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‘This man is a miracle’

‘This man is a miracle’

An afternoon with ‘Master Roy’


Navajo Times | Rima Krisst
Roy Lester shares a photo of himself and his teacher Lane Joe from 40 years ago.

In this modern age of cellphones, electric lines, fast cars and big box stores, so much has changed, but some things remain the same.

While some talk about “moving the Nation forward,” others are concerned about preserving age-old traditions that define the Diné way of life.

In a house full of laughter and warmth, surrounded by friends and relatives, with the scent of mutton stew and frybread in the air, Roy Lester Sr., also affectionately known as “Master Roy,” talked about his early life and when he devoted himself to the medicine path.

Lester was born in Winslow in 1952 to Ozetta and Tracy Lester. He is Tótsohnii (Big Water), born for Tábaahá (Edge Water).

His maternal grandfather is Tsénjikiní (Cliff Dwellers) and his paternal grandfather is Kinlichinii (Red House). He has four siblings and two children.

When Lester was a youngster, his father traveled around Arizona for work, from the railroad to a school in Leupp, until they settled in Indian Wells, where he managed the family farm and labored to keep a warm house and food on the table.

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About The Author

Rima Krisst

Reporter and photojournalist Rima Krisst reported for the Navajo Times from July 2018 to October 2022. She covered Arts and Culture and Government Affairs beats.Before joining the editorial team at the Times, Krisst worked in various capacities in the areas of communications, public relations, marketing and Indian Affairs policy on behalf of the Tribes, Nations and Pueblos of New Mexico. Among her posts, she served as Director of PR and Communications for the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department under Governor Bill Richardson, Healthcare Outreach and Education Manager for the Eight Northern Pueblos, Tribal Tourism Liaison for the City of Santa Fe, and Marketing Projects Coordinator for Santa Fe Indian Market. As a writer and photographer, she has also worked independently as a contractor on many special projects, and her work has been published in magazines. Krisst earned her B.S. in Business Administration/Finance from the University of Connecticut.


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