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From My Words

Tag Archives: Diné

The First Four


In the Navajo Tradition, there are many ways we identify ourselves. One was is the complex clan system. Take mine for example, Tábąąhá nishlį́ dóó Haltsoí bááshishchį́į́n. I am Water’s Edge People Born for the Meadow People. We can further expand on this adding our grandfather’s clan from both maternal and paternal sides. These tell our relations. It gets more complex than that, I won’t go into details. But some people have often wondered how the clans started.

It was the result of Changing Woman and the first people. After Changing Woman had moved to an island in the western ocean the sun had created for her, some of the first beings followed her. After the first beings became lonely, they moved back to their original home. At this point, Changing Woman thought that there should be more people and thus the first clans were born.

Changing Woman rubbed the skin from her breast, her back, and under her arms to create more human beings. The people from her breast were named Kiiyaa’ą́ąnii or  Kinyaa’ą́ąnii (Towering House). The people from her back were called Honágháahnii (One Who Walks Around). The People from under her left arm were called Hashtł’ishnii (Mud people) and from her right were called Tódích’íí’nii (Bitter Water).

Each of these original clans were given a protective animal guardian. Kiiyaa’ą́ąnii was given Shash (Bear). Honágháahnii was given Náshdóí (Cougar). Tódích’íínii was given Tł’iish Tsoh (Bull Snake). Hashtł’ishnii was given Dahsání (Porcupine).

This is the origin of the first four clans.

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Project Diné


Well it has been quite sometime since I have been a part of anything productive on this site. I am still going forward with this project even though there is a lack of interest.
It is going to be delayed because I am unofficially tutoring college algebra and studying for my own test. Hopefully I get a promotion after all this studying I do. Best of luck to me…yeah I know, pretentious huh?
Haha…well with all kidding aside, I have compiled a list of words and phrases in Navajo I would go over. I just need to correctly transcribe these phrases from English to Navajo.
When I finish my first pages, I will post it here and I will be thinking about how to do the audio portion. Maybe I can employ my Flash skills and post it somewhere. I was also thinking about making an app, whether it be an apple app or an android app, I have not decided yet. I do know one thing though, updates with the app will be sparse.
Well, I suppose this is hágoóne’ for now. Until next time, áda’áhóólyá…

Months


Looked in wikiibíídiiya for anything about the months in Navajo. There really isnt anything in there so I guess I can post one here. I guess we can start at the beginning of the Navajo year.

Bik’ehgo Yoołkááł Náhidizídí
Months

  • Ghąąjį’ (October) This is the month known as the month of the Coyote. Winter is approaching here.
  • Níłch’its’ósí (November) Skinny or slim wind. Named so because the wind is starting to get colder. It begins to pierce through some of the regular clothing.
  • Níłch’itsoh (December) Large or colder wind. Hibernating animals are hibernating. The beginning of Winter Games and Story telling.
  • Yasniłt’ees (January) Named to describe the look of the snow. As the snow melts and freezes, it gives the illusion of the snow frying. Winter Games are over and the Story Telling time is coming to an end in this month.
  • ’Atsá Biyáázh (February) Named for the little eaglets that are beginning to hatch.
  • Wóózhch’ííd (March) Named for the first cry of the eaglets. Spring is approaching.
  • T’ááchil (April) Named so as the eaglets begin to lose their down feathers for smaller feathers. Usually the first sign of spring, plants begin to grow.
  • T’ą́ą́tsoh (May) Larger, stronger feathers of the eaglets begin to grow.
  • Ya’iishjáá́shchilí (June) Early wild crops are beginning to ripen.
  • Ya’iishyááshtsoh (July) Wild crops are ripe. Mostly used in ceremonial purposes.
  • Bini’ant’ą́ą́ts’ózí (August) Small or slim Harvest. The first corn begins to ripen.
  • Bini’ant’ą́ą́tsoh (September) Large Harvest. All planted crops are ready for harvest.

Then there is a lesser known month so named for the 13 moon cycles in the year. Bini’na’al’aashii –  The last month in the Navajo year.

These are the months in the Navajo Calendar. If i have made any mistakes or left anything out, please feel free to post them.

The Black World


The Creation story was always a favorite of mine growing up. I guess I will have to start in the beginning. This is a shortened version of the Creation Story, mostly because I can’t recall all the events that took place during it.

So here is the “Cliff Notes” version of the creation of the Diné.

Everything has a beginning, to the Navajo, the Diné, it was called the Black World. The first beings were not what we think people should look like, but they looked like insect beings  or creatures, Wólázhiní Dine’é.

There was four corners and in those corners were four cloud columns. I can’t recall the names of these at the moment. The east was the dawn, the south was the sky, the west was the twilight, and the north was the darkness.

Now in the eastern direction, where the white and black clouds formed, came First Man, ’Áłtsé Hastiin. With him Doo Honoot’ínii, the first corn, was made. He represented life and the dawn.

On the western direction, where the yellow and blue clouds formed, came First Woman, ’Áłtsé ’Asdzą́ą́. With her came the yellow corn, white shell, and Turquoise. She represented death and darkness.

First man and first woman met when they made a fire. First man made a fire of crystal and first woman made hers of turquoise. They saw each other’s fire and began to look for each other. With three tries unsuccessful. By the fourth time, they found each other.

The beings began to fight with one another, the insect beings knew the secret of bad medicine. They decided to move up into the blue blue world through an opening in the east, taking with them the evil that was in the black world.

What do you think?

Progress


So this is the first step in my trying to get a better understanding of Navajo, the Diné language (Diné Bizaad).

I have, to my excitement, discovered a way to type in Navajo using a “keyboard” I downloaded from the internet from Language Geek. There is an assortment of other keyboards for many other tribes as well.

Another source that I have learned of is the Navajo Now Blog. In her blog, she cites a number of resources currently available to the people for free. Go there now.

One more source that I am beginning to enjoy is the Navajo version of Wikipedia known as Wikiibíídiiya. It’s got an interesting selection of information. Like Wikipedia, Wikiibíídiiya can be updated by anyone so it’s content could be sketchy at best.

The search to learn more about my culture and heritage is still an on going one. I have learned so much living with my grand parents that I have in taken in more than I remember.