Saturday, May 21, 2016

Native American Biography: Henry Chee Dodge and Children: Navajo

The family of Henry Chee Dodge was effected by the navajo Wars.  Dodge was a toddler at the time, and his family tried to hide from the soldiers, but they were effected by the scorch earth policy and his family faced hunger.  His father was a captured Mexican, who had died in battles with the New Mexicans.  As his mother was Navajo, Henry was considered Navajo.  His mother gave him up, and his aunt took him in at age five.  They went to live at Fort Defiance and Fort Sumner.  Henry learned an unusual skill.  He learned both Navajo and English and was able to get employment working at Fort Defiance.  He then became official interpreter for the U.S. government.  The government proclaimed him chief of the Navajo, and with a couple medicine men he visited the President.  He would later become an elected member of the Tribal Council and the first elected chairman.  He stressed education and sent his children to Salt Lake City to be educated.  His son Tom also became a tribal chairman, and his son Ben served on the tribal council.

His daughter, Annie Dodge Wauneka, became an health educator.  She had gone to Indian schools, were Native American children were subject to White diseases.  This sparked an interest in health.  When she traveled the reservation with her father she saw conditions in the hogans, where it was difficult to keep clean.  She was the first woman elected to the Navajo tribal Council.  She was an obvious choice to head the Tribal Health Council.  She went to school and received her bachelors in Public Health.  She hosted a radio program in Navajo on health.  She was the first native American to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award for her accomplishments on the Tribal Council and her efforts in public health.  

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