Traditional Navajo Taboos

The Power of Language

Navajos have language taboos that reflect their respect for the power of words.

  1. Do not say "chindi" (evil spirit or one will come to you and do you harm.
  2. Do not use the name of a dead person because the ghost will come visit you and do you harm.
  3. Do not talk about someone you do not actually know because they might be dead and you will call them.
  4. Do not talk about killing yourself, because someone else in your family will die in your place.
  5. Do not thank people who help with a funeral because they will be the next to die.
  6. Do not pretend to pray or cry for no reason because someone in your family will die.  If you pray for no reason, then you are wishing for that to happen.
  7. Do not laugh or make joke at old people because some day you will be worse than them.
  8. Do not lie about yourself because bad things will come true.
  9. Do not say your own name too much or your ears will dry up.
  10. Do not use your own name because you will wear it our, or have bad luck, or your ears will fall off.
  11. Do not make up names for yourself or you will get a bad name.
  12. Do not tell your age because your will grow old faster.
  13. Do not brag about your valuable things or you will lose them.
  14. Do not criticize a poor family or you will get poorer than that family.
  15. Do not tell a person to go to hell because it might happen.
  16. Do not keep secrets from your grandmother or you will get old before your time.
  17. Do not talk about your illness or you will have a worse one.
  18. Do not make plans at night for the next day because they will not come true.

Return to Navajo Taboos Index

COPYRIGHT Navajocentral Website
PO BOX 1945
Chinle, Arizona 86503