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Native America Calling: Remembering the 1974 Navajo border town murders
Friday, April 19, 2024

Remembering the 1974 Navajo border town murders
The torture and gruesome murders of three Navajo men by white high school students touched off a series of racially-fueled conflicts in Farmington, New Mexico, on the border with the Navajo Nation.

The murders in April 1974 became known as the Chokecherry Massacre. One protest organizer at the time called Farmington “the Selma, Alabama of the Southwest,” referring to the simmering racial tensions.

Demands by Navajos and other Native activists since then have improved relations in the border town and surrounding areas somewhat. But many residents and observers say the sources of the problems remain just below the surface.

Join Native America Calling to recount this little-known period of Four Corners history and discuss what community relationships are like 50 years later.

Shiprock, New Mexico
Known as Tsé Bitʼaʼí in the Navajo language, meaning “Winged Rock,” the Shiprock formation is located on a portion of the Navajo Nation near Farmington, New Mexico. Photo: bowie snodgrass

Guests on Native America Calling
John Redhouse (Diné and Ute), longtime activist

Chili Yazzie (Diné), Shiprock community member

Nate Duckett, current mayor of Farmington

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Native America Calling
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