Peter MacDonald Tribal Chairman & Code Talker

Peter MacDonald  – Living History

This documentary film was researched, photographed, edited and produced by students of Winona State University (Winona, Minnesota) and Diné College (Tsaile, Arizona, Navajo Nation) during summer 2013. It contains stories Peter MacDonald, of Tuba City, Arizona, told the students during several hours of interviews about his life.

This documentary film is archived at the Navajo Nation MuseumNavajo Nation LibraryWinona State University Library, and Diné College Library, and will be archived at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.

The film is part of the Navajo Oral History project, a multi-year collaboration between the Winona State University Mass Communication Department and Diné College – The official Tribal College of the Navajo Nation

Peter MacDonald PortraitPhoto by Tom Grier/Navajo Oral History Project.

Peter MacDonald was born in Arizona, U.S.A in may of 1928.
His clan is Hashk’aa ( Yucca Fruit) born to Bitahníí (They are within themselves).

He grew up in the Teec Nos Pos, Four corners area. He went to boarding school in Shiprock,NM and dropped out in the 6th grade because all the teachers were mean to the Navajos.
Raised among traditional sheepherders and trained as a medicine man for 1 year.

Peter MacDonald Code Talker

Photo by Tom Grier/Navajo Oral History Project.

MacDonald entered the Marine Corps as a Navajo language code talker during World War II.
After the war, MacDonald earned an electrical engineering degree at the University of Oklahoma. Upon graduation, his acumen secured a job with Howard Huges at the Hughes Aircraft Company,

He was first elected Navajo Tribal Chairman in 1970. MacDonald served as Navajo Nation Tribal Chairman for four terms between the years 1970 to 1986.

Peter MacDonald Tribal Chairman

Photo by Tom Grier/Navajo Oral History Project.

MacDonald is credited with starting the Navajo Nation Shopping Centers Enterprise, Navajo Engineering and Construction Authority, and many other Navajo-owned enterprises.


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