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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 clans.