A story of the Navajo reservation, native rock and roll, and action against a colonial government.

For over two decades, Duane “Chili” Yazzie has been an activist for Native American rights. Of the Navajo tribe, Chili has spent his life on the reservation in Shiprock, New Mexico, following tribal traditions and questioning the relationship between Native Peoples and Anglo-Americans. As a young man, he became a member of the influential Native American rock band, XIT, playing at political rallies across the United States. Chili would later become involved in Navajo politics, being sworn into the administration of the Shiprock Chapter House, where he now serves as president. 

In this story, Chili explains the principles of the Diné people, while also recalling his experiences of the United States Indian Affairs relocation program, armed take-overs of corporate factories, political riots in the Navajo Capital, and an assassination attempt by a local white man to take Chili’s life. A LINE DRAWN IN THE REZ DIRT illustrates the struggle of Native Americans transitioning into a modern day America that has renounced the traditions of its past.

This episode is a part of a multi-media project on the Diné sponsored by VSCO’s 23.5.
Select photos by
Clarke Tolton
Music by High Aura’d

Available on iTunes