An Illustrated Dictionary of Navajo Landscape Terms

by David M. Mark (Volume editor) David Stea (Volume editor) Carmelita Topaha (Volume editor)
©2019 Textbook XVIII, 98 Pages


The Navajo language (Diné bizaad) has a vocabulary of landscape terms that allows speakers to communicate about their environment. This book documents that vocabulary and provides photographic illustration of many of the terms. The meanings of these terms seldom match the English-language terms one-to-one. Terms include explicit reference to earth materials such as water or rock/stone. Rather than alphabetically, this book is organized by material and form categories.
This dictionary is a valuable resource for language preservation in schools and elsewhere, and for linguists, anthropologists, geographers, and earth scientists interested in indigenous conceptualization of landscape and environment.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Figures
  • Saad Ałtsé Si’ánígíí (Preface)
  • Project History
  • A Note on the Methodology
  • Acknowledgments
  • The Organization of This Book
  • Section 1: Water-related Features
  • Section 2: Elongated Depressions
  • Section 3: Open Spaces, Gaps, and Holes
  • Section 4: Elevations and Rock Formations
  • Section 5: World, Land, Place
  • Section 6: Vegetation
  • Section 7: Earth Materials
  • Index to Navajo-language Terms
  • Index to English-language Terms

| vii →


Note: All photographs taken by David M. Mark or are from Wikimedia or the U.S. Government;
Photographs © David M. Mark 2018

Tooh, the San Juan River near Mexican Hat, Utah

Tó nílį́ in Canyon de Chelly

The open ocean, viewed from shore

ʼAdahiilį́ or ʼAdahiilíní (Grand Falls in English) on the Little Colorado River, an example of tó hadah dadeezlį́. Source of photo: Wikipedia

Beʼekʼid in the Chuska Mountains

An example of a chʼínílį̨́ near Fruitland, New Mexico

Tééh, a natural pool on the flat rocks above Canyon de Chelly

An example of nahoditsʼǫʼ near Sanostee

Example of dah nahwii ʼeeł near The Hogback, San Juan Chapter

Chaco Wash, New Mexico, near where it joins the San Juan River

A smaller bikooh, Tóhdildoní Wash, just northeast of the town of Navajo, New Mexico

Little Colorado River Canyon, Arizona

Crow Canyon, a side canyon off Largo Canyon in Dinétah, the Navajo homeland

Canyon de Chelly, Arizona

A small “dry wash” in Dinétah, off Largo Canyon

Nástłʼah at the head of a side canyon in Upper Fruitland← vii | viii →

Binííʼ dah hastłʼah refers to more than one cove. The formation shown here is just south of Window Rock, Arizona

halgai, just south of Shiprock pinnacle, looking south from the road to Cove

Open country along Highway 264, east of Tuba City, Arizona


ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2019 (February)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2019. XVIII, 98 pp., 44 color ill.

Biographical notes

David M. Mark (Volume editor) David Stea (Volume editor) Carmelita Topaha (Volume editor)

David M. Mark, Ph.D., is SUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Geography at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He was one of the founders of the fields of geographic information science and cognitive geography. He has written almost 250 published articles, chapters, or books. David Stea, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Geography and International Studies at Texas State University, San Marcos, and Research Associate at the Center for Global Justice (Mexico). He is a co-founder of environmental psychology. His books include Image and Environment, Maps in Minds, Environmental Mapping, and Placemaking. Carmelita Topaha is a member of the Navajo Nation, Newcomb Chapter. She has a B.A. in anthropology from Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado. She has worked as a consulting anthropologist, archaeologist, or ethnographer on a variety of projects.


Title: An Illustrated Dictionary of Navajo Landscape Terms
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118 pages