Letters: Gun control is wrong, wrong, wrong

Regarding Navajo Nation bill 0114-17, sponsored by Aneth Delegate Davis Filfred, “to have better gun control and accountability for firearms circulating on the nation.”

Gun registration, control, whatever you want to call it in Indian Country, on the Navajo Nation, is absolutely wrong, wrong.

My right to bear arms to protect family, property, and land is guaranteed under the 2nd Amendment. Take away our majority of law-abiding Dineh gun owner’s rights is an injustice, we do not present a threat to anybody.

As responsible gun owners, guns are locked up. We know the proper when, what, how, and why to use a gun. Criminal will and can get a firearm of any kind regardless of this gun registration. Retired police officers, active duty police officers and gun owners all know this.

Bill 0114-17 is only a copy of the failed liberal Democrat Obama/Hilary legislation to have government gain more control on our individual rights.

Do you for one minute think the Navajo Nation government and police department can maintain long-term secured control and inventory? They’re understaffed, short on patrol men and women, and lack modern updated facilities. Add on tribal chapter, government officials are corrupt. This given situation only increases the widespread breeding law breaking behavior. Think about that!

We need a stronger updated law enforcement department, not another gun control law.

I have the greatest respect for our law enforcers. They perform their daily duties for beyond what is called for, do excellent work, uphold the highest standard and are a credit to their profession. Failure rests directly on the elected leaders of the Navajo Nation.

Clearly, the president, vice president, and the Council lack professional skills, knowledge, and abilities for nation building. For our nation to grow, ensuring its people safety and protection, ensuring stable order to develop and address other important issues in government and its people is not in place.

Today, politicians address other needs (aka campaign promises). What we have is rapid crime, gangs, drugs, domestic violence, high unemployment, U.S. government dependency Ð you name it, we have it.

Is gun registration the answer? No, neither is government band-aiding or throwing money at its problems. This has never worked!

Because we are still wards of the U.S. government, which has not been mentioned in direct implementation of this bill 0114-17, gun registration falls under federal jurisdiction like major crimes and violations. Meaning we have been and still are under federal marshal enforcement.

Non-Indians do not have the monster to deal with federal marshals than tribe, city, county, and state enforcement. It’s called “confiscation” (aka federal marshals kicking your door down). Only us Native Americans are still subject to this action.

Remember, Wounded Knee and Standing Rock? Wake up Dineh Nation!

Delegate Filfred is nothing more of the coming of the same old calvary (aka today’s term “Ranger Rick”).

Our right to self-defense is never denied in protection of self, family, and property. As a Dineh elder my message to our leaders at all levels and veterans is: “The last time we surrendered our guns, knives, war shields, bows and arrows, they locked us on this reservation. It’ll be a cold, cold day in hell when hell freezes over before I surrender.”

Let’s all stop this insane madness of bill 0114-17.

Gary Bernally
Hogback, N.M.

Take a look at schools that work

The “reformers” introduced their miracle education programs back in the late 60s to 2000s. Their ideas became stagnant, ineffective, and dragged us to the bottom ending with “No Child Left Behind.”

Since the 21st Century it’s all been political because the Department of Education is thought of a cash cow.

Today, education is a market style reform by those who espouse the free market to be run with taxpayer money on a business mentality (by corporations), the business model of operating a school on a voucher payout system (playing with high-stakes numbers) means more dollars will become corrupt somewhere between shoddy bookkeeping and lies.

They spend money on advertisement in the millions whereas public schools do not. The charter schools portray the favored child and public schools feel like the stepchild. It’s a real push when money talks like Citizens United. Besides, some of these charter school CEOs make nearly half a million dollars per year and would bet a certain percentage overhead goes to an office building downtown. Are they in it for the kids or for their personal gain?

Some real problems appear all over the states of co-location of schools, not just charters, but public schools as well are now facing the fact that there are two, three, and four schools in the same building, huge battles breaking out over who gets to use the auditorium, the cafeteria, use of gym and overcrowding.

Some have elementary kids with high school or middle school, especially special education, which often needs more room, smaller classes, and more special services.
State and federal administration are allowing forcing too many schools to operate this way not really dealing with the needs of the individual schools and let the public school system fail right under our noses.

This is what’s happening to the regular public schools in the process of creating charter schools. It will cost billions of taxpayer money to make the transfer (and student shuffle). The risk is, will the hype for charter schools be any better?

Privately run charter schools are using rent-free space taken from public schools monies, pre-K, and after-school programs. Charter schools are private organizations using large public money that should have gone to public schools. Some are progressive, some are mom-and-pop charter schools, but it is the expansionist charter schools, the ones who want to grow charter school into empires to create and finance their own buildings.

There is a major transfer of resources from public to privatization of schools given to the hands of private corporations. The CEO decision-making does not involve the school board, parents, teachers, and students. What happens to the dropouts in charter schools? Do they try to retain them or just let them be?

Charter schools have run into trouble in Los Angeles and New Orleans even after they hold great promises, make huge claims, and yet run into the usual problems of servicing the most needy students. Solving public education problems are not simple and straightforward. There’s no management technique or business administrative shuffle that’s going to solve those problems.

Business decisions have been made by charter schools not to allow accepting kids with low scores, kids they don’t want, exclude severe disabilities, and kids that don’t speak English, and have the audacity to make a comparison how bad public schools are when they deplete their resources. Are the public schools to take all the unwanted kids?

The hype given to charter schools is lopsided. Creating more choices or options doesn’t necessarily improve education. Choices are right wing rhetoric, but they deny the women the right to choose when it comes to making a decision about their body’s health.

As a former school board member, I had to sit down with people I normally don’t agree with all the time, (even among board members on certain issues) and did the best I could to find common ground. It’s easier to just sit there and throw character assassination at members or innuendos at each other instead of finding common ground.

I always looked at the financial statistics above all because of my interest for the students. I did my own research and saw most successful character schools were able to bring in outside resources, higher pay for teachers, able to have small class sizes so they can have rich programming and curricula.
When I saw that, I shook my head as to how easily they got what they wanted was what we desperately needed for decades. We had to operate within our limited state and federal budget. In hindsight, I can say that was the writing on the wall.

We all agree on one thing. We are all desperate for good schools. We should be looking at public schools that work, not trying to devise talking points to knock down what’s already available. There are no guarantees that charter schools are the answer we are looking for.

Teddy Begay
Kayenta, Ariz.

A Democratic socialistic state!

What is up with the delegates? First they come up with a way (my opinion) to eradicate our way of life with no livestock corrals allowed within the home site.

Most of the people with livestock shelter their animals close to the homes to provide easy access during lambing and also provide protection from predators like feral dogs, coyotes, and large cats.

Now, with this gun control thing and, going by hearsay, a little bit of exaggeration to create intense and irrational mistrust or suspicion. I think it’s called paranoia. What are they trying to create? A Democratic socialistic state!

I think what they should be concentrating on is how to keep Navajo Generating Station going.

Compromising isn’t losing, it’s just taking a breather. You get a new perspective.

I believe that the Council should bring this up to the negotiations table with SRP-NGS as a feeler to extend the lease for building a gas, solar, wind, or a geo-thermal plant around Cameron/Grey Mountain area.

Ernest Jones
Chinle, Ariz.

NHA has never been held accountable

We Diné should be grateful to the Navajo Nation Council delegates who recently acted to put Navajo Housing Authority in a holding pattern. Since NHA has been flying so high can they at least ask NHA a few questions and ground them?

NHA has never been held accountable for all their blundering and lack of success. Too often they act like Larry, Moe, and Curley trying to build a Navajo hogan. Later, we scratch our heads and ask, “Why does that hogan cost a million bucks?”

All that NHA is responsible for is building homes and keeping tabs on their spending, yet they have continually failed to meet those two basic obligations. They have, however, gone after our Diné grazing permits, leveraged our lands and resources. And why did they involve our Diné in the United Nations global agenda?

Enterprises such as NHA function very efficiently with a few computers and personnel trained in the building trades and modern construction technology. So why has NHA not tapped into the existing pool of Diné professionals?

There are many Diné contractors who have never been awarded a job by NHA. Those Diné consider NHA’s bidding process a joke. In the past some of them have underbid just to get into the game. Since then, they have gone out of business, because NHA would not pay up when the job was completed. Does NHA need to be a cutthroat business?

Building suppliers in the border towns have become multi-millionaires thanks to NHA. Those suppliers use Diné families as middle men to get supplier contracts, and in return those families receive a fist full of dollars for their participation. Why does NHA allow or ignore this practice?
Quality homes at a reasonable cost should be available to all Diné. In theory, have they not already paid for those homes with the sacrifice of all their natural resources?

It is truly heart-breaking to see so many of our Diné, from the elderly and veterans, to the young newlywed families, struggling in the bowels of poverty and living in nothing more than a 24′ x 16′ plywood shack, while NHA parades itself as home providers. Is there anything wrong with this picture?
NHA has no equitable track record, yet they have had the full support of career politicians. Why?

Wally Brown
Page, Ariz.

A fun learning experience

The 5th grade class of Twin Lakes Elementary School was afforded the opportunity to observe the Navajo Nation Council spring aession in Window Rock. The very first part of the session was introductions and did test the students’ patience, due to it being longer than 90 minutes.

There were also several other kids there who either helped with the pledge of allegiance or honored for an accomplishment along with their family. It was very busy during this time with delegates doing last-minute prepping or taking the smaller kids outside to walk around and dissuade a possible situation due to sitting too long.

As the introductions rolled on, my students sat and observed all they could and soaked up the experience. It was a shame that we had to leave just when the main agenda started to kick off and official business was going to be discussed.

My students enjoyed this experience and could not put into words how they felt when I asked them about their thoughts. They just simply stated, “It was cool.”
As we were walking to our bus we got to meet Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez who rounded us up for a photo and expressed his appreciation to the students for coming and encouraged them to, “Try your best in school.”

In short, I would like to express my gratitude to Council delegates Otto Tso and Leonard Tsosie for taking the time to talk and explain to my students what was being discussed throughout the meeting. To the delegates, who took the time to shake the students’ hands and welcome them to the meeting, Vice President Nez for encouraging our leaders of tomorrow to try their best, and lastly the reporter who was kind enough to get us recognized. You all made this one fun learning experience for the 5th grade students of Twin Lakes Elementary.

Jason T. Dejolie
5th grade teacher
Twin Lakes Elementary School
Twin Lakes, N.M.

Thank you for love after passing of Kellogg

To our community of friends and loved ones, please accept our heartfelt thank you for the support, the kindness and love shown our family after Bill’s passing.
To the officers of the Navajo Police Department, your presence and love is encouraging. To our friends, thank you for your words of faith and love. Forever in our memory are the messages of hope you shared with us.

Thank you to everyone who helped serve at the dinner and brought food, to the Navajo-Hopi Riders for the escort, and to all the law enforcement agencies who gave their respect. To the U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard, your presence was inspirational. To the Twin Warriors Veterans Unit, The Family Church and Crystal Chapter, thank you.

Bill loved serving the Navajo people. His legacy is found in programs such as Toys for Tots, Coats for Kids, youth baseball, along with protecting the communities in the Four Corners area. His light will continue to shine in all of us. Let us follow his example and seek wisdom, treat all with grace, serve with humility and live with strength of character. May God bless all of you.

Grayce Kellogg and family
Fort Defiance, Ariz.


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Categories: Letters