indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Indian Law Online Master Degree - University of Tulsa College of Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Tristan Ahtone: Navajo veteran returns from war a changed man

Filed Under: Health | National
More on: navajo, new mexico, tristan ahtone, veterans, wars
   

Reporting for Al Jazeera, Tristan Ahtone shares the story of Lonnie Al Watts, a Navajo Nation veteran who died last year at the age of 37:
Her hair was still wet when she got to the hospital: dark brown locks that fell past the tips of her shoulder blades to the small of her back.

“I woke up at my normal time, 5:30, and I looked at my phone and I got this ugly feeling,” said LaTonya Johnson. “I thought I was dreaming.”

The text message on her phone read: I’m in the ICU. You’re probably sleeping, but I’m here.

Staff Sgt. Lonnie Al Watts was fighting a ventilator when she got to him. His heart rate was shooting up and down. He was hot, so she cleaned his face with a cool washcloth, and when the doctors told her he would need to be transferred to Albuquerque, she prepared to be there for him.

“I prayed with him, then I kissed his head,” said Johnson. “Rubbed his head again, and said, ‘I love you, be strong, I’ll be waiting for you in Albuquerque.’”

Watts never made it.

On Oct. 11, 2013, 37-year-old Watts was taken to the Gallup Indian Medical Center on the border of the Navajo Nation. He had blood clots in his lungs and pneumonia, and his heart — damaged by chronic and heavy alcohol use — was unable to provide oxygen to his body anymore.

Only a year before, Watts had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. His doctor told him that if he didn’t stop drinking he would die, but he didn’t listen.

“Whatever happened in Afghanistan, it haunted him to drink,” said Johnson. “If this whole post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] wasn’t such a secret, I really feel like he would have got help, and the counseling probably would have helped him to quit.”

Get the Story:
Tristan Ahtone: The family left behind (Al Jazeera America 76)


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux leader not pleased with boycott (3/26)
Lakota Country Times: Lakota Nation Invitational stays in Rapid (3/26)
Native Sun News: Mayor of Rapid City addresses race relations (3/26)
Jane Daugherty: Tribal e-commerce continues to draw scrutiny (3/26)
Witness list for Senate Indian Affairs Committee's field hearing (3/26)
Richard Iron Cloud: Remove murderer's name from sacred peak (3/26)
Native Youth: Bring dental therapy providers to Indian Country (3/26)
Steven Newcomb: Tribal nations still under dominating process (3/26)
Law firm hosts tribes for session on marijuana in Indian Country (3/26)
Judge upholds BIA decision on Oneida Nation land-into-trust bid (3/26)
Appeals court rules against Crow Tribe in housing grant dispute (3/26)
Ho-Chunk Nation raises minimum wage to $2.75 above federal (3/26)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe to appeal decision in recognition lawsuit (3/26)
Racist emails of former Montana federal judge to be preserved (3/26)
Shingle Springs Band considered but rejected indoor gun range (3/26)
House panel backs bill to block Tohono O'odham Nation casino (3/26)
Quapaw Tribe did not include casino on land-into-trust request (3/26)
Chumash Tribe never got apology for diplomat's casino remark (3/26)
Governor won't sign casino compact with Fort Sill Apache Tribe (3/26)
Cherokee Nation approves $6.9M renovation project for casino (3/26)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux veteran training for Paralympics (3/25)
Alaska Native musher Chuck Schaeffer completes 2015 Iditarod (3/25)
LTBB News: Michigan tribes come together for historic meeting (3/25)
Lecture focuses on repatriation of tribal intellectual properties (3/25)
Board still working on delivering money for Cobell scholarships (3/25)
Sen. Barrasso to chair field hearing on drugs in Indian Country (3/25)
Bill for tribal marijuana compacts up for hearing in Washington (3/25)
Choctaw Nation chief hopes to travel to Ireland for monument (3/25)
HHS urged to do more to help tribes with foster care programs (3/25)
Eastern Cherokees work to teach language to new generations (3/25)
Another suggestion for Indian woman on $20 bill -- Sakakawea (3/25)
Man from Crow Tribe cites self-defense in fatal casino shooting (3/25)
Shawnee Tribe sees opposition to off-reservation gaming plan (3/25)
Navajo Nation signs Class III casino compact with New Mexico (3/25)
Quapaw Tribe insists a casino isn't focus of Arkansas land plan (3/25)
Suquamish Tribe reaches deal to allow highway work at casino (3/25)
House moves quickly on bill to renew Indian housing programs (3/24)
Native Sun News: Tribe pushes boycott of Rapid City newspaper (3/24)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee ready for discussion on Carcieri (3/24)
DOI sends another $34M in offers on Rosebud Sioux Reservation (3/24)
Mary Pember: Alaska Native woman shares story to help others (3/24)
Simon Moya-Smith: NFL team must eliminate racist mascot too (3/24)
Mike Myers: Effects of historical trauma linger in Indian Country (3/24)
Trial opens into Cheyenne River Sioux man's 'KKK' surgical scars (3/24)
Shingle Springs Band vows to resolve concerns about gun range (3/24)
Blood Tribe charges three in response to drug overdose deaths (3/24)
BIA expected to finalize changes to federal recognition process (3/24)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe loses decision in federal recognition case (3/24)
Delaware Tribe increases minimum wage to $1.25 above federal (3/24)
Bill in Colorado restricts use of Indian mascots in public schools (3/24)
Storied 'Chief Ike' bar to close after 23 years in nation's capitol (3/24)
Fort Peck Tribes expect casino to see traffic from energy boom (3/24)
BIA to host public meeting for Pokagon Band casino in Indiana (3/24)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.