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Earth+Bone, Part 5: Navajo Demand Human Remains Be Returned To Sacred Canyon De Chelly

Adam Teller
Laurel Morales
Navajo guide Adam Teller stands above the part of Canyon de Chelly where his family lives.

The Dakota Access Pipeline has brought a megaphone to the battle between what tribes believe to be sacred and what westerners consider fair game all across the United States. KJZZ’s Fronteras Desk Correspondent Laurel Morales spent months digging deeper into this pervasive issue here in the Southwest to produce this series Earth+Bone.


Known as “the informer” among her siblings, Laurel Morales came by reporting naturally.She’s been a public radio reporter since 1998, cutting tape with a razor blade at KQED’s California Report. She traded in her flip-flops for snow boots to work for Minnesota Public Radio, where she received her first digital recorder. But Morales has spent most of her career in northern Arizona where she’s had the honor to witness a Miss Navajo sheep butchering contest, a Havasupai medicine woman’s ceremony, and a group of blind teens hike the Grand Canyon.She joined KJZZ’s Fronteras Desk in 2011. In 2017, Morales produced a multi-platform project called Earth+Bone about what tribes believe to be sacred and what Westerners consider fair game. She’s won several awards for her work, including a national Edward R. Murrow Award for her continuing coverage of the Yarnell Hill Fire. She earned her master’s in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.