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Many people, including Native American tribes, find it important to connect with their families. And no group does more genealogical work than The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Elder Larry J. Echo Hawk of the Quorum of the Seventy and a member of the Pawnee Nation presented the president of the Navajo Tribe, Russell Begaye, a book full of his family lineage. “Our mission is to gather family history information and to preserve those source records so that individuals will have access to find out what their relationships are,” Elder Echo Hawk said. “We then freely share these records any place in the world.”
President Begaye’s family history goes back as far as the 1820s. Diane Loosle, director of the Patron Services Division of the Church’s Family History Department said Native American history is difficult to find earlier than the 1850s due to an oral culture of speaking rather than recording history in writing. Family history is something certain tribes like the Cherokee and Chickasaw nations are finding more compelling. “A story of the tribe is a composite story of the family,” she said.
President Begaye was appreciative of the gift from the Church, noting that “it’s really a special moment for our family and the Navajo Nation, [and] it’s really good to see the LDS Church reaching out.” He expressed excitement to continue to work with the Church on family history and other projects.