The Language Omnivore is just back from Santa Fe, NM, and I scored a mini-language lesson from Nuguematz, a silversmith and designer. When, over a tray of cufflinks, Nuguematz mentions that she teaches her kids her native language, I ask her what that is. “Keres,” she says.
“Is that related to Navaho?” I ask her.
“No,” she says, “the Keres were hostile to the Navaho.”
“How was that?” I ask.
Nuguematz deadpans: “My grandfather told me the Navaho tried to take our women and our land, and we never would’ve given them our land…”. If Nuguematz ever gives up silver, this woman is ready for stand-up.
After settling on a pair of cufflinks, I couldn’t let her go without teaching me something in Keres, and she told me Ze-na-tha-tru-ja-ah, which is “thank you”. So if you’re ever in Santa Fe or one of the surrounding pueblos, give that a try. Just make sure you’re not addressing a Navaho-speaker.
You can still get a copy of either in time for Pasko from Tuttle’s website. You can use the discount code OMNIVORE anytime to get a 35% discount (which makes The Filipino Cookbook just $12.32 and and Tagalog for Beginners $12.97). Both are also available at specialty independent bookshops such as Arkipelago Books in San Francisco and Philippine Expressions in Palos Verdes, CA.