcorn. The soda, being carbonated, fizzes and bubbles. With the popcorn, well, the kernels pop.

Here are their Navajo counterparts:

  • Tó dilchxoshí (water that pops/fizzes)
  • Naadą́ą́’ dilchxoshí (corn that pops)
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