Following on the heels of other Indian leaders, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly on Wednesday urged President Obama to change the name of the military operation that killed Osama bin Laden from “Geronimo,” saying it was “dehumanizing.”
Mr. Shelly, whose Navajo Nation is the largest Indian tribe in the U.S., said using the name was an insult to the Apache, whom Geronimo was a member of, but it also hurt the Navajo, whose “code talkers” helped the U.S. create an unbreakable code in World War II.
“It is not only disrespectful to Geronimo and the Navajo Nation Code Talkers, but to the 11 Navajo warriors who have recently lost their lives fighting against terrorism since 9-11,” Mr. Shelly said. “Still today, alongside other Indian Nations of the United States, we send our sons and daughters into conflict to fight for liberty, freedom, and justice.”
Even though the operation to capture or kill bin Laden is over, Mr. Shelly said the name should be changed so that children don’t encounter it in the history books.Leaders of several other Indian tribes have issued similar calls.