Na’ashǫ́’ii

During the summer months here in the Southwest, lizards emerge. Their Navajo name, na’ashǫ́’ii, can refer to practically any reptile. But, it originally refers to anything that creeps along.

There are many types of lizards and only a few that have well known designations. For example, a large green lizard – sometimes with banded yellow undersides – would be referred to as na’ashǫ́’ii dootł’izhí.

The horned toad is also another recognizable lizard known as na’ashǫ́’ii dich’ízhii. (ch’ízhii is a descriptor that refers to something, mostly living, that is dry, cracked, ashy, etc.) The horned toad is called ‘grandpa’ by many Navajo, which is a name that comes from cultural stories.

Since it’s so similar, here is the word for spider: na’ashjé’ii. Yee-yah.