Ya’at’eeh

October 13, 2015

“Ya’at’eeh,” the traditional Navajo greeting actually means “All is well with me.” One reciprocates, if one is indeed well, so the absence of the phrase indicates a problem, meaning that care is needed on the part of the one asking. (No “how ‘ya doin,’bro'” here!)

In introducing one’s self, one gives a 4 part instructive introduction, including where he is from, who his father’s people are, his mother’s, his vocation, and finally his public name. A private name, known only to the “holy ones,” and revealed only at the time of his passing, is also who he is, as is the “familiar” name that one is called by others, based on his actions as observed by others. The Navajo archeologist, speaker at Washington College’s Hotchkiss Hall, gave us this information during his talk last night. He told us that he is known as “the one white men follow” because of his work as a young man as a tour guide.

Greetings are important, as is one’s heritage and place in the world, who he is, what his being is. Hospitality and a blending of identities is key, and was especially important to me as I wondered how to best identify, then appropriately blend our cultures and personas as I became his B&B host the following day. “Hmm. What to do….?” I wondered. So of course it all came down to cookies.

I googled “Navajo Cookies” and a Native American cornmeal cookie seemed like the best bet. It contained maple syrup (which was hailed as being precious to Native Americans) and also pine nuts. Since Will, the speaker and our guest-to-be, was born in “the place under the pinion trees,” that seemed pretty much perfect. So now the house smells like sweet cornmeal and I’m ready for them for whenever they arrive. 🙂 I’ll greet them with “Ya’at’eeh,” and offer them a blend of cornmeal cookies (which I hope resemble something they know!) and a few chocolate chip cookies of mine. I think it’ll work.

And so another chapter is added to my life’s work of finding out the answer to the question, “What are your favorite cookies???” For when it all boils down, that doesn’t just mean I’m a cook. Cookies are a gateway into all things important. I’m just a facilitator, a spokesman and a person, hopefully, whose arms are open wide – holding cookies and whatever else happens to come along.

Comments

Comments are closed.

Location, Location, Location.

You might notice the WAC Administration Building cupola out of the corner of your eye as you walk onto Simply Bed & Bread's brick path, since our house is just a stone's throw away from the college. Or it might be the ...
Continue reading »