Letters: God loves wolves too

In all the debates about Mexican gray wolves, there’s one opinion that rarely gets considered. God’s opinion. The most honorable opinion of all.

And what God would say is easy to deduce. He would ask us to treat all His animals with respect and compassion, including Mexican gray wolves.

God represents, and gives, love and caring and compassion and respect. He would say, “Don’t kill these magnificent animals out of hatred, or for money or ego.” It’s inarguable to say that God would want us to respect all His creations. Including Mexican gray wolves.

So why don’t we take God’s opinion into account? Although our laws can’t include God’s desires, surely our morals can. Surely our opinions and actions can reflect God’s desires about how we treat all His creations. Including Mexican gray wolves.

God would say it’s not OK to kill wolves so some people can earn more money. He would say it’s not OK to kill a wolf because it might attack someone. God would advocate “innocent until proven guilty.”

God gives love, compassion, caring, and respect to each and every one of us. He wants us to act like He does. And appreciate what we have. Appreciate that we have our lives, food, clothing, shelter, health, and loved ones. And appreciate and respect all His creations like he does. Including Mexican gray wolves.

David Forjan
Tularosa, N.M.

Spend time outdoors this season

Maintaining composure is a choice. The ability to portray a calm presence in life is possible in the middle of storms.

When I was attending residential boarding school, many of us enjoyed the outdoors on weekends. Like sheep, dozens of boys jogged a long distance to a nearby mesa. We climbed, wrestled, slid, fell, and played football all morning. Sometimes we returned to the top of the mesa in the afternoons to play western gun battles. Whether the weather was dry, hot, cold, severe wind, or rain, many of us remained calm and joyful. Ignoring our thirst, bloody noses, and dusty clothing, we developed a strong resistance to the roughness of the desert ground.

There is a great feeling of freedom and happiness when you create an action character. One of my western actors I imagined was Charles Bronson in the “White Buffalo” movie. He was tough and unmoved even when charged by a big white buffalo.

Fear and courage do not attract each other. I heard a saying, “If you fear opportunity, it will fear you.”

I recommend that you spend some time outdoors, whether at a playground, a baseball field, or the hills with your little ones. This activity tends to overpower the negative atmosphere in the world and within our homes. There may be wild dogs, snakes, thorny weeds, and other hazards. Little ones may get sick or hurt, but if we stay indoors, in our comfort zone, we will weaken our bodies and lose our chances of challenges.

During my time at home on the reservation, I often helped take care of my nieces and nephews. We spent some time hiking the outdoors and visiting our elderly relatives. Long after some of my family members moved on, I continued to attend extended family and community gatherings. In doing so, my Navajo speaking improved.

During the holidays, may we have the blessings of goodwill and peace in our hearts, homes, and around us. Think before you act in confrontations or negative situations.

Elliot K. Bryant
Tselani/Cottonwood, Ariz.

Water is reserved for tribes

In 1908, a landmark case of Winters v. U.S. defined the “reserved rights doctrine” in which water was legally reserved for Indians.

In Winters’ case, the Supreme Court held that government implicitly reserved water for Indians when reservations were created: hence Indians hold a right to water created when their reservations were established. This right is exempt from “State Law” and not limited by existing levels of beneficial use of waters (“Command of the Waters: Iron Triangles, Federal Water Development, and Indian Water” – Daniel McCool).

Winters Doctrine rights are federal rights established independent of state law. The states have adopted their own water laws, which are radically different from the “Reserved Rights Doctrine” (“Native Waters: Contemporary Indian Water Settlements and the Second Treaty Era” – Daniel McCool).

Walter Echo-Hawk writes in his book “The Courts of the Conqueror” that decisions in the 10 worst court cases against American Indians are based upon (1) unabridged racially derogatory stereotypes and (2) antiquated legal doctrines developed during the “colonial” era (circa 1492-1960), including ill-defined notions of conquest, for appropriating indigenous land and subjugating Native peoples. Even though colonialism was rejected as repugnant by the international community shortly after World War II, the legal underpinnings of colonialism remain implanted in the domestic law of the United States.

In addition, the Supreme Court continues to rely upon legal doctrines “infected” with bare race-based notions as it decides contemporary Indian cases, long after the ideology of race has been discarded by virtually every other governmental institution in the country.

Echo-Hawk states that “The U.S. law should not hold us, indigenous peoples, hostage to an unjust past.”

Deni Leonard
San Francisco, Calif.

Thanks to Nez for visiting church

My name is Matthew Holtsoi and I am 16 years old. I am a proud member of the Navajo Nation and live in Crownpoint, New Mexico. I attend church at the First Navajo Baptist Church in Crownpoint, located on Highway 371 at mile marker 25. Our Pastor is George Jim.

On Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, we were honored to have Vice President Jonathan Nez, his lovely wife, and two children, surprise us with a visit. He gave the congregation words of encouragement and was gracious enough to stay afterwards and have refreshments. It was a pleasure to have Vice President Nez visit us. I would like to thank him for coming on behalf of the congregation.

We will pray for Vice President Nez and his family. We will also continue to pray for the Begaye/Nez administration. May God bless the Navajo Nation.

Matthew Holtsoi
Crownpoint, N.M.

Stand up for social justice, humanity

To those who question why people are protesting the election results and suggest that they owe Donald Trump the opportunity to govern – and with Steve Bannon as his chief White House strategist, a person with racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, and misogynistic views:

Nonviolent protest is the most effective weapon against discrimination and injustice. Through public marches, picketing, sit-ins, rallies, petition drives, and teach-ins, protestors contribute their time, energy, and passion with the hope of making a better, more just society for all.

The civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement, the women’s movement, the gay rights movement, the labor movement, and the environmental movement have changed government policy, and perhaps more importantly, changed how we live today.

Those of us who believe in fairness and justice cannot rest until it comes. Nor can we sit idly by while fearmongers and extremists adopt policies and laws that serve only to promote hate, bigotry, and inequality.

As we teach our children to stand up for pledges and anthems, let us also show them how to stand up for social justice, humanity, and to speak out with kindness, understanding, and love.

James Kimes
Prescott Valley, Ariz.

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Categories: Letters