Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

January 5, 2024

Warrior Klee Benally Never Surrendered: A Life of Revolutionary Love, Resounding 'Regain Your Power'

Rally for Palestine, Flagstaff, Arizona. Nov. 2023. Photo courtesy Klee Benally

Warrior Klee Benally Never Surrendered: A Life of Revolutionary Love, Resounding 'Regain Your Power'

The celebration of Klee's life will be on January 6, at 2 p.m., at the Orpheum Theatre in Flagstaff, Arizona.

By Brenda Norrell, Censored News, January 2, 2023

Our hearts are broken by the sudden passing of our friend Klee Benally. Reflecting on Klee's life, we remember the words of Che Guevara that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.

Klee never surrendered, he never surrendered to capitalism, the media, or the forces of conformity that sought to change who he was.

Klee taught us to regain our power, regardless of the road that led us to the present.


Louise Benally, Dine' of Big Mountain, said, "Klee was our spokesman and leader. His departure only means we have to rise and carry on the work for justice for nature and humanity. I will miss him Greatly and Honor him highly."

"His roots come from Big Mountain, grandson of the late Roberta Blackgoat.

"He was an honorable young leader, well respected and moved with a lot of compassion. My nephew, brother and my leader. 
A truly beautiful and amazing person who really lived up to his beliefs, and was not driven by money but by needs and concern, a real warrior.

"He was our shining Star, he will continue to shine on us from the other side.

"He always honored me, I will miss that," Louise said.


Michelle Cook, Dine', said, "We are deeply saddened and shocked by the news of the passing of our beloved warrior Klee Benally. We ask for prayers for his family during this time. For decades Klee led an uncompromising position, for the liberation of our peoples and lands developing and synthesizing an embodied praxis of Indigenous-based political, economic, and social resistance against all forms of settler colonialism that degrades people and the planet.

"Klee was our North Star guiding with his heart and mind. While some may not have shared his positions, no one can question his dedication, determination, and sheer drive to protect his people despite the risks and danger.

"He risked his life through forms of Civil Disobedience and Direct Action to protect our Dook’o’oosłiid, Holy Mountain, from development to maintain our ceremonial practices and way of life.

"Klee taught us all to be brave to fight against genocide, the co-optation of our movements by the non-profit industrial complex. To be steadfast in what is right and wrong. To honor our ancient law and the sacred teachings of our ancestors and Grandmothers. His departure leaves a void in Dineh Nation and Indian Country," Michelle said.

"Now with his absence from this material plane, we have no choice but to pick up his work, pick up the slack, carry on, and continue our journey as Dineh in a beautiful way.

"Klee's development and articulations of Indigenous peoples and anarchism remain relevant for social movements within and outside of Turtle Island.

"He will forever remain in our hearts and minds as a guiding light and a growling voice, screaming freedom, for our earth and peoples. We love you Klee.

"Rest now our sacred warrior. Your work is done. We are so proud of the legacy you cultivated and left for this world. Journey well our sweet warrior until we meet again in the great Star Camp beyond," Michelle said.

Klee passed to the Spirit World on Sunday, after being hospitalized.

We send our sincere condolences to his family, his wife Princess, family Jones, Berta, Jeneda and Clayson, and all those who knew and loved him.

Klee Benally chained to equipment to halt the desecration of San Francisco Peaks from the sewage water snow of Arizona Snowbowl in 2011. Photo by Protect the Peaks.

From locking down in U.S. Border Patrol headquarters in Tucson, to chaining himself to equipment in defense of Sacred San Francisco Peaks, to battling the auctioneers of the sacred ceremonial items in Paris, and leading the Haul-No movement to protect the Grand Canyon region from uranium mining, to feeding the unsheltered in Flagstaff, and standing strong for Palestine, Klee's powerful actions remain a moving force to resound, and rivet us all, to struggle for a world without compromise.

The mainstream media is likely to water down the direct action, and force of Klee Benally's direct action. Klee locked down at U.S. Border Patrol headquarters in Tucson in 2010 to protest the militarization of O'odham lands. Courtesy photo Klee Benally.

Klee recognized that the non-profit industry was designed to water down the resistance and turn the sacred movements into an ATM machine for a select few.

Fly high, my sweet friend.

Photo by Roger Nymo, France, 2016. La Comedia 88 Rue Edouard Vaillant 93100 Montreuil

Klee Benally, 2015

Klee's just released book, 'No Spiritual Surrender: Indigenous Anarchy in Defense of the Sacred," and a new board game, "Burn the Fort." Courtesy Klee Benally Nov. 2023.
Order the book at Detritus Books

Klee Benally, a Diné (Navajo) musician, traditional dancer, artist, filmmaker, and Indigenous anarchist, lived in Flagstaff, Arizona. Klee is originally from Black Mesa and has worked nearly all of his life at the front lines in struggles to protect Indigenous sacred lands. Klee provided direct action training with Indigenous Action Media. Klee helped establish Táala Hooghan Infoshop, Protect the Peaks, Outta Your Backpack Media, and volunteered with Haul-No.
Read more

Read more: Articles and photos by Klee Benally at Indigenous Action Media


dawn said...


Aislyn said...

Thank you for your beautiful reporting Brenda. Klee's life has been a profound gift to us.