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On June 16, the White Mountain Apache Tribe lost one of the greatest Medicine Men of modern times. Harris Burnette was a traditional Apache Medicine Man who conducted hundreds of Sunrise Dance Ceremonies throughout Western Apache lands over the span of four decades. 

His knowledge of traditional culture and language was monumental. He carried with him thousands of years of songs passed down to him from previous generations. He will always be known for his beautiful and powerful songs.

Harris was a truly remarkable man who led an incredible life that blessed many. He was known among all the Apache Tribes and had traveled to many places. Mr. Burnette was well-respected not only among the White Mountain Apache Tribe but throughout Arizona and Indian Country. He was a father, grandfather, uncle, mentor, teacher, and friend to many.

Medicine Man Harris Burnette of White Mountain Apache Tribe. (Photo courtesy of Silver Creek Mortuary)

Harris was the leader of his singing group The Burnette Singers. His group traveled throughout the southwest to do prayer and Sunrise Dance ceremonies for many families. Many went to Harris for spiritual guidance and counsel. He was a storyteller and historian. He was the equivalent of a doctor of traditional and ecological knowledge.

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Harris was taught by his late father Ernest Ryan Burnette Sr. As a young boy, Harris grew up in McNary, Az. He often reminisced about his upbringing in the tall pines. In his youth he sat long hours aside his father at ceremonies where he learned about becoming a traditional & spiritual leader. He had keen skills of listening and learning. Mr. Burnette was greatly admired by the people and communities he served in his traditional role throughout his life. He was revered as a major public figure in the Apache traditional lifeways and the spiritual wellbeing of the White Mountain Apache people.

Harris is survived by his wife, Rosemary Burnette; daughter, Kristy Taya Joy & Nicaela Joy; sisters, Benrita Mae Burnette & Dorene Burnette-Gatewood (Varnell Jr); brothers, R. Glenn Burnette (Sadie), Bruce Burnette (Renee) and Jeffery Burnette (Darilyn).

He is preceded in death by his mother, Eunice Carroll Stago; father, Ernest Ryan Burnette Sr. and daughter, Harriet Burnette.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Allison Harris Burnette to the Silver Creek Mortuary

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This obituary originally can also be found at Silver Creek Mortuary