Chag atis adeesdzá bééhániih sameach to every person

The cover of the 2022 Salina Bookshelf, Inc. calendar
The cowl of the 2022 Salina Bookshelf, Inc. calendar (Courtesy of Salina Bookshelf)

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

If you’d like to vary up your Passover greeting this 12 months, you may strive it in Navajo. That could be atis adeesdzá bééhániih — Passover in Navajo — because it seems in a calendar revealed yearly showcasing Navajo and Hopi artists by the Flagstaff, Ariz.-based publishing home Salina Bookshelf, Inc.

Salina Bookshelf, based in 1994, is an unbiased writer of multicultural supplies which incorporates textbooks, kids’s image books, kids’s chapter books, informational texts, reference books, audiobooks and language studying supplies. They focus on twin language books in Navajo/English and Hopi/English and textbooks used to show the Navajo language in faculties.

Passover has been included within the calendar for a number of years, acknowledged Tyler Mitchell, government editor at Salina. However, he’s not precisely positive when it was initially added or who translated the phrase for the vacation into Navajo.

According to “Ethnologue: Languages of the World,” the Navajo language has 7,600 monolingual audio system and greater than 170,000 fluent audio system worldwide. There are some slight regional variations in pronunciation and vocabulary among the many language spoken in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

“It’s is in the 2022 calendar and we have been including it for quite a few years now,” Mitchell stated about Passover. “We have Christian holidays and Navajo Nation Treaty Day, which commemorates the Treaty of 1868 on June 1 every year.”

For the Navajo (Diné), the 1868 Treaty allowed a return to their ancestral homelands (Dinétah) and is a vital image of Navajo sovereignty, based on the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

“It’s an important holiday that commemorates when the U.S. government allowed the tribes to return to their homelands after having been displaced in ‘the Long Walk,’” Mitchell stated.

As far as he is aware of, Passover is the one Jewish vacation of their calendar.

“When we do our calendar, we find a list of holidays on the internet, include some of them and give Navajo names to them,” he stated.

For the previous a number of years, Albuquerque, N.M. resident Dr. Gordon Bronitsky, who acquired his Ph.D. in anthropology, has labored selling indigenous artisans. He has extensively studied Native American historical past and is an knowledgeable on Native American-Jewish relations, having labored on cultural diplomacy with the state division.

Bronitsky found the distinctive calendar and broke down the interpretation of atis adeesdzá bééhániih. “Atis is the act of moving over an object; it is the literal translation of ‘passing over an object,’” Bronitsky stated. “Adeesdzá is the act of walking and bééhániih is ‘its’ remembrance.’ Thus it is a literal translation of the term Passover.”

Bronitsky thinks the Jews and the Native Americans have a number of issues in frequent apart from the plain tribal social construction.

“We both are living in two worlds — the traditional and the contemporary,” he stated, “Both Jews and Native Americans understand this concept. I, for instance, am not the kind of Jew my grandfather was or the kind my grandchildren will be. The Navajo understand that.”

Bronitsky requested a Navajo tribal member to give you a Navajo phrase for “Jew,” and what they devised was “bich’ah yazhí Dine’e’” or “people who wear small hats.” On the opposite hand, the Navajo phrase for “German” interprets to “people who wear metal hats,” he stated.

He stated he hopes to create a panel dialogue with members of each tribes someday. “Native Americans who are Jewish and Jews who are Native American,” and ask, “What does it mean to belong to two tribes?”

The calendar is 9 inches by 12 inches and opens right into a double-page unfold that features an illustration from “one of the many children’s books illustrated by Navajo or Hopi artists showcased each month,” stated Mitchell.

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Rachel Raskin-Zrihen is a contract author residing in Anthem, Ariz.

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