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About

Click Here to read The Navajo Times article on Navajo Now.

Yá’át’ééh! My name is Krystle Seschillie. I am Navajo/Diné originally from New Mexico. Like many of my generation and background I feel a great responsibility to learn Navajo and to help my people. I have always heard Navajo is one of the most difficult languages and is likewise almost impossible to learn. I don’t believe this to be true. I think Navajo is complex, but not impossible.

In 2009, I decided to make a serious attempt to learn Navajo and I sought out resources. I wanted to explore the least expensive route of learning the Navajo language. After I found programs and books that charge quite a bit of money I searched the internet for free language resources. At the time, I didn’t find many. And although I did find a few resources, webpages no longer existed, had broken links, or had not been updated in years.

This is when I decided I wanted to make a contribution to the Navajo language learning community. Since then I have done quite a bit of digging and found less commonly known Navajo video, audio, and printed resources (often free) which I have reviewed and linked on this very blog.

So this is my ongoing project: Learn to speak, write, listen, and read in the Navajo language, document my progress and methods,  find online resources to study, develop my own resources for studying and maintaining proficiency, and make these materials available to the public. I want to also encourage this tech savvy generation to use their skills and interests to increase the amount of Navajo content available on the internet for language learners.


I invite anyone interested to join me in a race to keep the Navajo language, or any other endangered language, from being completely lost.
Although I focus on Navajo, the methods and technological tools covered in this blog can also be used for many other endangered indigenous languages.
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Contact Info:
If there are any kind of questions or inquires please visit the Contact page or email me at krystle@navajonow.com

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31 Comments leave one →
  1. John Hancock permalink
    February 16, 2011 2:23 am

    akeha. great blog!

  2. Carmen CB permalink
    May 6, 2011 10:00 pm

    Hi! I was excited to find your blog as I was doing a websearch on “navajo blogs” to make boredom retreat. As recently as a week ago, I dedicated myself to teaching myself Dine’ Bizaad. Like most Navajos of my generation (b.1982), I grew up hearing the language being spoken around me, but was rarely engaged in dialogue. Therefore, I am able to comprehend about 80% of the language when it’s spoken to me, but I have a heck of a time trying to string together the words I know to make a correct sentence. I just know baby Navajo. heh Enough to barely get me by. Anyhoo, I look forward to keeping up with your progress and I hope to share mine from time to time. Forgive me for not having the Navajo font installed but I’m sure you’ll understand what I’m trying to get across:

    Kinlichii’nii nishli. Lok’aa’ Dine’e bashishchiin. Honaghaahnii da shi chei. Ye’ii Dine’e Tachii’nii da shi nali. Ak’oteego dine’ asdzaa nishli. Todineeshzhee’ ayisii dee nasha. Carmen yinishye, and it’s great to meet you! :)

    • May 6, 2011 11:00 pm

      I’m glad to have you along for the ride, Carmen. I love that name. Hopefully I can be of some assistance to you. You will discover the link for the Navajo keyboard to install on your computer in the links page, but I’ll save you the search and post it here. http://www.languagegeek.com/dene/keyboards/romdene.html
      Scroll down to American South-West Athabaskan and download the file and view the instructions for installation. I look forward to any comments or suggestions you might have.

  3. May 22, 2011 7:25 am

    Krystal,
    Great site. I am very excited that you have taken it upon yourself to create a resource for those interested in Navajo. Too often this sort of work is left to universities and I for one think a more grassroots approach is better. Your contribution here is great. Keep up the good work and I’ll be glad to send people your way and use you as an example to encourage others to step up and make the language resources they are looking for.

    I’ve done something similar for Turkish: The Turkish Listening Library.

    -Aaron

    • June 1, 2011 1:54 pm

      Aaron,

      Your listening library is very well done. It is a good reference for an audio resource I am trying to construct.

      I really like the sound of “Grassroots”. Hopefully there are others that will use their talents and creativity to continue to build resources for learning Navajo. I’ve decided that it will not be the education system that revitalizes and preserves this language. The people will have to do it.

  4. Carmen CB permalink
    June 17, 2011 3:19 pm

    Hi Krystal,

    Thanks again for this wonderful online resource that you have developed for those harboring a desire to learn Dine Bizaad! I wanted to shoot an idea to you through email, but realized that I can only communicate with you through this comment area. I’ve left my email address in the comment form, and look forward to receiving a response from you so I can tell you more about this idea that I would like to work on with you.

    Thanks for your time!

    Carmen

  5. Gabrielle Allan permalink
    July 21, 2011 11:48 am

    I recently have become serious about learning Navajo and this website has some awesome tools! I too have looked for inexpensive sources and found very little. Thanks so much for putting this together. I know I appreciate it. :)

    • July 30, 2011 10:49 am

      Your welcome. I am still digging around for more things that help everyone.

  6. Irvinson Jones permalink
    July 23, 2011 12:39 pm

    Ya’at’eeh Shi deezhi Krystle. Read the artical in the Navajo Times about your brave quest to learn one of the top five hardest languages in the world–our own Navajo Language. I myself am a teacher of Navajo Language, can speak fluently in Navajo/ English. Navajo was perhaps my first language growing up, now I prefer to speak Navajo first, Eng. second–just natural I guess. I have since learned to write and read our beautifully complex language and have accumulated many helpful resources; but the best resource is learning from a speaker of the Navajo Language–resources tend to be to technical to learn fluenently. Just thought I’d encourage you to keep learning. Hagoonee’

    • July 30, 2011 11:00 am

      Thank you for the encouragement. Yes it would be great to have access to a fluent speaker to learn. Until then I will try to see if it actually possible to learn without being back on the Reservation. If you have any suggestions to help me, or Navajo Now readers, please let me know.

  7. erose permalink
    July 26, 2011 12:57 pm

    I think this is pretty awesome. As I have been married to my Navajo wife for 18 yrs I have not yet learned to speak Navajo. I would love to finally learn and pass it on to our children. Have you thought about setting up some sort of Google+ account and setting up a hangout where there can be some sort of live audio/video chat learning of the Navajo language?

    • July 30, 2011 11:07 am

      I am not yet familiar with Google+, I will look into it. It sounds like a good idea. There is something that the Na’vi pages use for conversation I wanted to check into as well.

  8. July 28, 2011 4:02 pm

    Hi! I’m from Spain and I’m starting to learn Cheyenne language right now, and there are even less free sources in the web… go on with Navajo, it sounds great!

    • July 30, 2011 11:22 am

      Wow. Spain, and your learning Cheyenne. Very cool. I will try some of the same outlets that I have found some of the resources here and see if I can come up with something.

  9. September 19, 2011 5:59 am

    Krystle…I am Navajo and first came across your blog through the Navajo Times article. I am very impressed with your efforts to provide excellent resources to those that have an interest in learning the Navajo language. I will admit that I have taken the time and effort to become fluent in Spanish, but have yet to learn and master the Navajo language. Whenever I return to the the Rez, I can only piece meal what is being said by the elders and those that speak fluent Navajo. I commend you on your efforts and have subscribed to your blog as a wonderful reference for myself and a reminder that I too need to learn my own native tongue!

    • September 28, 2011 10:50 pm

      I’ve read your blog as well. I think you site popped up when I searched “Navajo” in WordPress. I’m glad you found my blog, I hope you can dedicate more time to learning in the future. It is time consuming, and not as easy as Spanish. I plan to have this blog up for as long as I can, so you and others can refer back to it. Also, thanks for you commendation. I didn’t think I would ever get much of a following, but the newspaper article really helped in reaching more people to help with their language study.

  10. September 27, 2011 11:25 pm

    Hi Krystle,
    Great to see you take on this task. Interesting to see the sort of things you are doing. I thought you might be interested to check out some of the articles I have written on language learning. The bare bones of it is that if you try to drink soup with a fork, you are destined for failure. What fails really is the tool not you! :-) So the trick is to find the tools that work. That is what I am on about. Providing the tools that can transform everybody’s language learning. http://www.strategiesinlanguagelearning.com
    Be interested to hear what you think.
    All the best!
    Andrew

  11. December 22, 2011 3:35 am

    This is great, your work is really important!
    Keep it up.
    xx Layinka

  12. Zoe permalink
    December 20, 2012 9:21 pm

    This is such an awesome blog. I can’t believe how much information you have on here. I downloaded the Rosetta Stone for Navajo and work on it on and off, but seeing other resources out there is always strong motivation to get back to work.

    day̓ hał! That’s Puget Salish for very good.

    • December 20, 2012 10:27 pm

      I’m so glad you like the blog. It has taken quite a bit of time to find everything and organize it for those interested in the language. I really hope as more individuals become aware of my work there will be more language learning blogs for other indigenous languages in the future.

  13. Elliot K. Bryant permalink
    April 3, 2013 9:19 am

    Nineteen years ago, I tried to relearn Navajo conversationally. Now, it’s time to share life’s values in Navajo to the younger Navajo males and non-Navajos. I always come across Navajos that busily occupied in their affairs to be interested in sharing their knowledge to the younger Navajos. Many of them feel reluctant to share, I guess it’s part of Navajo tradition, of not sharing too much knowledge.

  14. Tony permalink
    November 24, 2013 6:48 am

    Hello,
    Please send me information as to where I can start to learn the Navajo language. I believe that as an American it is a duty to learn at least on language of the indiginous people.
    Thank you

  15. January 28, 2014 8:12 pm

    I would apreciat any help in learning my language navajo I am in cali no navajo speakers my father went to the bording school doesn speak it ddnt even tell me who I was til he was 74 I want my grand children to kno the proud people they desended from

  16. March 5, 2014 11:53 am

    I really appreciate all your work and love what you have done. My boys are currently attending a Navajo bilingual school and we are in the pursuit of learning our language together. I understand a lot, but I can’t speak fluently. I love to read and write in Navajo. Thank you for all you are doing!

  17. Pacheco permalink
    April 18, 2014 3:22 pm

    I am trying to learn as well n not to gopod with a computer I need help where do I look for info

  18. ValEdgewater permalink
    July 28, 2015 9:47 am

    Thank you for the resources. I am will begin teaching some courses in my community, and I appreciate all that you have gathered. Axe hee’.

  19. Stephen Clausen permalink
    August 6, 2015 6:22 pm

    I recently met a wonderful woman who is of the Navajo Nation. My grandmother was ful blood Ojibwa and I want very much to learn to be a part of my loves culture. I would like to learn to speak and understand her native tounge. If you have learning devices to help I would greatly appreciate your input. Thanks Steve.

  20. May 2, 2016 1:50 pm

    Just listened to an NPR piece on efforts to keep the Navajo language alive. I am saddened that so many Native languages are in danger of disappearing forever once the elders die. I applaud your efforts to keep Navajo alive.

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