FARMINGTON — The movement of chapters on the Navajo Nation to switch from the English name to the Navajo name continues.
The latest chapter to propose such action is Sheep Springs, a community located about 45 miles south of Shiprock on U.S. Highway 491.
Navajo Nation Council Delegate David L. Tom (Beclabito/Cove/Gadii'ahi-Tokoi/Red Valley/Sheep Springs/Toadlena-Two Grey Hills/Tsé Alnaozt'i'í) is sponsoring legislation to change the name of Sheep Springs Chapter to Tooh Haltsooí Chapter.
It would also amend the chapter's name as an election precinct in the Navajo Nation Election Code.
The bill completed its five-day public comment period and is listed on the July 8 proposed agenda for the Resources and Development Committee.
It is also assigned to the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee then to the Navajo Nation Council, where final authority rests.
Attempts to reach chapter officials by telephone on Thursday were unsuccessful.
If Navajo lawmakers approve Sheep Springs' name change, it would add to the list of chapters within the Northern Agency that have shed their English names.
In 2009, the council approved changing Sanostee Chapter to Tsé Alnaozt'i'í Chapter.
Tsé Alnaozt'i'í Chapter president Jerry Bodie was serving as the chapter's council delegate at that time and sponsored the legislation to amend the name.
He remembers it passed without opposition and called the lack of resistance, "pretty good."
Tsé Alnaozt'i'í means "rock formation bypassing each other" and describes the formation located inside the chapter boundaries, according to Bodie.
When it came to translating "Tsé Alnaozt'i'í" into English, it was spelled as "Sanostee" because it resembled the Navajo pronunciation, he said.
Although the tribe officially recognizes the chapter as Tsé Alnaozt'i'í, the English version continues to be used by the state and federal governments.
Having those entities formally recognize the Navajo name is a project Bodie is addressing.
"Wherever I go, I use Tsé Alnaozt'i'í," he said. "I'm proud to say, 'I'm from Tsé Alnaozt'i'í.'"
Tsé Daa K'aan Chapter changed its name from Hogback Chapter in 2006.
The Navajo name means "rock grounded into the water," referring to the gap created by the San Juan River as it slices through the rock formation, according to the chapter's website.
A year later, Burnham Chapter changed to Tiis Tsoh Sikaad Chapter, which means "spreading of large cottonwood tree," according to its website.
At least 20 out of the 110 chapters have changed names or amended the spelling to revert to the Navajo language.
That list, based on pieces of legislation approved by the council and on the chapter directory by the Division of Community Development, shows: Tóhajiilee (Cañoncito) Chapter, Bááháálí (Breadsprings) Chapter, Bahastl'ah (Twin Lakes) Chapter, Gadii'ahi-Tokoi (Gadii'ahi) Chapter, Ts'ah bii Kin (Inscription House) Chapter, K'ai'bii'tó (Kaibeto) Chapter, Tólikan (Sweetwater) Chapter, Tsé Ch'ízhí (Rough Rock) Chapter, Kin Dah Lichíí' (Kinlichee) Chapter, Tsé Lichíí (Red Rock) Chapter, Tsé 'íí'éhí (Standing Rock) Chapter, Tsé Si'éní (Lupton) Chapter, Tsídii To'ii (Birdsprings) Chapter, Kíts'íílí (Black Mesa) Chapter, and Tó Nanees Dizí (Tuba City) Chapter.Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @nsmithdt on Twitter.