I grew up surrounded by the traditional ways of our people. In my youth, I heard the old stories handed down by our elders. They differed depending on a person’s recollection, but they focused mostly on the creation around us. I was told we came from the earth. As a young man I had so many questions.
When I smell the smoke from the wood fire in the winter, it reminds me of the times when I was a little boy living in our hogan. It was during the winter season that the stories of the elders were passed down to the younger generation. I would listen to my grandfather teach us the history and ways of our people. Now I am an elder, and it is my responsibility to pass along the important truths for this life and the life to come.
My name is Roy Hawthorne. I am a proud member of the Navajo Nation. I am honored to have served my country through my military service in both World War II and the Korean War. I volunteered to serve in an elite group known as the Navajo Code Talkers.