Navajo archaeologist honored
After 62 years with the National Park Service,
Chancey Naboyia, the first known Navajo archaeologist, has retired.
Naboyia, 84, was recently honored by colleagues with a lifetime
achievement award, reports the Navajo-Hopi Observer. Naboyia worked
as an archaeologist at national monuments such as Canyon de Chelly,
Ariz., Mesa Verde, Colo., Aztec, N.M., and Chaco Canyon, N.M., and
as a cultural interpreter, tour guide and actor on films including
Desert Song, Indian Boy and Billy Jack. He began work in 1924 as an
archaeologist's assistant at Mummy Cave Tower in Canyon de Chelly.
Mummy Cave is where Naboyia helped discover the skeleton of a
seated Anasazi woman, Ester, who was found buried under sand.
During World War II, he served as one of the legendary "code
talkers' who outwitted radio eavesdropping operations by speaking
in Navajo, a language that baffled the Japanese. He is the father
of six children and is of the Water Flows Together and Salt People