Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

June 17, 2024

Remembering Klee, For the People, by Shannonlynn Chester

Klee Benally, Dine' Photo Shannonlynn Chester

Remembering Klee, For The People

By Shannonlynn Chester, Censored News, June 13, 2024
French translation by Christine Prat

In February, a local publication ran a piece on Klee that said "RAGE. In Beauty". But sometimes the world didn't see him (or any of us associated with him) that way. His way of "raging in beauty" didn't fit into what society saw as normal or peaceful at all, but I'm reminded today that Klee saw beauty in everything. If it didn't exist in something, he did something about it, he spoke the truth on it. He was someone who lived and breathed beauty, love, kinship, respect ... he embodied hózhó -- we should all be like that.

I'm one of three still here at Taala Hooghan Infoshop. I'm still holding it down, I've been here consistently since January. There are times I have to take a one or two week break, as it's exhausting "work" ... not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well.

Most days I can just be here on autopilot -- cleaning, organizing and packing but some days are different ... because I come across things and will reminisce about everything we've done here in the name of mutual aid. I've spent 4 years here, I know every crack in the floor, every hole in the wall. Ever since Klee joined the ancestors, it hasn't been easy to be here but most times it is healing and has just become part of my grieving process, I guess.

Taala Hooghan photo by Shannonlynn Chester

Some days unsheltered relatives come by and I have to tell them that we're shutting down. Every so often someone will come by asking for Klee, sometimes just describing him -- saying that he helped them years ago and they want to thank him. I'm still having to break the news to others here and there. There's been a lot of tears shed outside in the parking lot ... from that we gain strength and resilience and speak affirmations to do better. And be better.

I'm finally getting down to the last of the supplies that we were distributing as Kinlani Mutual Aid and Diné Healers Relief (as part of a larger collective and network we started called Indigenous Mutual Aid). Along with the help of a few individuals, I've been making sure it's all getting back into the community somehow, because everything here has always been for the people.

Photo by Shannonlynn Chester

Thank you Shannonlynn for sharing your memories, and the good work that you did with Klee, and continue to do. -- Brenda, Censored News

The Great Food Race, Kinlani Mutual Aid Delivering Relief to Black Mesa, Photos by Klee Benally, May 2020

Racing against the virus, Kinlani Mutual Aid based in Flagstaff, Arizona, delivered truck loads of food and sanitized supplies in the Navajo and Hopi region. Photo courtesy Klee Benally, May 2020, Censored News

Photo by Klee Benally, May, 2020, Censored News

"a true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love" -- Che

Klee published his book, "No Spiritual Surrender: Indigenous Anarchy in Defense of the Sacred," shortly before he passed in December, leaving us too soon.
Order Klee's book:

No comments: