Cyrus Norcross

Award winning journalist based on the Navajo Nation. 

Unraveling the Murder-for-Hire Plot of Sgt. Rhett Barlow

A national guardsman is facing one count of solicitation to commit first-degree murder and is being held on a $1 million dollar bond. Army SGT, Rhett Micheal Barlow, 22, was arrested on Jan 6th and is facing charges for hiring a hitman to kill a truck driver who took his mother’s life 8 years ago in a vehicle accident. Barlow was 14 years old when his mother, Michelle Simone Barlow, 42, was crushed between two trucks on March 22, 2016. The truck driver, Donald Wayne Caulder Jr, collided with Mic

From the Battlefield to the Stage

LEUPP, Ariz. – Brian Price faced a critical decision: choose stability and study physics at Columbia University, or take a risk and pursue his lifelong passion. Eventually, the former Navy SEAL decided on his next mission: acting.

“I was thinking of doing physics because I enjoy learning about science and I could get a job,” Price said. “But I always knew I wanted to be in movies and on TV.”

During his first year at Columbia University, the Navajo man received a phone call that would solidify his decision to change his major to theater.

TikTokers share good times at Indigifest 2023

By Cyrus Norcross

Special to the Times

The 2023 Indigifest celebrated its second year at Narbona Pass picnic grounds on Saturday, drawing in music enthusiasts, fashionistas, and TikTok celebrities across the Nation.

Indigifest’s organizer, Lavonna “Bonnie” Begay, created a lineup of talent that captivated the audience.

“Last year, the first Indigifest started off as a joke online,” Begay said. “So, I asked my brother (Jeff) if he wants to make Indigifest a reality, and he said, ‘Let’s do it

James Ramos Keeps Pushing to Raise Awareness, Secure Resources for Addressing California’s MMIP Crisis | Health

SACRAMENTO - A bill to designate May as Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Awareness month in California, has passed the state's Assembly and Senate.

Last week, the senate voted 37-0 on May 25 to move the bill, Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 25 (ACR 25), forward after the Assembly voted 13-0 on May 4.

ACR 25 was introduced by Assemblyman James Ramos, Serrano/Cahuilla tribe, to raise awareness on MMIP throughout California and increase support for tribal governments in their communities

‘The fear is real’, Sasquatch enthusiasts share stories, take on activities at Bigfoot Adventures

By Cyrus Norcross

Special to the Times


Community members shared Bigfoot stories at Sanostee Chapter during the “Beautiful Mountain Bigfoot Adventures” event May 13.

The Bigfoot Adventures has been on a hiatus since 2020, and its director, Frank Smith, is ecstatic to have the event happening again.

“We started in 2017, and after 2019 we haven’t hosted it until now,” Smith said, “I’ve counted around fifty people who have shown up and from all over the place.”


Families for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives rally in Shiprock

SHIPROCK – Advocates and family walked from all four directions to Nizhoni Park last weekend to express how life has changed since losing a loved one.

“This isn’t just about my aunt, this is for all those people that came today,” said Seraphine Warren, organizer of the Reunite our Missing event. “They don’t have anybody to turn to. Somebody has to do something.”

Her aunt, Ella Mae Begay, has been missing since June 15, 2021. Warren organizes walks, rallies and has been attending meetings focus

Racers revive a decades-old marathon in Shiprock after two years of pandemic

SHIPROCK — Runners from the Four Corners area participated in the 39th annual Shiprock Marathon & Half Marathon in-person for the first time since the pandemic struck.

For Army veteran Johnny Francisco, just being in Shiprock helped him through the race.

“I see Shiprock, feel the cool air,” he said. “It’s just motivating to run on the Navajo Nation again.”

Francisco completed the half-marathon in 3:17:09. He has a prosthetic leg, but he said it didn’t hinder his race.

“Running with it wasn’t

Families rally for relatives facing bordertown violence

FARMINGTON — Family members and advocates lined up Thursday in front of Berg Park to raise awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous people and how poverty leads to unrest on Native lands.

“The sad truth about it is many of these families are the working poor,” said organizer Darlene Gomez. “Their communities are infested with domestic violence, alcoholism, drug abuse and these problems stem from the federal government not putting enough money into social programs.”

Gomez, an attorney and

Shiprock vets honored in Vietnam War veterans parade

By Cyrus Norcross

Special to the Times

Vietnam veterans, their families and supporters participated in the 5th Annual Vietnam Veterans Parade Shiprock on April 2.

The parade celebrates the Vietnam veterans and National Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 29.

The importance of March 29 is that the last U.S. combat troops departed the Vietnam War on March 29, 1973.

President Obama proclaimed the National Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 29, 2012. President Trump signed the Vietnam War Recogni

Reporter's Notebook | We are all natural storytellers

By Cyrus Norcross

Special to the Times

I recently finished a rafting trip on the San Juan River with colleagues and came across the idea that we are all storytellers.

Throughout the trip, we had conversations regarding Navajo politics, agriculture, economics, technology and our ancestors.

At certain points, our river guide, John Hosteen, stopped along a beach to show us petroglyphs.

As we looked at these images, our group came up with many theories on what rock art could mean.

One idea we

Chieftains squeezes out victory over Panthers

By Cyrus Norcross

Special to the Times

The Shiprock Chieftain baseball team ended its four-game losing streak on March 22 with a victory over the Montezuma-Cortez Panthers 10-4.

During the first inning, Montezuma-Cortez scored a run against Shiprock. The Chieftains answered back, scoring two runs ending the first inning 2-1.

Going into the second inning, Montezuma-Cortez added two runs to the scoreboard, and the Chieftains had no runs. The second inning ended with 3-2.

In the third inning,

Slideshow | Rock Point Lady Cougars win 1A State Championship

Here are scenes from the Rock Point Lady Cougar’s Class 1A state victory on Feb. 19, 2022, as they defeated the Fort Thomas Lady Apaches, 64-43.

Navajo Times | Cyrus Norcross In the fourth quarter, the game buzzer rings, ending the 1A state championship game on Feb. 19. The Rock Point Lady Cougars celebrate the state title win. Navajo Times | Cyrus Norcross The Lady Cougars teammates embrace one another after defeating the Fort Thomas Apaches for the 1A state championship on Feb. 19. Rock Point

Justice for Descheenie: Family of man found dead seeks policy changes

Jevon “Chewie” Descheenie was laid to rest on Feb. 16 in Rock Point, three months after being found face down in a canal on Nov. 12, 2021.

The family of 21-year-old Descheenie is looking for justice surrounding his untimely death.

Descheenie’s body was held at the University of New Mexico’s Office of the Medical Investigator.

The autopsy report was released to the Navajo Times, and cultivation of the report reads:

“The exact sequence of events regarding how Mr. Descheenie’s body came to rest

A passion for food: Pioche Food Group hosts a fine dining experience

The Navajo-owned and family-operated food business, Pioche Food Group, served a nine-course meal to seven couples on Valentine’s Day, Feb 14, at Casa Blanca Inn.

Guests came from the Four Corners area hearing about the dinner through friends, family, and social media. A few of them were regular customers of PFG.

PFG serves primarily traditional Navajo food with a fine dining experience. But on Valentine’s Day, PFG’s Executive Chef Justin Pioche and his sister, Tia Pioche, decided to serve thei

Rain: Trade in women, girls started with Columbus

People filled up the seats of Jean Cocteau Cinema to watch two documentaries about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women by movie director Rain on Feb 4.

The two documentaries are titled “Say Her Name” and “Somebody’s Daughter.”

Each takes place in Montana on the Blackfeet Reservation and is about family members losing loved ones and seeking justice.

Rain shared how police jurisdictions are an issue on reservations and how the missing and murdered movement has been around since Christopher C

‘I’m not the only one’: Families of missing, murdered walk for attention, comfort

Nearly 100 people walked from the four directions carrying signs, with red handprints on them, toward Nizhoni Park on the morning of Jan. 29 in memory of the missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Supporters of MMIW and families who have lost loved ones joined the five-mile walk to raise awareness of missing people on the Navajo Nation.

The walk was organized by Seraphine Warren, who has been searching for her aunt, Ella Mae Begay, for seven months.

Warren and other families approached the wa

‘Food has always been medicine’: Siblings start traditional food truck business to give back

Diné siblings Justin and Tia Pioche strive to serve the Four Corners area high-quality meals from their food truck, Pioche Food Group.

Picohe Food Group, or PFG, is a Navajo-owned and -operated food company that started providing high-quality meals in 2019 and became a business in 2020. The goal is to promote Navajo history, culture, and traditional practice to Diné communities.

Justin Pioche, an executive chef for PFG, started his culinary career at 17 when he joined the Farmington Mexican re

Finding freedom through music: Young singer cites elders for teaching her songs

Rising Diné artist Nanibaah sang soul songs with a big voice in the newly opened Encore Cafe on the evening of June 21.

Deeanna “Nanibaah“ Talley, 23, has sung since she was toddler and grew up listening to soul, R&B, and traditional music.

She gained inspiration and encouragement from listening to her father figure and grandfather who were both singers. Which led to her singing professionally in the year of 2016.

Her father figure, George Ford, helped Nanibaah sing and take her music to anot

Survey of Natives gives people a voice in policies

Across the United States, the Native Organizers Alliance is gathering data through their Indigenous Futures Survey to provide Native Americans the opportunity to shape their future.

The survey was developed by Natives for Natives and is being taken in rural and urban Native communities.

The data that is received will be used to hold politicians, the media and educators accountable for the well-being of indigenous people.

The alliance is an Indigenous-owned, nonprofit, community-based organiza

'Something that needed to be done': Auto shop owner sees success, donates to students

The owner of TC Automotive Repair, O’Neil Bileen, not only supports the community by fixing vehicles, he also helps students with laptops and school supplies.

After Bileen’s previous employer, Don Robbins Auto Shop, closed its doors, Bileen started the Navajo owned and operated shop, TC Automotive Repair, in March of 2017 in Farmington.

“I was pretty much managing that place (Don Robbins Auto Shop) and when it closed, it was a natural transition to running this place,” Bileen said, “We started

FBI raises reward for murder info: Mother pleads anyone who knows to come forward

The FBI has increased the reward from $5000 to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of Zachariah Juwaun Shorty.

Shorty’s body was found by a runner on July 25, 2020, on a dirt trail south of the San Juan River approximately a half mile west of the Nenahnezad Chapter House.

Shorty’s cause of death was gunshot wounds. He was 23 at the time of his death.

The last time Zach’s mother, Vangie Randall-Shorty, saw her son aliv

Skateboarding becomes an anchor for Diné skater

Competitive skateboarder Cecely Todacheenie is healing from a physical injury, but that doesn’t stop her from advocating the importance of mental health.

Todacheenie learned to skateboard over 16 years ago in her hometown, Smith Lake, New Mexico.

At the time, skateboarding was a pastime she would do with her younger brothers for fun. But after experiencing a traumatic event in her life, skateboarding became her anchor in life.

“It helped me get out of that mental mindset of going through some
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