Ádahooníłígíí

This word is Navajo for the-area-happenings (occurrences).

To shed some light on the history of how the Navajo language was documented, we can turn to the publication Ádahooníłígíí. This newspaper was in circulation around Dinétah (widely known then as the Navajo Tribe) and was printed and distributed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the 1940s and 1950s. It was the forerunner for the modern-day Navajo Times — now the Navajo Nation’s largest English-language periodical print publication in circulation.

In the period before Ádahooníłígíí, written Navajo was available in sparsely translated versions of the Christian Bible and parts of a Navajo dictionary. Throughout its circulation, the editors Robert W. Young and William Morgan, Sr. collected Navajo words until the publication’s end. Their collections went on to become part of the definitive Navajo language text The Navajo Language: A Grammar and Colloquial Dictionary. 

Ádahooníłígíí remains one of the only all-Navajo language periodicals of the previous century.