Johnny Rustywire: The 'angry one' took care of his Navajo family

A butte seen from Black Rock, New Mexico. Photo by Ken Lund

Johnny Rustywire, a member of the Navajo Nation, shares a story about Hashke:
Some said he was too mean; others said he was just gruff. He was a big, rough, and a hard person. His name was Hashke—it means angry and mad in the Navajo way of speaking. His name fit him.

Many avoided him and left him alone. He always found a way to get by, finding work when others couldn’t.

Some said he wasn’t too smart as far as books. His writing and figuring weren’t too good but he got by.

When he found work it was the kind most others wouldn’t do: working with his hands, fixing things, digging ditches, cleaning yards and hauling away trash. He fixed fences, and was able to manhandle most things that were too heavy or bulky for others, always finding ways to get things where they were supposed to be.

I used to see him now and again. He didn’t talk much; just sort of said, “Hey” and not much more. When he had a few drinks he was loud and a wild sort, always getting into trouble somehow. He fought a lot with folks when he was drunk and so people moved away from him when he was drinking because he was mean when he was drunk. That is how he lived his life.

Read More:
Johnny Rustywire: Hashke: The Angry One (Indian Country Today 9/16)

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