Letters: Our children, families deserve a healthy environment

On Thursday, April 27, an EPA meeting was held at San Juan College concerning the Bonita Peak Mining District plans for 2017 to address the Gold King Mine environmental disaster.

The Gold King Mine continues to release 550 gallons of treated water each minute and the water inside the mine has continued to rise.

As a downriver community, we need to demand a thorough study to be conducted with a focus to possible health and environmental concerns.

I came away from the meeting most concerned about the accumulation of concentrated lead levels deposited into our ecosystem and farmland. Documentation needs to start now. Lead exposure is very serious and needs proper treatment. We need to have a baseline to monitor and accumulate the data for future reference.

There is no quick remedy to lead contamination. It’s going to take several years of results to analyze the effects of the contamination on the land and community. The data collected on human, animal, and plant effects could prove to be invaluable.
As a community, we need to have the ability to make well-informed decisions concerning the health of our families and livelihood. We have to stand together and support one another. Our children and families deserve to live in a healthy environment where they can prosper.

I speak from experience. In my family alone, we have suffered high rates of cancer and autoimmune diseases due to the close proximity to uranium tailings. We will never know if my mother and daughter’s breast cancer or the high occurrence of autoimmune diseases in my children resulted from our residential location in Shiprock. By sharing my contaminationÊexperience, I hope to warn my neighbors.

We may not see direct results in our generation, but are you willing to see your children and grandchildren deal with undue illness? Is our community ready? I propose the appropriate assessments need to be initiated as soon as possible and be paid for by the Super Fund.

Justin D. Yazzie Jr.
Farmington, N.M.

Neighbor not accountable for his actions

This is regarding an incident that we had on Monday afternoon (May 8) and I think that we need to make an awareness on this issue about what is animal abuse and child abuse.

My daughter is 11 years old and I was headed home Monday evening from work when I received a call from her. She was screaming and crying.

After calming her down, she stated that the neighbor had taken our dog, Karma, and she did not know where. I got home and we searched for her. That is when I asked my daughter to tell me what happened.

She said Karma’s chain had broken and she got loose and went into the neighbor’s yard. When my daughter when to go get her, she noticed that the neighbor was driving out of his backyard. She then noticed Karma in the back of the truck. She yelled at him, “That is our dog, stop!”

He then preceded to drive off and she yelled out “Karma” and ran after the truck. Karma jumped out of the truck when she heard her name but she was tied up by a rope so she was dragging along.

My daughter stated she ran after the truck screaming and yelling, but he sped up and went around the neighborhood and she was unable to stop him.

We went to his house and asked him where is our dog. He told us, “You don’t feed it, you did take care of it, and it was a stray.”
We told him, no, she was tied up in the backyard and we fed her and cared for her. He just kept telling me, no, it was a stray, you did not take care of her.

We had Karma for over six months. She was fixed so she could not have puppies and she was well taken care of.

My daughter was crying standing there and I asked him, “Don’t you care that she is crying and asking for her dog?” He started laughing and told her, “You don’t take care of your dog. Oh well.” And kept laughing at her. She was very upset.

We went to the police department and filed a report. The officer spoke with him and stated that he did not know it was our dog and that he did not know that he was dragging her behind his truck. He told the officer it was a stray dog and no one was taking care of it.

We heard from numerous people in the community that they tried to stop him and some of the kids were traumatized by it. Some even stated that this is not the first time he has done something like this.

Another person stated that he is crazy. We were told that his mother is a chapter official because she had even told my little girl that she was going to kill her dog. This person has been treating my daughter like this for the past four years and that he is going to kill her dog.

After confronting him at his house, I realized that he had no remorse for what happened and that he liked the fact that he was hurting my daughter. This to me is child abuse.

We, as parents and grandparents, are held accountable for our actions and how we speak to our children. But anyone else who traumatizes, victimizes, yells, calls our kids names, or evening threatens our children are not punishable.
This person will not be held accountable for his action because our dog got loose, because it is his word against an 11-year-old, because his parent is an elected leader?

This has been weighing on our minds for the past few days. What happens now? What if he gets irritated by kids playing in the street or riding their bikes, what would he do to them?

To me this a sign of a sociopath. He has no empathy, guilt, remorse, or shame of his action. People who are sociopaths will start killing animals, bullying, etc. Then when they are bored with that they start on humans.

We have seen a lot of reports in the news about killings on the reservations, some due to drugs and alcohol. We have a Native American tribe stating that our children are our future and our elders are our teachers. Then why do we hurt our children and elders and think that it is OK? We are supposed to be a proud, strong nation, but we have a lot of issues on our reservation and we just look the other way.

Some get away with things just because they are elected into office or their family members are or they work in government jobs. This is sad. I have been teaching my child to respect others, to forgive, and to give to others.

This should have not have happened to her, it is not right. I think about my grandmother’s teachings all the time and did what I could to teach that to my children and my grandchildren and that hurting innocent animals or others is not right.

We need to put out awareness on these issues. The schools are teaching no bullying but we have adults who are bullying children and they are allowed to get away with it.

Velma Winslow
Flagstaff, Ariz.

Thank you to the IJRA

This letter is to Alfredo Stevenson, Indian Junior Rodeo Association president.

Mr. President, I want to congratulate you as the new adult administrator for IJRA, especially for youth, parents, and the community, as you get ready for the new youth rodeo season.

All of us from the beginning of April 12, 1975, have been there for the youth so they can experience being involved in livestock-related events, develop skills, sportsmanship, leadership, and to be helpful at home, stay busy tending to their livestock, develop respect and good thoughts to others, and be a good winner as well as a good loser.

Thank you so much to you and your administration, keep the youth involved and thanks to all the youth, parents, and communities, and to the sponsors and to all that make what IJRA stands for.

We have been to the top of the rodeo world — PRCA, NFR — which was one of the original goals. Seemingly impossible, but I always believed it was possible. Now more youth will eventually get there.

It’s people like you and all past leadership of IJRA and volunteers that makes it possible. Happy 42nd birthday, IJRA!
To all the young people, keep trying and constantly dream about what you want to be. One day, soon you will be that person in your community. IJRA, youth, adults, youth leadership, parents, sponsors, and volunteers are amazing. Thank you.

Eugene Charley
Indian Junior Rodeo Association
Kayenta, Ariz.

Queen calls for end to fracking

Aloha and much blessings. I would like to introduce myself. I am Ali’i Mo’i/Queen Antoinette Aipoalani of the Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi/Hawaiian Kingdom.

I am writing this letter of support for our indigenous brothers and sisters of the Great Turtle Island and the many tribes that are here to protect our Mother Earth.

Like the Polynesians Kingdom, our Navajo Nation, All Pueblo Council and many tribal governments have been trying for many years to keep our cultural and indigenous practices alive by preserving our precious resources that is so quickly being desecrated and depleted to the point that future generations will not have these rights and privileges to pass on to their children.

The fracking that is occurring on the Navajo Nation’s Counselor Chapter, Chaco Canyon National Historical Park, and on the eastern edge of the Navajo Reservation and any future fracking projects must cease and desist immediately.

We have also been informed that numerous requests from the various tribes for a moratorium have been brazenly ignored and there have been at least 29 new fracking wells approved since the request in March.

I, as Queen of a Sovereign Nations of Polynesia, give my full support and the support of my Kingdoms to these nations to protect our Mother Earth. Along with this letter of support I am attaching a sovereign proclamation from the Ali’i Nui/King of Polynesian Aleka Aipoalani to show his support as well.

May much blessings be upon you all to make the right decision, not just for the nations of Turtle Island, but for all of human kind on Mother Earth. Mahalo Nui Loa/Thank you very much.

Ali’i Wahine Mo’i/Queen Antoinette Koni Aipoalani
Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi/Hawaiian Kingdom

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Categories: Letters