Tell Me The Landscape In Which You Live And I'll Tell You Who You Are

The story of Whitehorse The Man is a true story of one man, from the Navajo Nation, who survived to provide for future generations. He looked to his one creator and knew when he left this world, he would be reunited with his beloved wife, Theodora.

In the distance, billowing thunderclouds against the orange and red sky peered behind the towering steeples of Monument Valley, Arizona. A familiar sound of the Ancient Ones could be heard chanting, singing and dancing throughout the Valley as though they came from beyond to rejoice in the birth of a new life. On this day, August 12, 1906, the Diné, on the Navajo Reservation, were to receive its newest member whom they named Whitehorse. Diné are proud people who live by their culture and traditions, but most importantly, their word. The name Whitehorse symbolizes strength and freedom. A little brother was born a year later. Whitehorse grew up on the reservation until the death of his parents around 1914. A trapper passing through the reservation took ill and passed away. Later, they realized the trapper carried their worst fear. . .Yellow Fever. One-by-one, including his mother and father, families became ill and left to join their Ancestors. Yellow Fever, the bringer of death, spread like wildfire. His parents weren't the only ones taken away. Over 800 people contracted this devastating illness and perished; some, never to be heard of again. This was the beginning of a life that has been sleeping in the eyes of the Garcia family, descendants of Whitehorse who neglected their heritage by not acknowledging

Whitehorse The Man.

 

I remember as a child, waking early each morning to join him at the breakfast table before he left for work. I would climb on his lap and ask him, "Dad, tell me about when you were a boy growing up in Arizona." I could see the gleam in his eyes, along with the sadness. . .he would hold me in his arms, look back and remember. Mom would be cooking breakfast and making his lunch for the long day ahead. I can still see the smile on her face as Dad looked back and reminisced. Paloma Blanca (WhiteDove) he would call me, "when I was a young boy, my father, your Great Grandfather, accidentally killed a man. A stranger arrived on the reservation and stole money from your Great Grandfather. When he approached the stranger for the money, the man got violent. Your Great Grandfather and this stranger got into a scuffle; and when your Great Grandfather struck him, the stranger fell back and hit his head on a rock. . .the stranger died. Because of this terrible accident, he was forced to change the family name to Garcia. He had to lose his identity, because he knew the officials wouldn't believe him." Dad went on to say that in the early 1900's, it was much more acceptable to be known as a Spaniard than an American Indian. Indians were hated throughout the land, and Indian killings happened too often. Justice would not intervene. He knew only too well that if they found out he was Indian, they would hang him without further investigation. "Oh well, he was only an Indian," the officials would say.

Updated: Friday, July 27, 2012

 

© 1994