Skip to content

Star Wars is coming to a theater near you!

September 20, 2013
theater navajo

Credit: Fernando de Sousa

The Navajo Nation Museum FB page has posted a list of days and locations of the Navajo dubbed Star Wars screenings for the next few months.

You will have to contact the venue to see what a ticket is going to cost you. Looks like there is plenty of time to fit this into you calendar.

In preparation for the screening I will be watching Star Wars in English maybe 2 or 3 times to familiarize myself with the story line. It has been awhile since I have seen the film.  Warning:  If you are going to see this movie for the very first time and don’t know any Navajo you are going to be bored. A little bit of preparation can help you get the most out of your experience.




Here is the list of shows from the FB page:

Tempe, AZ
Friday or Saturday October 5 , Arizona State University

Phoenix, AZ
Sunday October 6, The Heard Museum

Albuquerque, NM
Friday October 11 The Kimo Theater

Salt Lake City, UT
Friday October 18 Utah Museum of Natural History

Denver, CO
Saturday October 19 Sie FilmCenter

Washington, DC
Friday November 1 National Museum of the American Indian

New York City NY
Sunday November 3 National Museum of the American Indian

San Francisco, CA
Wednesday November 6 American Indian Film Festival

Los Angeles, CA
Saturday November 9 Red Nations Film Festival

Star Wars Dubbing

May 10, 2013



I was very surprised to see a press release by the Navajo Nation Museum about the dubbing of Star Wars into Navajo! The press release, I believe, can be seen here. According to the release the movie it to premiere at  the Fourth of July Celebration & PRCA ProRodeo in Window Rock, Az. I am going to try and make it to the premiere. Here is a KOAT news report on the Star Wars Auditions held on May 4th.

I am so excited at the prospect of future projects that may come out of this. No mainstream movie has ever been dubbed in Navajo, or any other North American indigenous language that I know of. I really hope that the Navajo Nation will see that there is an interest in Navajo language entertainment. I am glad to see that Director of the Navajo Nation Museum, Manuelito Wheeler, sought out this venture to preserve the Navajo language.

On the choice of movie. It’s an interesting choice, Star Wars. But it is a good choice because everyone is familiar with it. Translating the sci-fi movie will have its challenges. How do you say lightsaber, republic, or Jedi? The real question is… Would you know what they were talking about if you heard the translation? I think this is great opportunity to show how flexible our language is and that we can use it modernly. I hope there are minimal gripes about how this is may “decay the sanctity” of the Navajo language. This is a good, no… great, undertaking.

For future information on the dubbing and screenings visit the Navajo Nation Museum Facebook Page. 


Follow these on Facebook

April 17, 2013


I had the most interesting experience not too long ago on Facebook. I was perusing the Navajo Language Renaissance page for any new information that I could share with everyone when I started reading comments.

I read the post and comments you see to the left. Although I didn’t understand the post completely, I understood what the comment was saying. It’s a simple phrase and I’m sure you can catch the meaning.

I’ve decided that it is a good practice to read through the comments to see the conversation that continues. I pick up new vocabulary this way. Here are a few other Facebook pages and groups you might be interested in:

Dine Bizaad Immersion Camp – Information about upcoming language immersion camp opportunities

Navajo WOTD – Daily words and occasional cultural insight

Navajo Word of the Day – Commonly used words, phrases, sentences

Dine Bizaad – NAU students learning the Navajo language & culture

Waashindoon Dine Bizaad – Navajo language club in the Washington D.C. area

Navajo Language Renaissance – non-profit working to revitalize the Navajo language, provides Navajo-only postings.

Situational, Interactional, and Meta Navajo

March 6, 2013

situational navajoFrom what I have seen in the stats it looks like the resource I am highlighting today does not get the traffic it deserves.

The Navajo Language Academy has made Situational Navajo, Interactional Navajo, and Meta available online. They are part of a collection Professor Ken Hale bequeathed to the Navajo Language Academy, Inc.  I didn’t get a real opportunity to look at these until I had some free time. I am glad I finally did. These are amazing! You would not realize that from the look of it.

These documents are all very useful, but I want to make sure that everyone is especially introduced to Interactional Navajo and Meta Navajo.

The introduction to Interactional Navajo states that, “This is language that might occur in any of a number of different situations  It is the language that enables one to communicate personal wants and feelings to others.” For a beginning Navajo student this will be very helpful, especially if the student is already working with a fluent speaker directly. While there are plenty of examples to draw from Interactional Navajo, I decided instead to give you a sample run down of some of the sections listed in the Table of Contents:

   Expressing Agreement
Expressing Understanding
Offering to Help
Stating Warning
Inquiring about Forgetting
Inquiring Whether Something is Possible
Expressing Need
Inquiring About Difficulty
Expressing Ease
Expressing Pleasure
Expressing Worry
Expressing Surprise
Expressing Sympathy
Stating Want
Expressing Boredom

Now for Meta NavajoMetaNavajo is the interactional Navajo that applies to language. As far as I can see all phrases in this section are associated with language acquisition questions. For example, if someone says something to quickly and you need to ask them to repeat the phrase…. this is where you find that phrase. Or if you want something to be said a bit slower. This is the document to use. Here are a few examples:
Dinék’ehjí ádíní /  Say it in Navajo.
______ ha’át’íí(sh) óolyé?   /  What is __ called? or What’s the meaning of__?
ha’át’íísh ááh yiłní? / What is he/she talking about?
hazhóó’ígo ádíní  /  Speak slowly (so I can understand you)
doo nidiists’a’a da  /   I can’t hear you, I don’t hear you.
If you are learning Navajo with a fluent speaker I would immediately go download and print this document to keep with you. Be sure to read the introduction. I wish there was a way to improve the format, but this will have to do for now.

“It’s worthwhile to greet people and initiate conversation in Navajo”

February 27, 2013
Credit: kayveeinc

Flickr credit: kayveeinc

My title today comes from the preface of Interactional Navajo. Simply greeting others  to encourage Navajo language usage was a concept I had thought of a few months ago. How many individuals on the reservation actually initiate their conversations in Navajo anymore? 

Referring to my Spanish language experience, if an individual initiates a conversation with Hola, Mucho gusto…. I am inclined to respond in Spanish and the conversation continues in Spanish.  We need more of this in Navajo. Depending on the language ability of the two conversing individuals it will continue for a deferential amount of time.  But the goal is not to see how long people continue, we want to encourage everyone to use the Navajo they do know.

If I ever get the chance I want to initiate some random Navajos in conversation with Navajo salutations. It won’t matter their speaking level or knowledge, I just want to see what their response will be. Will they continue to follow suit? Will they switch to English? If anyone else wants to take this idea and run with it, do it. Let’s experiment.

It makes me think of how different our language situation might be if we all initiated conversations in Navajo.

Note: Sorry for the break in posts. The new year has been interestingly frustrating. I have plenty to continue to share with everyone through Navajo Now, and I should be posting regularly from now on.

Interview with Orson – Wááshindoon Diné bizaad group member

December 29, 2012

Orson J. is originally from the small community of Twin Lakes, New Mexico. He grew up on the rez, attended college at New Mexico Tech then moved to the east coast. He now resides in the Maryland/DC Metropolitan Area where he works as an engineer designing and building satellites and participates in the Wááshindoon Diné bizaad group.

1. What is your earliest memory of the Navajo language?

My earliest memory would be my childhood. Growing up, my family was always talking Navajo.

2. When did you decide to study/learn Navajo? How long have you been learning/studying?

I always wanted to learn/study but decided when I moved away from the “Rez.” I have been studying off and on throughout my life.

3. What kind of challenges do you face as you have been learning?

I can understand it better than I can speak it.

4. What level of fluency did you have when you started studying/learning? What level of fluency do you have now?

Early childhood I could speak and understand but over the years I drifted away from speaking it. When I hear it I can understand it. Now I’m starting out as a beginner.

5. What is your ultimate goal with the language?

To speak it fluently, carry a conversation with my elders.

6. I personally have a wish list of types of media I would like to see mainstream in Navajo, what is something you would want on your Navajo Learning WishList?

More smartphone apps. I rather like to hear/speak it rather than learn the grammar/spelling

7. There are quite a few Navajos wanting to learn Navajo but probably don’t know where to begin. What do you suggest they do to begin?

I am in the same situation. If I was back on the rez it would be easier since family speaks it, but away from the rez I would suggest Rosetta Stone. I am new to it. The Dine Bizaad group, we found that Rosetta stone was an easier way of learning. Then again there are also Navajo classes in college and in high school. I would recommend taking such classes if available.

8. For those who are fluent or have a level of speaking fluency, what do you think they should do to either maintain that fluency or improve it?

I can’t think of any other way to maintain the language other than speaking and hearing it.

9. What kind of materials do you use, etc.?

Now, Rosetta Stone, local Navajo radio stations using the internet, and family. I try to talk to family in Navajo.

10. What should fluent speakers of the language be doing to help this generation who wants to learn?

Back to question 8. Speak it fluently, encourage the younger generation to maintain and keep the language. Teach that it is important to maintain. At one point in our history it helped save this country. We, as a people, have to keep that.

11. What kind of advice or words of encouragement do you have for Navajo language learners?

Keep trying. I am still learning and I still want to learn. I know there are many things I can learn from my elders who only know Navajo.

New volunteer translation projects

December 8, 2012

4/2020 Update: Mozilla project is no longer available. Facebook project is still possible see update click on the link below to view in the Facebook post. 

There are an increasing number of volunteer opportunities for Navajo speakers in the Navajo language community. I’ve mentioned a few before: Facebook, Rhinospike, and Google in You Language. (By the way, we could always use more help with Facebook to speed up the process. Email me if you want to help out.)

Today,  I’d like to mention a few other Navajo language projects that have been brought to my attention.

Mozilla, web browser  
Volunteer translator Akerbeltz has informed me that translation of Mozilla into Navajo has already started and that they could use some more help to move along the process. Go to: – language learning wiki
Not so much a program, but a learning community. Some people expressed an interest in learning some vocabulary, so I’ve started everyone on Navajo phrases. Anyone can add content just go to to create a new course. A full review of is coming soon.

LibreOffice, word processor, spreadsheets, etc
This is an open source alternative to Microsoft Office. Akerbeltz has said this is also a prime candidate for translation. Although I have no link for everyone just yet, I will keep a close eye on this. In the mean time, if you would like to download the program and start thinking of Navajo translations go to:

VLC mini – media player
This another that has not commenced, but I will keep a close eye on it.

There are, of course, more opportunities for Navajo speakers to volunteer than non-Navajo speakers. But hopeful that is going to change very soon. In the meantime, I will added a link and page with all volunteer opportunities for Navajo speakers and non-speakers if they are interested.

New App: Navajo Keyboard

December 4, 2012

NavKeyboard app 3With the help of Twitter I have discovered a new useful Navajo app. The Navajo Keyboard app is just that, a keyboard to type in Navajo. The default iPhone/iPod keyboard has some functionality as a Navajo keyboard, but doesn’t have the nasal marks for any of the vowels. Accents are plentiful because of their frequency in other languages, but nasal-less vowels leave Navajo writers at a disadvantage.

The app is free and it works great, but it takes some getting use to. The biggest drawback is that it is not integrated directly into the default iPhone/iPod keyboard. Nope, this is a completely separate app.The app functions as a sort of notepad and keyboard. Type what you want and use it where you want. The app does allow you to send your text via email, send IMs, and post as a tweet. It looks like posts to Facebook can be made from the preview images on the app page, I don’t use Facebook on my iPod so I can’t confirm this. For any other use the text must be typed in the app, copied, switch apps and paste into a text field of your choice.

Now this is only for iPhone/iPod users. Someone mentioned on Twitter that Droid has something already, but with not having a Droid product at my disposal it is difficult to verify this. If there is any one else that would like to find, test, and review the Droid counterpart let me know. In the meantime, go and check out the app .

There a few Navajo keyboard options to use on both iOS and Android phones.
Navajo Keyboard iOS
Navajo Keyboard Plugin Google Play store
Dine/Eng Keyboard Google Play store