Indian Education

Utah State Board of Education

Anne Dodge Waueka

Tsenijikini – Honey – Combed Rock (Cliff Dwelling) People Clan

(Information taken from Harrison Lapahie Jr’s website)

Annie Dodge was born in 1910 and was the daughter of Henry Chee Dodge and his temporary wife Kee’hanabob. Chee Dodge, the last chief of the Navajos and the first tribal chairman of the Tribal Council had other children who had more advantages than Annie. She attended boarding school at Fort Defiance in Arizona. Her father later sent Annie and two older children to boarding school at Albuquerque Indian School.

It was during her time at Albuquerque Indian School that she learned about the many other Indian tribes and while they all spoke different languages, they all had to learn English. Annie left school after completing the eleventh grade.  She returned home to tend the sheep and goats and earned the title of “the family herder”.

She married George Wauneka and lived in Klagetoh south of Ganado early in her married life.  She also lived in other places in the area learning the way of life as ranchers as her father requested.  Her father Chee Dodge was very active in tribal politics and was a leader throughout her life.  He died in 1947 but Annie had listened well to his ideas and stories.  He taught her to respect her elders and reminded her that if not for them and their endurance that she would not be there.

Annie studied her father’s style of leadership and attended many council meetings, listening and learning.  Her father would discuss with her what had occurred during the proceedings and the arguments that had been made.  She learned to think through issues.  She “learned to understand how one works for an idea,” and her father trusted her work with people and management of his livestock and property.

Annie’s father told his children “Do not allow my straight rope fall to the ground.  If you discover it dropping, quickly one of you pick it up and hold it aloft and straight.”  Simply put Annie discovered he meant, “Do not allow my ideals and leadership to suffer or fall to the ground.”   Over the years Annie learned that sometimes one failure or six failures should not mean to stop trying.  She had the spirit to do just that.  She often told people, “ If I fail, I will just go and do more.”

During Annie’s lifetime she worked to improve the quality of life for her people.  She worked for health issues to eliminate tuberculosis and to improve the sanitary conditions within a home environment.  She knew that the Navajos needed help with housing and she found ways to influence legislation and received financial help to build new and different homes.

While Annie received many awards during her lifetime, such as 1958 Arizona Woman of Achievement for the year and in 1959 she was presented the Annual Indian Achievement Award given by the Indian Council Fire, a national organization with headquarters in Chicago.  In 1963 prior to his assassination President John F. Kennedy told her she was being honored by the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award.  She was the first Indian of the southwest to receive such a high honor. 

Annie had a radio show for two years during the time she was a councilwoman. She spoke in Navajo discussing health matters, alcohol abuse and tuberculosis.  She was very instrumental in getting the U.S. Public Health Service and the Navajo Medicine men to work together to understand and appreciate what significance the Navajo Medicine Men were to the people.

Annie was not afraid to express her opinions on issues of importance to her people.  Such as the educational system which she accused of failing to allow the Indian people a voice in the location of schools.  She told the Sub-Committee on Indian Education of the U.S. Senate that the single biggest problem in education was that the Bureau of Indian Affairs prevented Indians from becoming sufficiently involved in their own education and the BIA kept schools from being Indian community centers.  She said that the schools being built on the reservations were there “to keep Congress happy.”

Annie Dodge Wauneka was a tall stately woman who was poised, confident and able to captivate an audience as she spoke.  She left little doubt about her feelings on issues that affected her people.  Annie died in 1997 at the age of 87 leaving behind many accomplishments and many sad people.  For more information on Annie Dodge Wauneka go to

The lesson on Annie Dodge Wauneka should be taught under * United States Government and Citizenship 2002, Standard 3, Students will understand the distribution of power in the national, state and local government in the United States federal system.

Objective 1 – students will determine the relationship between the national government and the states.

Assessment/indicators- student will assess the unique relationship between the sovereign American Indian Nations and the United States Government.

Stage 2 Assessment Presentations within the class by groups of students who read or reviewed books on Annie Wauneka’s life

Stage 3 Learning Strategies  The teacher will assign readings within groups of students who will present back to the class their perspective of Annie Wauneka’s life and the impact she had on the Navajo people as well as the role model she set for all people on how to use the system of local, state and national level to make change.

A good resource is "I will go and do More" by Carolyn Niethammer.

The above websites will provide many resources for teacher and students.