The Navajo Times letters of Denny Tsosie and Manley A. Begay Jr. (April 13, 2017) were most informative. We can only hope that those in power can appreciate the valid issues harming and sealing the fate of our Diné.
Money will always be an issue with our bureaucrat heavy tribal government. The bottom line is always going to be “if.” Hindsight tells us “if” proper long-term investments had been made, every Diné would be a millionaire.
By the same token many more Diné would have achieved their educational goals “if” we had understood the hazards of boarding schools and public education.
With proper education our Diné would have acquired financial knowledge and there would have been no poverty among our Diné. Suffice it to say, we have a very different reality in our Diné Nation.
Education is still the answer, but it cannot be public education in its present form. It is costly, our children are not learning, and our dropout rate is through the roof.
Some 30 years ago, the Department of Education came into existence when the federal government took control. Since that time every area of education has gone downhill and all indications are that it will continue its downward spiral.
We have gone from having the number one educational system in the world down to 27th in recent ratings.
There was a time when we believed that a good education was all that a person needed to take their place in a civil society. Proper education is no longer available in public schools. We are stripped of our history, our civic and geographic studies, and a basic understanding of economics.
Family and moral values are stripped from our children’s educational experience. This gives meaning to President Trump’s words, “education is the civil rights issue of our time.”
Public education in its present form is very much a civil rights issue. It is by far the worst violation of constitutional rights of every American citizen.
Because it is a government program we are all required to pay for it, even if we don’t need or use it. If we don’t pay the government will confiscate it.
Our children are taken from ages 6 to 16 eight hours or more a day and they do with them whatever they wish. If we object or refuse to cooperate in this madness we are subject to jail time or losing our children to the government.
Meanwhile the elite in Washington send their children to private schools for the best education money can buy. The only reasonable alternative available to us commoners is the charter schools, school vouchers, or home schools and online educational programs.
If we want better schools and better education for our children it will literally take an act of Congress and that will not happen until more citizens understand that public education is a total disaster.
There are many good teachers who have the heart of true educators and they will never get paid enough while the bureaucrats at the top live high on the hog.
As for school board members today, too many of them are little more than rubber stamps to an administration that is a product of public education.
Take over power plant, sell electricity
Last month at the National Reservation Economic Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada, President Russell Begaye spoke about the possible closure of Navajo Generating Station.
He said, “The Navajo Nation is at a critical point where it must diversify its revenue sources away from the coal and oil industry.”
The NGS issue certainly highlights the existing crisis that most Navajo families deal with everyday: being able to make a living within the four sacred mountains.
The loss of NGS revenue is a dire situation and will require central government to do more with less and become more creative and aggressive in business development and job creation. Unfortunately, the NGS job losses to Western Agency Navajo families are much more catastrophic and demand the Navajo Nation Council’s immediate attention and action.
We need to take advantage of the situation for the Navajo Nation by taking over NGS and the Kayenta Mine to sell electricity in the open market. Not only would we be able to save over 1,000 jobs and reduce the revenue loss, but we could also use our ability to sell electricity at reduced rates as a business recruitment tool.
Saving NGS does not solve our job crisis and our need to diversify our economy. We need to use the resources the Holy People have blessed us with to sustain our people and control our own destiny. All too often, our government uses the why we can’t do something reasoning, as an excuse for no doing much of anything. Just as President Begaye said, “Infrastructure issues like water, wastewater, electric utility, roads, transportation and fiber infrastructure are fundamental building blocks that must be in place for community and business development to occur.”
We need to stop making excuses and start approving projects that can support an investment in infrastructure and provide jobs. Grand Canyon Escalade is such a project. Escalade is not only our best opportunity to create jobs and revenue by tapping into the global tourism market, but it will also allow businesses and investors around the world to know that we welcome them to do business on our nation.
To create sustainable jobs for our Navajo people, we need to work together and take advantage of all the opportunities that we have been blessed with.
With the 2018 elections for president and Council a little more than a year away, hopefully we will be hearing about all the jobs that were created or saved and not the customary promises about creating jobs.
Crystal, Fort Defiance, Red Lake and Sawmill