Traditional Navajo names: Hashké Haayá, Taazbaa’

Navajo mother and infant, early 1940s

A couple of years ago, YouTuber Daybreakwarrior created an interesting video about various types of Navajo names. (The video is embedded below.)

The first type of name he talks about is the traditional Navajo “warrior” name.

So my grandma says the reason why that some people have these types of names is because it gives them strength.

For males, warrior names start with Hashké (pronounced hush-keh), which literally means “angry,” but in the context of names means “warrior.” For females, warrior names end with Baa’ (pronounced bah) meaning “raider” or “female warrior.”

Male Names

  • Hashké Ahoo’nil, means “warrior who advances” in Navajo
  • Hashké Dilwo’ii, means “running warrior” in Navajo
  • Hashké Haayá, means “warrior who came out” (of something, like out of a canyon) in Navajo
  • Hashké Naabaah, means “warrior who raids” in Navajo
  • Hashké Neiniihí, means “warrior who hands things out” in Navajo
  • Hashké Yil Naabaah, means “fights with anger” in Navajo

Female Names

  • Ádeezbaa’, means “she leads the raid” in Navajo
  • Ahééníbaa’, means “she raided in a circular formation” in Navajo
  • Bíjiibaa’, means “they met her in a raid” in Navajo
  • Ch’íníbaa’, means “she came out raiding” in Navajo
  • Taazbaa’, means “she raided among them” in Navajo

The story he tells about the man named Hashké Neiniihí (starts at 1:39 in the video) is touching:

There was one famous warrior, he was from [the] Monument Valley area. And when the Navajos went on the Long Walk, and when they came back, they came back with nothing.

And he was one of the people that stayed behind. And when people were coming back from the Long Walk with nothing, he gave out his cattle, he was giving out cattle, so they could replenish their cattle from them.

So his name was Hashké Neiniihí, “the warrior who handed out things,” Hashké Neiniihí. So his name was probably different, and when he started giving out things, they changed his name, Hashké Neiniihí.

Here’s the video:

Daybreakwarrior’s own Navajo name, Hashké Yilkaigo Ííyá, means, unsurprisingly, “daybreak warrior.” His grandmother chose the name for him because he was born early in the morning.

P.S. Navajo, like Polish, has an “L with a stroke” in its alphabet. Unfortunately, I had to de-stroke all those L’s in this post because they don’t render properly on my site.

Image: Navajo Woman and Infant, Canyon de Chelle, Arizona (early 1940s) by Ansel Adams, via NARA

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