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A celebration of life for beloved Diné activist Klee Benally is being held at 2 pm on January 6 at the Orpheum Theatre in Kinłání, Occupied Territories (Flagstaff, Ariz.).

Benally walked on on Saturday, December 31, at a Phoenix hospital. His cause of death has not been disclosed. He was 48 years old.

Benally was a well-known and passionate advocate for many issues affecting Native peoples.

Organizers of Benally’s celebration of life encourage donations of warm clothing to carry on his work for unsheltered relatives.

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He spoke out against police violence and, in 2014, joined other activists outside of metro Phoenix’s NFL stadium to denounce the offensive team name previously used by the franchise from Washington, D.C.

Benally advocated for the cleanup of abandoned mines, where uranium ore was extracted from the Navajo Nation over decades to support U.S. nuclear activities during the Cold War. He protested an ordinance that banned camping on public property in Flagstaff aimed at the area’s homeless population.

“There is no compassionate way to enforce the anti-camping ordinance,” Benally said in 2018 when officials declined to alter the 2005 ordinance. “Life is already hard enough for our unsheltered relatives on the streets.”

According to a report from the Navajo Times, Benally was from Dziłyíjiin, Arizona. He was from the Tódích’íi’nii and Wandering People clans.
Benally grew up being taught traditional Navajo culture by his father, Jones Benally, a well-known hataałii (medicine man).

On November 18, Benally published his book, “No Spiritual Surrender: Indigenous Anarchy in Defense of the Sacred,” described as a searing anti-colonial analysis rooted in his experience fighting for sacred places and why he does it to protect nahasdzáán (Mother Earth).

According to a report from the Navajo Times, Benally was from Dziłyíjiin, Arizona. He was from the Tódích’íi’nii and Wandering People clans.

Benally's passing has been widely reported across local and mainstream media, including the Arizona Republic, the Associated Press and ABC News.

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