Dear Reader,

I feel the need to clarify some items in your January 21 “Mystery in the Desert” article regarding the making of the documentary The Return of Navajo Boy. While I found Mike Sula to be an engaging interviewer, there are some necessary clarifications to his article.

Sula is right in the fact that the project was a collaboration between Jeff Spitz and myself since day one of my involvement in the film. The problem comes when he states that “Spitz made the last trip to Zuni…reedited the film, put music down on the sound track,…tightened and fine-tuned until it was ready to go.” I, as coproducer, took several leaves of absence from my career as a full-time undergraduate to contribute my share of hard work. The final phases of production were also helped along to a great degree by our editor, Sharon Karp of Chicago’s Media Monster. To imply that Spitz did it all on his own would be inaccurate.

Your article does hit the mark, however, portraying Spitz’s sensitivity and foresight in wanting to tell the story right, culminating in his hours of research and travel and ultimately bringing me on board.

While I understand the Reader is Chicagocentric in its readership, I also found it disturbing that my substantial role as a Navajo person in bringing The Return of Navajo Boy to the Sundance film festival seemed largely underplayed. For the very same reason I find it odd that Chicago-based editor Karp was never mentioned.

If you could shed light on these items I would greatly appreciate it.


Bennie Klain

Austin, Texas