Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn is the protagonist of Dance Hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman. Although he is Navajo by birth and respects the Navajo Way, he has also received a degree in anthropology from Arizona State University and looks at Navajo traditions from the sophisticated position of his social scientific knowledge and tries to strike a balance between rationalism and superstition. He is a figure who can understand many different cultures, Navajo, Zuni, and European, sympathetically and negotiate a path among them.
His approach to cultural change is balanced and thoughtful. He is not a traditional purist who rejects the modern world, but neither does he accept it naively. Rather he sees the virtues and vices both of Navajo tradition and modern technology and science.