Obituary: Alden Burch Naranjo Jr.

Naranjo Family

NARANJO – Alden Burch Naranjo, Jr. (Blue Sunrise) passed away Sunday, May 3, 2020, in Albuquerque. He was 79 years old.

Alden was born January 3, 1941, to Alden Naranjo, Sr. and Bertha Burch Groves in Ignacio, Colorado.

He grew up in Ignacio, attended Ute Vocational School, graduated from St. Catherine’s Indian School in Santa Fe, NM, and attended Merritt College in California. Alden enlisted in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. Over his 40 years working for the tribe, Alden spent 20 years as Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Coordinator, 16 years as a police officer, two years working for the Division of Wildlife and two years as a probation officer as well as a historian. He was a member of Keepers of the Treasures, which pre-dated NAGPRA. He was a spiritual leader for many tribal members and throughout the world. He traveled the State of Colorado and the world advocating and educating about Native American culture, spirituality and rights. He was the President of the Native American Church of the Southern Ute Indian Reservation and the United States Chapters. Alden was a traditional dancer, a Sun Dancer and participant of his spirituality. Alden’s lineage includes Chief Buckskin Charley, Edwin Cloud and Samuel Burch.

He is survived by his children: Starlene Naranjo, Cassandra Atencio, Nelson Naranjo, and Keaton Naranjo; his companion: Lisa Tsuchiya; brother: Terry Naranjo; many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family and wonderful friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents; step-father, Vincent H. Grove; brother, Eugene Naranjo and 2 infant children.

Visitation will be held at Hood Mortuary on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 from 10-4 p.m. – this will be the opportunity for the public to view and pay respects. A wake and NAC ceremony will be held for family only, at his home on Wednesday evening followed by a Sunrise Ceremony on Thursday. A Graveside Service will be held Thursday, May 7, 2020, at 10:00 am, at Ouray Memorial Cemetery. A memorial service will be held in his honor at a later date. Please respect social distancing limitations during all services.

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