A Navajo elder's message for the moon
When NASA was preparing for the Apollo Project, it took the astronauts
to a Navajo reservation in
and his son came across the space crew walking among the rocks. The
elder, who spoke only Navajo, asked a question. His son translated for
the NASA people: "What are these guys in the big suits doing? " One of
the astronauts said that they were practicing for a trip to the moon.
When his son relayed this comment the Navajo elder got all excited and
asked if it would be possible to give to the astronauts a message to
deliver to the moon. Recognizing a promotional opportunity when he saw
one, a NASA official accompanying the astronauts said, "Why certainly!"
and told an underling to get a tape recorder. The Navajo elder's
comments into the microphone were brief. The NASA official asked the son
if he would translate what his father had said. The son listened to the
recording and laughed uproariously. But he refused to translate. So the
NASA people took the tape to a nearby Navajo village and played it for
other members of the tribe. They too laughed long and loudly but also
refused to translate the elder's message to the moon.
Finally, an official government translator was summoned. After he
finally stopped laughing the translator relayed the message: "Watch out
for these idiots. They have come to steal your land."