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---- Monday - June 26, 2017 - 1:01:37 PM - Navajo Nation Time ----

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Harrison Lapahie Jr.

Dad
Harrison Lapahie
Mom
Lillie Todychini
Daughter
Krystal Nizhoni Lapahie

Dad and Dondo at Aunt Yellowhorses trailer in Shiprock NM during World Series, October 1977 Mom and Dondo during summer of 1975 having a barbecue in Provo Utah

Dondo wearing Indian Headdress in 1959 or 1960 in Southern California

Nickname : Dondo
Clan : Bitahnii T1chiinii (Navajo)
Bitahnii (Folded Arms People) blood from mom Lillie Todychini.
T1chiinii (Red Running into Water People) blood from dad Harrison Lapahie.
Birth Date : September 28, 1955
Born Where : El Huerfano Mesa (Dzi[ N1oodi[ii)
San Juan County, New Mexico
Stories : Grandfather And Me
Grave Of A Friend
Kill Me Please!

Life Profile School Profile College Profile Work Profile Extra Photos

Life Profile of Harrison Jr.
(Dondo, Harrison, then Harry)

Dondo in Papoose in 1955 or 1956 Harrison Lapahie Jr. is known by his nickname as "Dondo" by relatives and elementary school friends. Some relatives call him "Jr" while other have called him "Harry" as they did his father. Dondo is Navajo born at Huerfano (Dzi[ N1oodi[ii), New Mexico on September 28, 1955. He is of Bitahnii T1chiinii lineage. Bitahnii (Folded Arms People) from mom Lillie Todychini's side, born for the T1chiinii (Red Running into Water People) from dad Harrison Lapahie's side. The T0d7ch7inii (Bitter Water People) were his maternal grandparents, and the Taneeszahnii (Badlands People) were his paternal grandparents. Dondo's mom worked as a Seamstress for most of her life, and his dad worked as an Electronic Mechanic for Rockwell until he passed away in 1985. Harry's mom's is from Dzi[ N1oodi[ii, NM and his dad is from the Sanostee/Shiprock area of New Mexico.

Dondo has had a couple of influential people in his early life. The most important probably being, his mom (Lillie), his dad (Harrison Sr.), and his Grandma Julia Armstrong on his mom's side. Dondo's mom, Lillie, was a hard working seamstress and was very loving to her family, who made clothes for her son when Dondo was in elementary school, and influenced dad when making important decisions. Mom's earlier convictions to Christ influenced her family for the good in living a Christian life. Dad, Harrison Lapahie, who was smart, discipline, and stern, always wanted Dondo to give the best in everything he did. One saying that father Harrison Lapahie always would say to his son was, "Show them what an Indian can do!". Grandma Julia Armstrong influence was her ability to live a fruitful life in an environment of difficulty. She lived in a hogan 60 miles from the nearest town, and there was no electricity or running water, yet she was able to provide for herself and her children and grandchildren through out all her life. Having no marketable skills or a "white man's" education, Grandma had no job other than living a life as a "Sheepherder". Yet she survived, most of her life without her husband, and had a long, happy and fullfilling life, to live until the age of 90 years.

Dondo and Dad at Pow-Wow in Southern California in 1957 or 1958 As a youngster, Harrison Jr. was known as "Dondo" by relatives and neighborhood kids, growing up in the Pico-Union District of downtown Los Angeles. He was also known as "Harrison" throughout his secondary and college school years. He later decided to call himself "Harry", because of the confusion his first name caused. Most of the time his first name "Harrison" was filed as a last name, and people thought of "Lapahie" as his first name. Therefore, he decided to call himself "Harry", at least to stop some of the confusion. His last name "Lapahie" came from his great grandfather on his father's side, Hosteen Lapahie. In Navajo, Hosteen means "Mister" (as a sign of respect) referring to an older or elderly man, and Lapahie (pronounced "Kleh Bajeh") means "gray" or "light complexion". Therefore, Lapahie, means gray hair, or light complexion, from a reference to great grandfather, Mr. Hosteen Lapahie.

Dondo was raised in Pico-Union (a downtown Los Angeles neighborhood), and attended 10th St Elementary, Berendo Jr High and Belmont High.

After Belmont, Dondo attended Brigham Young University (BYU) in 1973, California State University Long Beach in 1985, California State University Los Angeles in 1990, and University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

Brigham Young University (BYU) had Mormons (high morals, God-Family 1st), rocky mountains, snow and blizzards, 99% White, no drugs-alcohol or crime. Dondo, now Harrison, missed out on most of the 70s era (discos, X-films) at BYU.

Dondo at Dzil Naoodilii in 1963 or 1964

After returning to his parents in Pico-Union in 1979, Harrison noticed secondary school friends had moved and downtown Los Angeles was dying. Harry wanted to return to Provo, but a Math Teacher job at south-central's Fremont High caused Harry to stay. A prison-educational system (bldg lockdowns, no clubs), low morale, and students being about 4 grade levels behind were its problems.

Harry then pursued in the evenings, an Electrical Engineering degree at CA State Univ Long Beach (BSEE 1985), CA State Univ Los Angeles (MSEE 1990) and Univ of CA Los Angeles (PhD units in Education).

In 1985 his dad, Harrison Lapahie (Sr.) died. Harrison (Sr.) was unable to see the realization of his dream for his son, having passed away from a second heart attack in the early morning hours, a day before Thanksgiving, in 1985, at their apartment in downtown Los Angeles. On Thanksgiving Day, Dondo and other relatives travelled to Harrison (Sr.) funeral in Shiprock, New Mexico. Harrison Lapahie (Sr.) was buried at Memory Gardens Cemetery between Farmington and Aztec, New Mexico. What Harry missed were the late night talks till 2 am, and Harrison (Sr.) blessings as he laid his hands on Dondo's forehead. His father was his best friend! In November 2001, mom Lillie Lapahie accepted dad Harrison Lapahie's (Sr.) U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor at the Navajo Nation Capitol (Window Rock, Arizona), belatedly bestowed to his dad by the U.S. government, 16 years after he died, and 56 years after he served as a U.S. Marine in World War II. Dad Harrison Lapahie (Sr.) was one of the legendary Navajo Code Talkers of World War II yet not one of his neighbors knew about that!

After earning his BSEE, Harry worked on boresight, spaceborne processing, attitude control, programming, refinery analysis, technical writing, and part-time teaching of math, electronics and computer science.

Harry and Nilda Lapahie at the LDS Bell Ward in 1997.

Harry worked as a Software Systems Engineer/Programmer at JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory). Harry married Elementary School Teacher, Nilda Quimno Bingil, a beautiful, tall, humble, Chinese Filipina, born in southern Mindanao, Philippines. One miscarriage later, they are expecting a girl to be born in September 2004. Harry calls Nilda "Onggoy" (Monkey), "Onggoy Palautot" (Skunking Monkey) or "Gah" ("Love" in Cebuano and "Rabbit" in Navajo) and she calls Harry her "Baboy" (Pig) or "Baboy Palautot" (Skunking Pig). Harry moved from the family's Pico-Union apt in 1988 to buy a 2-story townhouse in Huntington Park, CA during the height of the real estate boom in California. Harry and his wife Nilda, also own a two homes in Davao Del Sur, on the island of Mindanao, in the Philippines. One is a bamboo structure in the jungles of Matanao near the river, and the other is a cement 3-bedroom, 2 shower home in the village of Tamlangon. The cement home was built with the supervison of Nilda and her relatives in Tamlangon. Mom Lillie Lapahie's stroke in 1997 caused her to leave Pico-Union after 45 years to live with Harry and Nilda in Huntington Park. The Pico Union District has turned from a well kept multi-racial neighborhood of the 1950s and 1960s to slowly and steadily deteriorate to become a run down neighborhood of today of mostly Latino illegals since about the mid 1980s.

Harry Lapahie's whole life has been one of mistaken identity! In general, throughout Harry's secondary, college, teaching, and engineering years, he was rarely thought of as an American Indian, and mistakenly thought of as being either Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, or Filipino. When he told others that he was Indian, they assume that Harry was an Indian from India. It was therefore easier for Harry to socialize among Japanese and Chinese ethnic groups in his youth than with any other race. But as Harry has gotten older, he has looked less Chinese, looking Filipino, and now less Filipino, looking more Mexican (Indio). Harry has therefore experienced from youth, the negative racial comments that Mexicans think and say to Asians, and what Asians think about Blacks and Mexicans but never say in public. From elementary school to junior high, Harry fought strictly with Mexicans (for just living in the wrong neighborhood), and from elementary school to college easily made friends with Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, and Vietnamese. Asians thought Harry was Asian and would easily make comments about Blacks and Mexicans to him while studying or being friends from high school to working in Los Angeles. Harry therefore has a good understanding of how Asian see themselves, their comparisons of themselves with other Non-Asian races, their racial prejudices, and how Non-Asians (Latinos & Blacks in general) treat and think about Asians here in Los Angeles.

Harrison Jr.'s personal time has been used in traveling to the 4-Corners (AZ-NM-UT-CO), helping his mom, attending church, creating computer video games in Turbo C, and doing his website which concerns the Navajo. The URL is "www.lapahie.com". When the Navajo Code Talkers' Association didn't have a website, his website was used as their unofficial site which is www.lapahie.com/NavajoCodeTalker.cfm. This website had caused groups and individuals to seek Harrison Jr.'s counsel and be their Guest Speaker concerning the Navajo Code Talkers, about his father Navajo Code Talker Harrison Lapahie (Sr.), and Navajo history and culture in general!

Home of Harry and Nilda Lapahie at Tamlangon, Matanao, Davao del Sur, Mindanao, the Philippines. Harrison Jr. is a member of the Institue of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), Mathematical Association of America, New Mexico Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges, and "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" (the Mormons). Harry had been active in AISES by attending their chapter meetings at CSULB, being the AISES Coordinator at Diné College, and being a participant in their Regional Conferences and Annual Conferences in many different places across the USA. Harry has been a member of LDS branches in Provo UT, and LDS wards in Bell CA, and Shiprock NM. In church, he has been an Usher Coordinator, Home Teacher, Sunday School Second Counselor, Stake Missionary, and Executive Secretary of the Elders Quorum Presidency. As a Home Teacher, he has been assigned to home teach certain families in the Ward or Branch once a month. He also checked up on them, to see if his families were in need of assistances from the Home Teachers, Elders, or Ward in general. As an Executive Secretary to the Elders Quorum Presidency, he has kept the records of the active and in-active members up to date. In-active members were then followed up by home visits, to help them with any spiritual, social, or emotional problems that they might be having. He also sometimes went on missionary splits with the missionaries. When working in Los Angeles, Harrison Jr. tried to take one LDS class a semester at the LDS Institute of Religion just off campus at USC.

What Harry misses of his Belmont years:

The age of sixteen was a difficult time in Harry's life! If only he could travel back in time to resolve 1 or 2 problems he couldn't handle.

Harrison Jr. returned to the 4-Corners area of New Mexico in 2005. Harrison Jr. makes probably less than half of what he made in Los Angeles.

To give you more of a history of "Dzi[ N1oodi[ii", it is one of the most sacred mountains of the Navajos, just off the Navajo Reservation in the four corners area of northern New Mexico. Dzi[ N1oodi[ii, lies just off New Mexico State Highway 44 and between the large towns of Bloomfield and Cuba in northern New Mexico. It also lies about 25 miles north of Chaco Canyon National Park and about 60 miles south-east of Mesa Verde National Park. Dzi[ N1oodi[ii is an isolated location where hardly anyone lives except for a few Navajos that are related to Harry's mom, Lillie Lapahie. Dzi[ N1oodi[ii is a Navajo word which translates as, "Holy People (Navajo Deities) Encircling Mountain" and is the site of Changing Woman's (a sacred Navajo woman) first home of her own. Dzi[ N1oodi[ii is said to have suggested the form of the hexagonal or octagonal cribbed-roof "Hogan", the tradional home of the Navajos. Dzi[ N1oodi[ii is also referred to as "El Huerfano" (Spanish) or Huerfano Mountain (English).

El Huerfano (in Spanish) or Dzi[ N1oodi[ii (in Navajo) is a huge table mesa mountain, standing alone in the flat lands of northern New Mexico. The Navajos refer to this mountain as sacred referring to the birth and movements of their ancestors and home of Changing Woman. On documents that ask for Harry's birthplace, Harry always says "El Huerfano", because Dzi[ N1oodi[ii is usually not acceptable or too many questions are raised by government or city officials, and "Huerfano Mountain" is too simple a name. This mountain is actually a Mesa, which means a mountain that is flat or level on top looking somewhat like a table. In Spanish the English word for Mesa is "Table". Since the death of grandma (Julia Armstrong), Harry's mom (Lillie Lapahie) and four of Julia's surviving children have equal share of the land around Dzi[ N1oodi[ii.

Harry would be glad to hear from old friends from his secondary schools, relatives, and school friends from Utah!

Please look at the School Profile, College Profile, Work Profile, and Extra Photos of Harrison Lapahie Jr.

Facts about Harrison:

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Life Profile School Profile College Profile Work Profile Extra Photos

Dad
Harrison Lapahie
Mom
Lillie Todychini
Daughter
Krystal Nizhoni Lapahie

[ HomeWhat's New!In Progress ] [ Family Tree ] [ Stories ] [ EmailComments ] [ FacebookTwitterGoogle+ ]
[ MythologyDiné ClansHogansArts & CraftsInfrastructureLandforms ]
[ Code TalkersNCT Coder ] [ Diné BizaadTimelineLawsLong WalkLeadersMap ]
[ FAQDiné CollegeNavajo TechChapter HousesDirectoryMiss NavajoMiss Northern NavajoResources ]
[ Navajo TimesNavajo Hopi ObserverNavajo PostFarmington Daily TimesKTNNKOBFTV ]
[ Navajo CentralKayenta TownshipNavajo NationDiscover NavajoWikipedia Navajo ]

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Dated Created: 08/27/2001
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Updated: 04/15/2012
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