The Diné Have Always Been Known as Warriors … But What Does that Mean?

Warrior1-Barboncito-Manuelito-Submitted-300x395Published November 14, 2015

WINDOW ROCK, ARIZONANavajos have always been known as a warrior tribe. But a true Diné, says Navajo cultural expert James Peshlakai, should be a very reluctant warrior.

“We have no business taking another human life,” Peshlakai stated bluntly in an interview this week.

“When you do that, you lose the way. You get off the pollen path. To get that person back we have to have an Enemy Way ceremony. A lot of people lose time, they lose sleep to help this person.”

And yet, Navajos have served — disproportionately to their population — in every American war since America was thrust upon them in the 1800s. Peshlakai never served — “Why would I?” he asked rhetorically. “I don’t need a price on my head.”

Warrior4-NMAI-N34826-Submitted-300x433And yet, two of his daughters, a son-in-law, a niece and a nephew did. His daughter Jamescita, who served in the Army from 1989 until 1997, is the veterans’ liaison for the Russell Begaye administration.

And the senior Peshlakai is obviously proud of her.

“Honoring our daughters … and all others today,” he posted on her Facebook page Wednesday under a picture of Jamescita in boot camp. “We make offering today.”

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.


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