Tony Hillerman

His numerous best-selling mystery novels about two Navajo policemen, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, portrayed the American Indians of the Southwest with accuracy, color and affection. Hillerman, who died Oct. 26 at 83, was the first popular author to consistently write about the Navajo as fully rounded characters. Over 18 novels, starting with 1970's The Blessing Way, he portrayed the Navajo with good traits and bad, as heroic and villainous, just as novelists had written about people of other races and cultures. He understood that Navajo are not the primitives depicted in old western movies, and he wanted his readers to...

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