Famous Navajo Indians
It is easy to miss the incredible significance and role that Native American tribes have played in both their own history and the history of the United States. From settling disputes and preserving a way of life to helping win one of the greatest conflicts ever seen on the planet, Navajo Indians have contributed some truly great and aspiring individuals on the world stage. Lets take a moment to review two of these individuals, as well as a group of Navajo who helped to win World War II.
1. Manuelito “Little Manuel,” 1818-1894
Manuelito is probably the best-known Navajo for the role he played in ensuring the continued existence of the Navajo people. Born in the Folded Arms People, or Bit’ahni, Manuelito was unknown until he became the headman of his group. Manuelito helped to stop major conflicts from erupting between the whites and Navajo during the Mexican War in 1846. Using the rugged terrain to their advantage, Manuelito took responsibility for his tribesman, working to negotiate a treaty with the American Government where they avoided direct control.
2. Ganado Mucho “Ganados Muchos, Mucho Ganado, Many Cattle,” 1809-1893
Working for peace with white people, Ganado Mucho was known as a facilitator of communication and an ardent supporter of peace. This came into direct conflict during the Navajo War of 1862-1866. Counseling for peace, Ganado Mucho lost his family to the Mexican Slave Trade, and despite this still fought to secure the Navajo’s homeland. After the peace treaty was signed and the land of his people secured, Ganado went on to live a peaceful life in his role as peacemaker and herdsman.
3. The Navajo Code Talkers “The Wind Talkers 1900-
Made famous again through the 2001 movie titled “The Wind Talkers,” the Navajo people provided a lasting service to the United Stated Military during World War II. In order to convey orders around Europe without the Nazis picking up on what was happening, the government employed the services of the Navajo people, whose language was never cracked by the Nazis. Because of their sacrifice and role during the war, the United Stated and the Allied countries had an advantage over the Axis eventually winning the war. Since the end of the war, a number of Navajo servicemen have received congressional gold medals as a thank you as well as a token of respect for their service during this time.