Navajo people use a lot of sayings and expressions in daily life which offer advice and even sometimes have hidden meanings.
Check out these proverbs and quotes below to gain some insight into Navajo beliefs and ways of thinking.
Below I’ve listed famous Navajo quotes, inspiring Navajo sayings and common Navajo proverbs.
Famous Navajo Proverbs & Navajo Sayings
Below I’ve listed the most famous Navajo proverbs as well as some common Navajo sayings. These are used often in day to day life.
- Thoughts are like arrows, once released they strike their mark. Guard them well or one day you may be your own victim.
This Navajo proverb means that you should be careful about what you say. Control your thoughts, especially unkind ones, as words can hurt people.
- Certain things catch your eye but pursue only those that capture the heart.
- I grew up knowing it’s wrong to have more than you need. It means you’re not taking care of your people.
This Navajo proverb highlights the importance of sharing what you have and taking care of others.
- You cannot see the future with tears in your eyes.
This Navajo proverb means that you cannot move forward if you focus on the past.
- When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, strike first.
- Always assume your guest is tired, cold and hungry, and act accordingly.
- A rocky vineyard does not need a prayer, but a pick ax.
This Navajo proverb teaches the importance of hard work rather than prayer.
- If you want to see what your body will look like tomorrow, look at your thoughts today.
- You cannot wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.
This Navajo quote about life means that it is difficult to tell people something they are choosing not to see.
- The coyote is always out there waiting, and the coyote is always hungry.
This Navajo proverb teaches us that bad things and bad people are always going to be out there and they’re always waiting for the opportunity to do something bad.
- One rain does not make a crop.
This Navajo proverb means that you have to consistently work hard to achieve something great.
- There is nothing as eloquent as a rattlesnake’s tail.
- Those who tell the stories, rule the people.
- Don’t snap off ears of corn before they are ripe.
This native American proverb is similar to the English version ‘don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched’. You shouldn’t presume that things will work out.
Beautiful Navajo Quotes & Navajo Proverbs
Below I’ve listed a range of famous and inspirational Navajo quotes as well as more Navajo proverbs.
- Be still and the earth will speak to you.
- We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
- The mountains, I become a part of it. The morning mists, the clouds, the gathering waters, I become a part of it.
- Before me peaceful, behind me peaceful, under me peaceful, over me peaceful, all around me peaceful.
- All who have died are equal.
This famous Navajo saying about death teaches us that in the end we are all the same.
- With beauty before me I walk, with beauty behind me I walk, with beauty beneath me I walk, with beauty above me I walk, with beauty all around me I walk.
- I am one with the Earth.
- If a man is as wise as a serpent, he can afford to be as harmless as a dove.
- When a man moves away from nature his heart becomes hard.
- I have been to the end of the earth, I have been to the end of the waters, I have been to the end of the sky, I have been to the end of the mountains, I have found none that are not my friends.
This famous Navajo quote on life is about man’s relationship to nature and the lands he travels.
- When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.
- There is a way out of every dark mist, over a rainbow trail.
This native American quote means that we can always find a way out of every hardship that we face.
- One needs to suffer a bit in order to achieve something great.
- You can’t win them all.
- I see the Earth, I am looking at her and smile because she makes me joyful and the Earth is also looking back at me and smiling.
- Man’s law changes with his understanding of man. Only the laws of the spirit remain always the same.
- A spear is a big responsibility.
- The Earth is beautiful, its feet, they are beautiful, its legs, they are beautiful, its body, it is beautiful, its chest, it is beautiful, its breath, it is beautiful, its head-feather, it is beautiful, the Earth is beautiful.
- The mountains – I become part of it. The flowers, the evergreen tree – I become part of it. The morning moisture, the clouds, the bodies of water – I become part of it. The wilderness, the water drops, the pollen – I become part of it.
This beautiful native American quote from a Navajo chant expresses the important Navajo value of being close to nature.
Best Navajo Idioms & Navajo Expressions
Below I’ve listed the most well-known Navajo idioms and expressions. Many of these have hidden meanings.
- Yił ahidíltléé’
This Navajo idiom literally means ‘stuck together with him/her’. It is actually used to say a person is someone’s best friend.
- Naa’ółí naalzhoodí
This old Navajo idiom literally means ‘moving the beans around’. It actually means that you are playing bingo.
It originates back to when people used to use beans to cover the numbers when playing bingo.
- Áłt’ąą la’ hóníí’ ‘o’oołts’id
This Navajo saying literally means ‘his/her face caved in’. The true meaning is that someone has been insulted and has been left speechless.
- Béésh ntsikeesí
This Navajo expression literally means ‘the metal that thinks’ however it is actually used to say ‘computer’.
- Yiik’ih dah sizí
This Navajo saying literally means ‘he/she is standing on top of it’ but it actually means that a person is in a deep sleep.
- Biyaa niséłt’į’
This Navajo idiom literally means ‘I adjusted my belt underneath it’ however it is actually used to tell someone that you are full or you ate a lot.
- Bich’áayaa íí’áhí
This Navajo saying literally means ‘the one that sticks up from under his/her armpit’. This phrase is actually used to refer to someone’s girlfriend or boyfriend.
It describes the way that couples often walk around with one arm over the shoulder of the other.
- Béésh bee hane’é
This idiom literally means ‘the metal by which you talk’ however it is actually used to refer to a phone or telephone.
Thanks for reading this post on the best Navajo quotes about life, famous Navajo sayings and fascinating Navajo proverbs.
These Navajo quotes & sayings give an interesting insight into the Navajo beliefs and language.