Henry Chee Dodge

Henry Chee Dodge

Henry Chee Dodge (Navajo, 1857 to 1947), was a prestigious political leader and businessman. While a boy, Dodge was orphaned while he and his family were on the Long Walk to Fort Sumner (1864 to 1866).

In 1868, he attended school at Fort Defiance, where he learned to speak, read, and write English. Dodge quickly became known as a reliable interpreter for both the federal government and, because he lived as a traditional Navajo, the Navajo. In 1883, Dodge was appointed head of the Navajo Tribal Police and later appointed Head Chief of the Navajo by the BIA. As the first chairman of the Navajo Business Council, Dodge was able to obtain the mineral rights to Navajo land. This provided significant funds for the Nation. From 1942-1946, he served as tribal chairman for the Navajo Nation, lobbying for better education and transition into the modern era. (Steve Pavlik, “Henry Chee Dodge” in Encyclopedia of North American Indians, 1996, Frederick E. Hoxie, ed. p.165-167)

Information courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions, Inc.

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