Narbona Primero – Navajo Chief

Narbona Primero - Navajo Chief

Narbona Primero - Navajo Chief

Born abound 1766 and was killed in a confrontation with U.S. soldiers on August 31, 1849.

Narbona was one of the wealthiest Navajo of his time due to the amount of sheep and horses his outfit, or extended family group, owned. He was not a “chief” of all of the Navajo, the independent minded Navajo having no central authority, but he was very influential due to his status in the tribe, gained from both his wealth, high personal reputation and age at the time he negotiated with the Americans.

Narbona had become one of the most prominent leaders in the aftermath of the massacre of 24 Navajo leaders in March 1822 at Jemez Pueblo who had been travelling under flag of truce to a peace conference with the New Mexican government. In February 1829 he lead the Navajo in battle against a Mexican expedition into the Chuska Mountains led by Captain Blas de Hinojos and defeated it utterly. The site of the battle, Copper Pass (Beesh Lichii’I Bigiizh), is now known as Narbona Pass.

In 1849, Narbona had ridden with several hundred of his warriors to meet with a delegation of led by Col. John M. Washington to discuss terms for peace between the Navajo and the “New Men”, Americans who had driven the Mexicans from what is now the Southwestern United States. The US party was composed of both U. S. Regulars and local New Mexican auxiliaries.


  1. Irvin Morris says

    I think the name Béésh ?ichíi’ii bigiizh (literally, red metal pass) refers to the reddish-pinkish chert found in the pass and nearby, rather than copper specifically. The chert was valued as a material for making arrowheads and other cutting blades. There is no copper in the region. Béésh originally referred to flintknapped tools such as blades, knives, points,etc. The name was subsequently applied to metal cutting tools such as knives, swords, and other sharp-edged tools when Diné began obtaining them from invading Euproean settlers. People who don’t know this often assume the word béésh refers specifically to metal blades such as knives, or to the metal material itself. That’s the context we’re used to in this age since we’re not familiar with stone tools anymore. From Wikipedia: “Narbona Pass Chert is finely textured and has regular breakage patterns that make it an excellent material for making stone tools and weapon heads by flintknapping. The chert has a variety of colors including white, pale blue, dark gray and pink.[10] The Narbona Pass in the Chuska mountains holds the only known quarry for this pure, fine-grained and distinctive rock.[11] The chert was traded throughout what is now the Four Corners region, then inhabited by the ancient Pueblo Peoples, often called Anasasi.”

  2. I am also told i am one of Narbona’s descendants. He is my great great great great great grandfather.

  3. Long live Narbona!

  4. I really love Narbona because he is sexy hot… I really reallylike to braid huis hair when he comes to my house. Also when we have sleepovers.

  5. Narbona was a ballin’ leader.

  6. R.i.p..I was also born for ta’chii’nii

  7. glenmore begaye says

    born for tachiini.. am told we are narbona’s descendants

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