The Return of Navajo Boy

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Chicago Tribune: Film Works a Healing Miracle of its Own

Published: January 26, 2000
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The Chicago Tribune reported on January 26, 2000, about how the journey seen in “The Return of Navajo Boy” began:

Robert Kennedy died in 1980 without recording his live narration, and William Kennedy never stopped wondering who these people were and what exactly they were demonstrating on film. So he called Spitz in 1997, and they set out with a small film crew to locate the Navajos. Little did they know that their work would result in the Cly family’s reunion with a brother, John Wayne Cly, whom missionaries had taken away at the age of 1. Or that their research would touch on uranium poisoning, which killed John Wayne’s mother. Or that because the Clys were among the few Navajos willing to pose for pictures and to be filmed, they became probably the most photographed Indians of the region, appearing on countless postcards and in travel brochures, tourist photos, industrial films and Hollywood movies such as John Ford’s “The Searchers.”

Read the full article as a PDF. Reprinted with permission.

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