Beating deaths of homeless Diné men raises concerns, promises of help

By Colleen Keane
Special to the Times

ALBUQUERQUE, July 31, 2014

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(Special to the Times – Colleen Keane)

A marcher in last Friday’s peace rally in Albuquerque raises a sign in support of hate crime legislation that would include violence against the homeless.

The last time Gordon Yawakia, a staffer at the Albuquerque Indian Center, saw Allison Gorman he was wearing a straw cowboy hat, boots and blue jeans.

"He was a real good man. He said he came from the rez and was looking for a job," Yawakia recalled.

Gorman was known to be from Shiprock.

Yawakia said Gorman often stopped by the center to get his mail, get something to eat and talk with other Natives. Gorman and his friend Kee Thompson from Church Rock, N.M., also used to stop occasionally to get something to eat a few blocks away where Helen Tafoya and her daughter Teena Secatero of To’hajiilee give out sandwiches, water and clothes to the homeless.

Secatero remembers Thompson as being quiet, polite and very grateful for any kindness he received.

"He was so happy to get a meal," she recalled.

Both men were in their 40s and had ended up on the streets of Albuquerque without jobs and with serious drinking problems.

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