Navajo Bareback Horse Race Photo

Navajo Bareback Horse Race-- Fruitland

Native American (Navajo) men take part in a bareback horse race at Fruitland, New Mexico.

The men wear no shoes.

The horses have leather bridles. Spectators stand nearby. Between 1908 and 1910.

Olympics – Navajo Language Word of the Day Video

Source: Terry Teller (daybreakwarrior)

The Navajo Word of the Day is “Olympics”.
The word in Navajo for olympics is “Ahaa Honinééh.” To use this word in Navajo, you would say, “Ahaa Honinééhígíí éí London hoolyéedi baa na’aldeeh.” This means, “The Olympics are being held in London.” Breakdown:

Ahaa Honinééhígíí: The Olympics
Éí: it
London hoolyéedi: at the place called London
Baa na’aldeeh: it is being held

Since I hadn’t been updating my Navajo Words of the Day like I should, I added a new word today, “Alha’dikááh,” which means, “a lot of people racing side by side.” This is more of a term for a foot or running race, but it can also be used for other events. For example:

Dzi’izí (bike) Bee (by means of it) Alha’dikááh: Competitive Cycling
Na’alkóó?’ (swimming) Yee (by means of it) Alha’dikááh: Competitive Swimming

Here are different ways you can use these words in sentences:

Ryan Lochte éí Na’alkóó’ Yee Alha’dikááh yee atah.
Ryan Lochte is competing in the swimming event.

Taylor Phinney éí Dzi’izí Bee Alha’dikááh yee atah.
Taylor Phinney is competing in the cycling event.

Again, just a few words to share since the Summer Olympics are currently being held! Enjoy!

“Anasazi Ruins” The Navajo Word of the Day (Video)

Today’s Navajo Word of the Day is the word for “Indian Ruins.” The word is, “Kits’iilí,” which literally means, “shattered homes.” This video was filmed at Mesa Verde National Park. The Navajo name for this area is called “Gad Deelzhah,” which means “Jagged Junipers.” Ruins such as these are typically called “kits’iilí.”

The ruins are made by the ancient peoples currently known as the Cliff Dwellers. They were formerly known as the Anasazi. Anasazi is a Navajo word, which means “Enemy’s Ancestor.” It comes from the words “anaa’í” for enemy and “bizází” for their ancestors. Since the Pueblo and Hopi tribes of today are considered to be the descendants of the Anasazi, they thought it was inappropriate for their ancestos to be named by Navajos so Cliff Dwellers is the current PC name.

I used this video to introduce other new terms as well, such as “haaz’éí” for ladder, “tsé daashjéé’ ” for corn-grinding stones or a metate, and “jeelid” for the sticky smoke soot that formed on the rock ceiling of the ruins from historic campfires.

I hope these terms help you if you decide to visit ancient ruins in the southwest such as these. Enjoy!

Source: Terry Teller (daybreakwarrior)


Four Corners Monument

The Four Corners Monument is the only place in the United States where four states (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah) come together at one place.

Four Corners Monument -2 Here you can stand in four states at the same time.
Photo by Harold Carey Jr.

The monument is maintained as a tourist attraction by the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department.

The Four Corners region didn’t always have such a clear-cut divide. Part of Mexico until 1848, the area has since been home to countless squabbles over state lines.

The original marker erected in 1912 was a simple cement pad, but has since been redone in granite and brass. The Visitor Center is open year round, and features a Demonstration Center with Navajo artisans. Navajo vendors sell handmade jewelry, crafts and traditional Navajo foods nearby.

The monument was reconstruction in 2010. It consists of a granite disk embedded with a smaller bronze disk around the point, surrounded by smaller, appropriately located state seals and flags representing both the states and tribal nations of the area. Circling the point, with two words in each state, the disk reads, “Four states here meet in freedom under God.”

Four Corners Monument 3

Picnic tables and self-contained restrooms are available. Services and accommodations are very limited to small cafes, grocery stores and self-service gasoline stations within a 30 mile radius.

We recommend that you have plenty of water, food, snacks, hand wipes and extra toiletries when visiting. The area is very remote, no running water, no electricity, no telephones.

Admission $3.00 (all ages)
Open 7 am – 8 pm (June – Sept)
Open 8 am – 5 pm (Oct – May)
Four Corners Park: 928-871-6647

Four Corners Monument 1

There is a small visitor center, which is open year round. It features a Demonstration Center with Native American artisans. Vendors sell handmade jewelry, crafts and traditional foods nearby. Self-contained toilets are available.

Rodeo Terminology in the Navajo Language – Video

Rodeo, or known as Ahóóhai in the Navajo language, is a very popular sport on the Navajo reservation. Since many Navajos have cattle, it’s not suprising that Navajos undertaken this competitive sports event. This video basically covers the names of the events in Navajo, both timed and rough stock events. This video also covers the names of key individuals involved in a rodeo, for example:

Akalii: Cowboy:
Dóola Bil Naalgeedígíí: Bull Rider
Hastiin Lá At’ínígíí: Rodeo Clown
Bil Nída’algeedgo Nídayiiláhígíí: Pick-Up Man


The term “rodeo” in Navajo comes from the word “Naa’ahóóhai,” which means “chicken” in Navajo. Rodeos on the reservation initiated around a “chicken-pull.” Over time, this word got shortened to “ahóóhai,” and rather than being named after chicken pulls it became the term for “rodeos” as rodeos got popular on the reservation. Also, some people will use the term “Naa’ahóóhai” or “Ahóóhai” for agricultural shows; tribal, county, or state fairs.

The names of the rodeo events in Navajo:

Líí’ T’áá Dilkoohgo Naalgeedígíí: Bare Back

The breakdown:

Líí’: horse
T’áá Dilkoohgo: in a smooth manner (i.e. without a saddle)
Naalgeedígíí: the one that is bucking

Líí’ Bik’ídahaznilgo Naalgeedígíí: Saddle Bronc

The breakdown:

Líí’: horse
Bik’ídahaznilgo: things are set on it (i.e. it is saddled)
Naalgeedígíí: the one that is bucking

Béégashii Alts’áá’ Wódleehígíí: Team Roping

The breakdown:

Béégashii: cow
Alts’áá’: on each side
Wódleehígíí: the one where it is roped

Tóshjeeh BinaagoL?íí’ Náádadiilwo’ígíí: Barrel Racing

The breakdown:

Tóshjeeh: barrel/water container
Binaago: around it
Líí’: horse(s)
Náádadiilwo’ígíí: the one where they run around

Béégashii Yáázh Wódleehígíí: Calf Roping

The breakdown:

Béégashii: cow
Yáázh: the little one (i.e.calf)
Wódleehígíí: the one that is roped

Béégashii Bik’os Náágisgo Nehe’nílígíí: Steer Wrestling

The breakdown:

Béégashii: cow
Bik’os: it’s neck
Náágisgo: it is turned
Nehe’ní?ígíí: the one that is taken down

Dóola Naalgeedígíí: Bull Riding

The breakdown:

Dóola: bull
Naalgeedígíí: the one that is bucking

Béégashii Yáázh T’óó Yisdlohígíí: Ladies’ Break-Away

The breakdown:

Béégashii: cow
Yáázh: the little one (i.e. calf)
T’óó: merely
Yisdlohígíí: it is roped

Since rodeos have become a key fixture in Navajo culture, I had to include this video in my series of Navajo language terminology! Enjoy, and hopefully if you hear these terms at a rodeo on the reservation, you won’t be too confused anymore! 🙂

This video was filmed at Double “R” Ranch, in Round Rock, AZ

Source: Daybreak Warrior (Terry Teller)

First Contact with the Navajo – 1540

In 1493, the year after the discovery of the New World, Pope Alexander VI issued his famous Bull of Demarcation, in which Spanish explorers be gave to Spain all the undiscovered country of the Southwest lying beyond an imaginary line one hundred miles west of the Azores and the Cape Verde Islands. Upon this Spain based her claims to the New World.

Coronado Expedition Map

Coronado Expedition Map

Not until 1513 did European explorers venture into the interior of North America. Previous to this time they had merely touched upon the shores of the great western continent. The great beyond appeared to them dark, void, and impenetrable. Balboa in that year crossed the Isthmus of Panama, and six years later Cortez landed on the east coast of Mexico.
Don Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, Spanish Explorer, leads an expedition of soldiers from Mexico into the American southwest in search of gold. They arrive and discover the Hopis during the summer of 1540, where Navajos were already in the Hopi province.

Francisco Coronado

Francisco Coronado

The first recorded contact between Navajos and the Spanish invaders came in 1583 in the area of Dinetah.

An expedition led by Antonio de Espejo refers to the Querechos Indians near Mt. Taylor. The Spanish also at times referred to Navajos as “Apaches de Navajo,” leading to some confusion for future historians.

During this time and up to the recent past, Navajos were referred to as Apaches. At the time of the conquest, the word “Apache”, from the Zuñi “apachú” (enemy), their appellation for the Navajo, was used by the Spaniards to denote any hostile Indians.
Then the Spaniards named the Apache bands according to their traits or locale:

Mescalero, for the mescale gatherers, several tribes for the closest mountain,

“Apache de Jicarilla” for their baskets,

and the “Apache de Navaju” which they borrowed from the Tewa word – “Navaju” meaning “the arroyo with the cultivated fields.

The Navajo name for Spaniard is Nakai, meaning “those who wander around,” referring to the various expeditions that frequently came into Navajo country.
That the Navajos consider themselves the aristocrats of the southwest they tactily admit by calling themselves “Diné,” the People.

A Native American (Navajo) Family

A Native American (Navajo) Family

They are of Athapascan stock, and ethnologists are generally agreed that they came from the north, drifting into the area they now occupy less than a thousand years ago. In earliest historical times they were found wandering over what is now western New Mexico, eastern Arizona, and southern Utah and Colorado. Their present reservation, while much smaller than their original range, is in the same region.

Navajo legends in general bear out the supposition that they came from the north, except one very picturesque one which tells that the People came from the south, bringing their four sacred plants: tobacco, corn, squash, and beans.

Navajo Camp

Navajo Camp

They occupied all the country, but, finding the Pueblo people better fitted for agriculture, they generously gave them the valley lands and kept the high grassy uplands for themselves.

This legend has the great advantage of justifying the Navajo habit of appropriating the crops raised by the Pueblo people.

The Navajo also appropriated women when it suited him to do so, with the result that his race is probably a compound of all the southwestern Indian stocks, with accretions of Spanish blood, whatever racial amalgam the Spaniards had acquired in Mexico, and later additions from the American Army and American traders. What was most vigorous, most alluring, most enduring of all races the Navajo has apparently taken and made his own.

History of the Navajo

Ancient Navajo and Native Americans Migrations
First Contact with the Navajo – 1540
The Americans and the Navajo
The Mexicans and the Navajo
The Spanish and the Navajo
Navajo Long Walk to Bosque Redondo
Antonio el Pinto Chief of the Navajos

Domestic scene among the Navajo Indians

Native American (Navajo) women and men sit beside a summer hogan constructed of logs and brush, in Arizona or New Mexico. One woman weaves at a loom made of logs and sticks. Shows wool thread and woven rugs.

Domestic scene among the Navajo Indians

Domestic scene among the Navajo Indians

Date     1873
Notes     “Expedition of 1872, 1st Lieut. Geo. M. Wheeler. Corps of Engineers, Commanding.” printed on stereo card.; Descriptive information printed on label on verso reads: “Domestic scene among the Navajoe Indians. The women weaving blankets, and the “Lords” looking disdainfully on. The blankets seen are made from native wool, black and white.”; Formerly F6658, X-33054; Number “69” etched in original negative and reproduced in photographic print.; Stamp on verso shows eagle logo and reads: “War Department, Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army. Geographical and Geological Explorations and Surveys West of the 100th Meridian.”; Title, attribution and numbers: “No. 25” and “F. 69.” printed on label on verso.; Library owns additional iterations of this image in various formats: 1 photographic print ; 16 x 12 cm. (6 x 5 in.), 1 copy negative ; 18 x 13 cm. (7 x 5 in.); R7110073438
Physical Description     1 photographic print on stereo card : albumen, stereograph ; 10 x 18 cm. (4 x 7 in.

Navajo People Website Links:
Navajo Culture – Navajo History – Navajo Art – Navajo Clothing Navajo Pictures – Navajo Rugs – Navajo Language– Navajo Jewelry – Navajo Code Talker – Navajo Pottery – Navajo Legends – Hogan’s – Sand Painting – Navajo Food – Navajo News – Navajo Nation


Baby and Navajo woman interior of summer hogan

Baby and Navajo woman interior of summer hogan.Baby and Navajo woman interior of summer hogan.

Rights Restrictions applying to use or reproduction of this image available from the Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library

Native American (Navajo) woman and child sit inside a brush-covered summer hogan.

The woman holds a large piece of cloth; the child looks at a sheepskin. Sheepskins, a blanket, and other fur pelts lie on the floor.

Others hang from a wooden pole placed horizontally along the wooden pole and brush-covered walls of the hogan.

A pair of dark pants, possibly a dark shirt, and a leather ammunition belt hang from one of the horizontal poles. Date: 1908.

Navajo People Website Links:
Navajo CultureNavajo HistoryNavajo ArtNavajo Clothing Navajo PicturesNavajo RugsNavajo LanguageNavajo JewelryNavajo Code TalkerNavajo PotteryNavajo LegendsHogan’sSand PaintingNavajo Food Navajo NewsNavajo Nation