Navajo word ''Anasazi.'' So what does it really mean?

OK, on a recent trip to New Mexico, I was able to visit Bandelier National Monument. One of the blurbs referred to this word (often used to refer to the pre-Navajo pueblo-dwelling Indians) as actually meaning “ancient enemies,” not “ancient ones,” as it is often translated.

So, what’s the deal? Is this one of those words that just has multiple meanings? It seems highly unlikely that people that had left the area several hundred years previously would be considered “enemies.” Might it be just an ambiguous translation, such as, oh, maybe in Navajo, the same word doubles as “stranger” (or “those guys” to refer to an old Cecil column) and “enemy?”


It is a word that might mean “ancient enemies” or merely “ancient non-Navajo” (then again “not-us” is very often a synonym for “enemy”).