Chikpan ‘ap Haichu Ñeo’ok

Huhugam Heritage Center


If you wanted to ask someone where they work in O’otham, you can say “Ba:p hasko chikpan? ” (Where do you work?).  Answering this question uses the action word “chikpan” (to work) along with the location. “Mañ chikpan amai Kokotham ha ki: am.” (I work over there at the hospital.) If you happen to be at the place where you work, you can switch out the locational adverb “amai” (over there) to “i:ya” (right here). “Mañ chikpan i:ya Mashchamakuḍ am.” (I work here at the School.) 


Presently, the majority of employees are back in their offices and places of business throughout our Community.  Many employees will pick up where they left off several months ago.  New work habits practiced slightly different from pre-pandemic times.  One area not dramatically affected is our “Chikpan ‘ap haichu ñeo’ok.” (Work/office talk). Now that we have learned how to ask where some O’otham work, we will now focus on work/office talk.


We will often hear O’otham speak phrases that have not been heard for some time.  One such phrase is “Chum hekid ‘o:la ‘eḍ ‘añ jijiva chikpan ‘ap!” (I always arrive on time to work!).  As we all know, with the heavy volume of traffic at O’otham rush hour, that is not always the case. Sometimes, despite our best effort to take the back-road short cuts, we still wind up “Pi oi.” (Late arrival). 


Once we are in our office, another phrase we will instruct our clients is “Ñeokakuḍ thath math hekith ‘o ñei: (Call and make an appointment.). Some offices are not fully, operational yet, and others allow limited visitation.  As the workday wears on, we all take a short respite from our busy schedules at mid-morning. We will often inform our office mates “Thon he’uva:gig tho!” (I’m going on break!).  Some workers like to take a short walk, while others have a little snack at the breakroom.


When noontime rolls around we will hear O’otham exclaim “Thamiju ath, thon gegos tho!” (Its high noon, I’m going to lunch!).  As is often the case, one of our co-workers will reply with “Pegi, tho hihi, hivo anth s-biyu:gim!” (Well let’s go, I’m hungry!).  Some O’otham tote their lunches from home and enjoy spending some time outdoors.  Other O’otham like to get away from the workplace for a short while and visit their favorite establishments.


Another useful phrase is “Haichu a:m ‘o a’aga!” (I’m going to tell you something!), often used when you want to update your co-workers on events and other news. When your Boss asks you for that certain file you worked on before the emergency, you can respond with “Pi chektho hebai thoa’in!” (I don’t remember where I put it!).  Of course, the best phrase at the end of the workday is “Ai sha huthik!” (It’s time to quit work!).


We encourage you to speak O’otham in your everyday lives.  Speak with an Elder or Speaker on how to say the phrases.  Some phrases may be slightly different between the villages.  The word match will test you memory of chikpan ‘ap haichu ñeo’ok.  


A special Thank You to Vah-ki ch Onk Akimel Kekel for sharing their knowledge of Chikpan ‘ap Haichu Ñeo’ok, which made this article possible. Answers to puzzle can be found on page. 14.