by Anura Guruge
Click to ENLARGE.
I don’t, BUT do YOU — other than, of course, the justly famous Navajo Code Talkers?
Well when we were at Canyon de Chelly (AZ) last week I asked this from five ‘educated’ & ‘articulate’ Navajos: two licensed Navajo guides, two very bright and talented students and one gifted artist. They could NOT come up with any names — other than ‘you know there is that actor‘. I didn’t know, and had to Google him. Not sure he is that famous.
So, what gives here? This bothers & worries me.
There are supposedly (per what I heard on the radio while out in the ‘Navajo Nation‘) close to 400,000 Navajo in the U.S. That is a respectable number.
So, I started by checking it out on Wikipedia. I found this, NOT counting the native artists — and they, with all due respect, don’t really count because they have no competition so to speak.
Click to ENLARGE. Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navajo
Maybe I am being unrealistic or missing something. But, I, however, don’t think so.
Let’s go back to the start. You would have expected the five Navajos that I spoke to rattle off a list. A list they knew. One guide told me that nobody had ever asked him that question, i.e., who are the famous Navajo.
Yes, they have issues and problems. I have seen it first hand. This was NOT my first rodeo with Navajo. It was my fourth visit to the Navajo Nation and I have been spending time in Arizona Indian reservations since the early 1980s.
Things, ALAS, are NOT getting better. If anything worse. Yes, of course, you see a few exceptions — youngsters doing real well and that give you hope — but not as much as you would like,
I intend to write more on this because I did spend a fair amount of time talking to as many Navajos as I could to try and understand their issues and lives.
My goal is to try and help them as much as I can — and I know that I can’t do much. But, maybe I can give them a voice, some visibility and a platform.
Click to access post and the YouTube video of the haunting prayer song.
Search ‘Chelly’ & ‘Navajo’.
by Anura Guruge