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Kee Watchman
Indigenous People




Kee Watchman - Vild-eken.se
Kee Watchman 1945 - 2005

The first time I saw Kee, was outside the Hard Rock chapter house, on Black Mesa, in northeastern Arizona. He was wearing his black leather jacket and blue jeans. His hair hanging down on his back in the familiar pony-tail fashion. He was standing there, watching me and my friend Elizabeth. Quietly he nodded and greeted us with a smile, as he started walking past us, and went inside the chapter-house, where his People had assembled to tell all the many visitors that had come from countries far away, about the situation on Black Mesa, and how relocation laws and longterm coalmining had affected their lives. It was in the end of January in year 2000, and the deadline for forced relocation, was coming up fast: February 1st year 2000. The atmosphere was tense, on Black Mesa.

I saw him again, when we got inside the chapter house, sitting way back in the packed room. I was very nervous, because I had been told to speak in front of all these people, something that took me by extreme surprise. I still to this day, do not remember the words that came out of my mouth at that moment. It was such a surreal feeling, standing there before the people that I respect more than anything and anyone in this world, and knowing that words truly never can be enough to express all the things that I felt I wanted to let them know.

I could never have guessed, that during the time that would follow, in the years to come, Kee would become a very close friend to me.

Some called him “The Silent Warrior”, and he was that kind of man that had that quiet calm air about him. He spoke in the soft voice, but there were times when his voice filled up with great power, too, when the circumstances required it. Always his words were carefully weighed, fully aware of the power that the spoken word carries. That was probably one of the reasons why he was chosen by his people to be the Spokesperson for the Traditional Dineh, Cactus Valley Red Willow Springs Communities, on Black Mesa.

Kee carried the voices of his people, out to the international community, for many years. He made the journey to the UN in Geneva, regularly, and engaged fully in the struggle for Indigenous Peoples Rights and Recognition. At all times, he never missed an opportunity to speak to anyone who would listen, about his peoples struggle, at home, on the land that he loved more than anything else. He carried his peoples voices to the United Nations, to the European Parliament, to the Swedish government and parliament, to the media and to the vast international public, as well as to his own Indigenous Nation and many other Indigenous Nations around the world. He carried his peoples voices to the American authorities and to the very cause of all the troubles that his people suffer: the multinational energy industry. He carried the voices of his people out to the world, and he did it with great dignity and honor.

As much as I think he appreciated his travels and meeting many friends and people from around the world, I believe that it was when he was at home with all of his family members and his beloved animal friends, that he loved his life, the most. I have seldom seen a human being caring so much for his horses, sheep and goats, dogs and cats, as Kee did. Often when we were talking on the phone, Kee would say: - Oh, here is Cody! He wants to say hello and thank you for the crackers you got for him! :-) Cody was Kees special horse-friend. Cody was 32 years old, at that time, and he stayed mostly close to the house. It was easy to see, that special relationship that those two had. The horses on Big Mountain are not restricted in their movement, by any fences. They can pretty much come and go, as they please. I guess that’s the kind of environment one would wish for all animals, and human beings too, for that matter :-)

Kee shared so many stories with me, stories from his life and from his familys past. He was an invaluable teacher and gave great guidance to us, in the work that we are still trying to assist with, concerning Indigenous Peoples issues.

Yes, there are so many good memories from the years that I was blessed with enjoying Kees friendship. I could write down, so many….but it may be too many words for you to read and take up too much of your valuable time, right now.

I just want to say: Thank You so much, to Kees family, for sharing him with us and so many people in the world. Kee made a great difference in many peoples lives. He was one of those rare Human Beings that made lasting visible and ever present “tracks” on the path of life of many. I know that I still miss him a lot, and now I have to follow one of the many advices he gave me : - “When you have something important to think about, or something that troubles you – go outside, be on your own and be still, pray for guidance and listen carefully to the answers that may come to you”.

So, wherever You are now, Kee, I hope that you know no pain, only joy, love and peace. I suspect that you still keep an eye on us, and hope that you give us a guiding hand in the struggle that still lies before us.

I have not forgotten my promise to You, the last time we spoke. 

You are forever held in the warmest brightest loving memory, and we will always strive to honor your Life.

Ha Gooh Neh 

Carina Gustafsson in Sweden

"Peace... comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the Universe dwells Wakan-Tanka, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us."
--Black Elk (Hehaka Sapa) OGLALA SIOUX


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