Łees’áán yílzhódí

Literal meaning: the cake (baked in ash) that is dragged along.

If you’ve ever looked up into the sky on a clear night, in a place far from city lights, you’ve probably seen the speckled band of the Milky Way. Łees’áán yílzhódí is one of the Navajo names for the Milk Way.

Łees’áán is a specific type of cake that is either baked underground or in an outdoor oven. If you can imagine bits and pieces of the cake and ash being broken off whilst being dragged against something (yílzhódí), then you have the idea behind the name for the Milky Way. It’s as if someone grabbed a piece and dragged it across the sky, leaving the stars and the specks in its wake.