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.