Diné activist and musician Klee Jones Benally walked on, on the morning of December 31, 2023. He was only 48 years old.
He was a member of the Navajo Nation and was a long-time passionate advocate for a number of issues affecting Native peoples. He fought tirelessly for the unhoused, against colonialism, against capitalism, for sacred sites, against uranium mining, against police violence… the list goes on.
Klee was an anarchist, indigenous activist, author, documentarian, musician, boardgame designer and much, much more, one friend said Klee was a “molotov cocktail of energy with a wisdom far beyond his years”. Not only advocating for indigenous rights, he supported all who were oppressed by the colonial capitalist system and supported those who also fight for a better tomorrow.
He was also an instrumental figure in Taala Hooghan infoshop, the anti-colonial direct action resource centre in Flagstaff, Arizona.
On Thursday, Dec. 21, Benally launched his book, “No Spiritual Surrender, Indigenous Anarchy in Defense of the Sacred,” at the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Flagstaff. No Spiritual Surrender is a searing anti-colonial analysis rooted in frontline experience. Klee unrelentingly agitated against colonial politics towards Indigenous autonomy and total liberation of Mother Earth. In the book, he writes, “If history is written by the conquerors, it will be unwritten by those who refuse to be conquered.”
His band Blackfire was created in 1989, with his siblings, Jeneda and Clayson Benally and was fuelled with the same messages he shared in his book, justice for Indigenous people and the land. A really talented musician, he did a whole bunch of solo stuff after Blackfire. (links below)
We Want to be Free: An Interview with Klee Benally
Klee Benally – To The Ground
Blackfire Live 2007