Navajo-No-No

, , | Learning | June 7, 2017

(This is a story my father told me about my granddad. My granddad used to work for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, teaching shop classes at boarding schools on reservations. The first part of this story takes place just outside of Carson City, Nevada, on a Navajo reservation. A couple of teenage boys approach my granddad during his shop class.)

Boys: “Mr. [Granddad], if you’re teaching Navajo kids, you should learn to speak at least a little Navajo! You want us to teach you some?”

Granddad: “Sure, boys. I think that’d be mighty handy.”

(For the next few weeks, the boys teach my grandfather a word or phrase of Navajo each day. One day, one of the Navajo women who works at the school comes to visit Granddad’s class.)

Granddad: *rips off one of the ‘Navajo greetings’ he’s been taught*

Navajo Employee: *puffs up and goes all red in the face* “MR. [Granddad]! WHO TAUGHT YOU THAT?! NEVER SAY THAT AGAIN!”

(Suddenly, all of Granddad’s students were very busy with their projects.)

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