Saturday, 18 February 2012

Yá'át'ééh! (Welcome in Navajo)

This week, I chose to study the Navajo website The Navajo People.

I chose the Navajo tribe to look at this week, because I feel they are the most prominent tribe and definitely more socially recognised in today's modern culture, second being the Sioux.
The Navajo is so relevant in today's society that fashion has taken a leaf out of the style books, and has created ranges based on the Navajo styles and colourings.

Speaking of Native American fashion, this website also has a section which fixates on Native American Jewelry. Usually Navajo jewelry is turquoise blue and silver, and Indian pottery is made of earthy tones - the website warns you, having some knowledge about American Indian Arts can help you get the most of your money when looking to buy for authenticity, because some unscrupulous retails will take your money in exchange for imitation American Indian arts and crafts.

Suprisingly, this website refers to their people as:
The Dine
American Indian
Native Indian
Native Americans

What do they want to be? What would they like us to call them? If they don't know, then how on earth are we meant to know either?

It wasn't until I found this website, I realised; Navajo People do not like being called Navajo People. They are The Dine. (DEENAY) This website is dedicated to the culture, traditions and beliefs of the Dine.
There is also extensive information on Navajo art, language, history, culture, jewelry, sand paintings, rugs, Code Talkers and The Long Navajo Walk.

The website looks into the Navajo language in depth, and even teaches the readers how to pronounce and conjugate verbs.
Navajo is apparently quite complex, with a large variety of noun classes. These include "animate", "round object", and "granular object". However, very simple verbs in Navajo translate into many words in the English language. For example:
Navajo: Si'
English: To cause a hafted object to move.

Mostly made up of what seems like assonance sounds, the website also gives a small translated list:
How do you do! Good. Yah'eh-teh'.
Affectionate greeting. Ah-hah-lah'nih.
Friend. Sih-kiss.'
Grandfather. Shih-chai.'
Grandmother. Shah-mah' tsah'nih.
Mister. Grown man. Hos-teen'.
Grown woman. Ah-dzah'nih.

Another section that fasinated me, because I had never broached the subject before, was Navajo foods. The traditional Navajo foods that are still eaten today mainly consist of corn and sheep, however alot of the traditional dishes are no longer eaten.

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