The Return of Navajo Boy

Watch The Return of Navajo Boy

  • 2009
  • 56 min
  •   (14)

The Return of Navajo Boy is a documentary film released in 2000 directed by Jeff Spitz. The film follows the journey of Lorenzo Begay, a Navajo teenager, who returns to his family and culture after being taken away by the American government for over three decades. The Return of Navajo Boy is a story of a family's struggle for identity, reunification, and justice.

The film begins with an introduction to the Cly family, who live in Monument Valley, Utah. The Cly family is a traditional Navajo family whose ancestors were forced to leave their ancestral land by the US Government in the 1930s. The film shows the family's daily struggles, including drought, poverty, and lack of basic amenities. We then learn about Elsie Mae Cly Begay, who disappeared in the 1950s while working in Los Angeles. The family never heard from her again and assumed that she had died.

Decades later, a white couple from Illinois discovered Elsie's identity while working on a genealogy project. The family was ecstatic to learn of her survival and had Lorenzo Begay, her son, return to his home in Monument Valley. However, upon returning, Lorenzo faced numerous obstacles, including shock over his new environment and discrimination from his peers, who didn't accept him as a Navajo.

The film follows Lorenzo as he struggles to understand his heritage, integrate into his culture, and be accepted by his people. He learns the reality of the Navajo way of life by visiting sacred sites, attending ceremonies, and experiencing Navajo ways of life. The film does not portray Lorenzo as a passive character, rather he becomes an active participant in his life, determined to learn as much as he can about his roots and the people who share them.

Throughout the film, we also learn about the political issues surrounding Native American land rights and the ongoing fight for justice. The film requires its audience to look through the prism of the Navajo people and showcases the struggles of the Cly family, who had their land taken away by the US Government.

The documentary film progresses into a battle for justice between the Cly family and an unresponsive, evasive Bureau of Indian Affairs office. The government officials refuse to acknowledge their past mistakes and, in effect, set a dangerous precedent for other Native American land dispossession cases.

The film takes us on an emotional journey with Lorenzo and the Cly family as they pursue their rights through the American justice system until the film's conclusion, which is both heartwarming and thought-provoking.

The Return of Navajo Boy is a compelling and culturally rich documentary film that stands in stark contrast to many Hollywood films that play to stereotypes about Native Americans. The Return of Navajo Boy is not only educational for anybody unfamiliar with the Navajo Nation but is an important contribution to minorities' voices often forgotten amidst dominant cultural narratives.

To sum up, The Return of Navajo Boy is an earnest and intimate film that showcases the power and resilience of the Navajo people while highlighting the struggles of identity, discrimination, and injustice in the Native American experience. Through the eyes of Lorenzo Begay and the Cly family, it serves as a powerful testament to the persistence and importance of preserving our heritage in the face of adversity.

The Return of Navajo Boy is a 2009 documentary with a runtime of 56 minutes.

Where to Watch The Return of Navajo Boy
The Return of Navajo Boy is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent The Return of Navajo Boy for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
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