A family by any other name

One of the ways we can help our children appreciate other cultures (and avoid stereotyping) is to help them see how much we all share with one another. How much we are the same. Everyone has a mom and dad, aunts and uncles, etc. We just use different words. Here is an introduction to Navajo words for family members.

We are all connected, born into a very specific constellation of relatives. Work with your child to build a family map – with pictures and new words for that relationship. Start with words from your family’s heritage – and build from there.

Occasionally refer to Aunt Maria as Tia Maria or Shibizhi Maria. Learn and try together. You can hear how to pronounce the words here. Try putting place cards at the dinner table with just the words – not the names – to see if people can find the right seat. Kids will be so proud to know the right answers before the adults do. Let them teach – and serve as ambassadors.

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