Oliver Whaley, one of our Better UTAH interns this semester, grew up in Kayenta, AZ on the Navajo reservation.
As a child in grade school, I learned from textbooks that the Navajos were hunters, gatherers and farmers.
I never shared this perspective. I always saw and felt otherwise.
So when Oliver learned that the Navajo were warriors he felt that his innate sense of self was justified.
In reading Raymond Friday Locke’s “Book of the Navajo,” a very detailed account of the Navajo people, one will learn that the Navajos were indeed great warriors, referred to by the Hopis as the “Skull Crushers.” One will also learn about a warrior society that was self-reliant, strong and courageous.
This contradiction, between government narratives of American Indian history and more rigorous academic narratives, is why Oliver penned an op-ed in the Sunday edition of the Deseret News, expressing his support for SJR1, a bill that calls on the government to build a museum recognizing the atrocities committed against American Indians.
History is multi-perspective. That is why I’m passionate about Utah SJR1, a joint resolution that calls on the federal government to create a museum recognizing wrongs committed against American Indians. Such a museum will complement the existing National Museum of the American Indian that is part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.