Why should we Americans, most of whom will never set foot on tribal land, be concerned about keeping the Navajo language alive? One of the reasons has to do with our own history and with a birthday gift my mother wrote in my baby book for my first birthday. It read simply, "victory over Japan." Many Americans would not make the connection between that gift and the impact the Navajo language had on it. My father was stationed in France where his Army unit was waiting to know if they would be deployed to fight the Japanese. When Emperor Hirohito surrendered, I turned one year old. His surrender meant my dad and other dads, grandpas, uncles, cousins, brothers, aunts and sisters could return home to America.