navajo veterans

Two Navajo Code Talkers died this past week, according to the tribal government and family members.
Guy Clauschee, 87, died early Thursday morning, September 11, 2014, in Fort Defiance. Services will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday at the Fort Defiance Presbyterian Church.

A Code Talker throughout most of World War II, Clauschee came back from the war and continued his education at the Ganado Mission. After graduating in 1950, he moved to Window Rock and started work with the Bureau of indian Affairs as a facilities management foreman. He retired after 40 years.

On Wednesday, September 10, 2014, tribal officials reported the death of another Navajo Code Talker, Robert Walley Sr., 93.

Walley served as a Code Talker from 1943 to 1945, during which he received a Purple Heart. He served in the 6th Marine Division and was a Marine Raider who fought in the Battle of Bougainville, Guam, Okinawa and the occupation of Emirau Island.

Both Walley and Clauschee received Congressional Silver Medals for their service as Navajo Code Talkers.

According to figures supplied by the Navajo Code Talkers Association, the number of Code Talkers has gone from more 400 to just 27.

Navajo Code Talker Guy Clauschee waits for the 68th annual Navajo Nation Fair parade to begin on Saturday morning, Sept. 6, 2014, in Tse Bonito, N.M. Clauschee passed away early Thursday morning of natural causes, according to his family. Funeral services will be on Monday.

Purple Heart recipient Navajo Code Talker Robert Walley Sr, 93, Chichiltah, N.M. According to his paternal granddaughter Tanya Walley, he lost his battle to cancer.

Silver Nez Perry (on FB):


M–Bii’ adeest'į́į́’

Ahxé'hée Shinálí, Shicheii, Shizhé'é … Yéego baa 'áhééh nisin.
Ahxé'ee lą́ą nihich'ą́ą́ nísinbaa’

(Source: Navajo Times)
Thousands of Navajo veterans living in substandard conditions as promised aid falls short

From the Los Angeles Times:

Nearly 9,000 military veterans live on the reservation that straddles the New Mexico-Arizona border, more than half of them in what the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says is substandard housing. For years, few funds were allocated for reservation housing for veterans, and much of what was allocated did not reach its intended targets because of mismanagement, U.S. and tribal officials say. Federal veterans’ home loan guarantees cannot be used to build homes on tribal land.

Read the full story here.

Chester Nez, one of 29 Navajo Code Talkers whose language skills thwarted the Japanese military in World War II, is shown in a November 2009 photo. Nez died on Wednesday. (x)


NEWSHOUR: Meet the Native Americans fighting against the North Dakota pipeline

Many say they will continue protesting through the winter; whatever it takes to ensure their land is safe.

Liz McKenzie is Diné (Navajo) from New Mexico. She had a vivid dream one night about being here at the pipeline protest with the Standing Rock Tribe in North Dakota, woke up, packed up a trailer full of supplies to donate, and drove out. “We aren’t people who only exist in the past,” she said. 

“We have been fighting this fight for generations,” Seeyouma Na Hash-Chid said. He rode his motorcycle out from Arizona to support the Standing Rock tribe’s protest against an oil pipeline. Na Hash-Chid is Diné (Navajo), a Vietnam veteran, and a veteran of earlier environmental fights back home in Arizona. He says people will stay at this vast protest camp through the winter to guarantee the pipeline never gets built. 

A young Turtle Mountain girl adjusts a shirt honoring her dead brother, C.J. Strong Bear Boy. Her brother died this winter in a car accident on the way to work after hitting black ice. The Turtle Mountain tribe sent eight truckloads of firewood to North Dakota in C.J.’s honor to support the Standing Rock tribe. They also sent a half dozen young men to split and stack the wood, which they are giving away to anyone camping at the protest. 

Sanding Rock Tribal Chairman David Archambault II said everyone is very happy with the decision by the U.S. Department of Justice on Friday, though he added that the legal fight could go on for months to come, and the tribe shouldn’t take anything for granted.

Read more

(All photos by William Brangham)