Check what you buy in border towns

FROM THE READERS, February 2, 2012

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On the first Saturday of January 2012 we bought in cash a wood coal stove from Gallup Lumber and Supply. It would have been a good deal if it all went well. But the thing is we had bought a damaged item on sale.

We took the stove home and did not bother to unwrap it until the next day. We took the cover off while the stove was in the truck because it was heavy - that was when we found the damage. The stove never came off the truck.

We called the Gallup Lumber store and we were told to bring the stove back. So, the stove was transported back Tuesday. They refused to exchange the stove.

We were told that we had done the damage ourselves. When loading the stove there was only one operator to load the stove. That same person denied damage to the box and the stove.

That was our mistake, not opening the box to make sure the merchandise was good. The day we took the stove back the look of guilt was written all over the loader's face. I thought about his kids and the money he has to send back south.

We were told by management that the owner had refused to take the stove back, and that the stove was ours to keep which we had bought with cash. Management and middle management lined up all their witnesses who all said their hands were clean.

In the operation of a business, something is not right when you have to resort to staging a witness when there is a question. The staging of witnesses told me that the upper people had to have known about the status of the in-stock item. The stove had to have been returned merchandise because there was a name attached to the box.

I am also aware that it is good to protect your own. Warehouse management and most loading operators are all originally from the same locale. But, the thing is protecting your own is not a part of the cycle of movement of goods and on the trend of supply and demand. The buying power of the customer is in this cycle.

We all have it bad being from the central part of the Navajo Nation with respect to buying merchandise from border town areas because of the distance involved. By the time we get back home it would be past midnight. So opening all boxes and watching out for damaged goods is time wasted.

In this light, go Navajo Western Ace Hardware for opening a store in the Chinle Tseyi Shopping Center. I do believe we need more stores like this. And bigger is always good in Chinle.

Read on. We have all the inexpensive open space (land) in the world here on the Navajo Nation, but we will not allow ourselves to use these open spaces for development. How is it community members that we cannot use these open spaces? Something is definitely wrong.

Arnold probably said it best with respect to exercising. There is nowhere else to go to exercise but to run the open space and it will not cost you anything here on the reservation (KTNN). People and businesses in Phoenix and all major cities are clambering over one another over open space.

Do you hear politicians and planners? Do not let land status or the voice for your voting constituency (permit holders) get in the way of land development.

Our youth and the nation need jobs. If you know of an alternate way to engage the Navajo Nation in an economic turnaround than using the one in place outside the rez we most certainly need to hear about it. Do not hold out on us. The rez could be staging grounds for revolutionary ideas. Fifty years and more from now you can be a Manuelito and be applauded as a great leader.

Stewardship of land should be like water, if you cannot justify good developmental usage, than you have no use calming probable (rez is in trust) ownership. Lifestyle is changing on most reservations, including ours, if we stay the course with respect to land and development we will be so far behind we will never ever catch up.

Or, would you rather we stay the course and be sheltered in this recession of ours here on the Navajo Nation forever (Letters: "The real fight is here," by Randall Benally, Dec. 8, 2011).

The point is, if you have to shop at Gallup Lumber and Supply or any border town stores, take the time to open boxes to examine what you have bought if it is an expensive item. We thank you for your time.

James and Ella Bitannie
Chinle, Ariz.

Why not give us all a P-card?

It really happened under the noses of what the so-called tribal auditors finally realizes that tribal credit cards, or P-cards, were misspending and misappropriation of US. government funds ("P-card abuse empties tribal office's budget," Jan. 26, 2012).

Now there's a schedule for training the whole staff of how not to misuse the P-cards and learn how not to be a complete rip-off.

Don't you all think its very inappropriate $157,000 was cleaned out from Division of Economic Development's budget?

The director seems not to restrict expenses being played around with, also possibly does not want relatives and sidekicks to be prosecuted for hard-core prosecution.

Diné government has been hibernating for the past many decades and can't seem to be fully awake, but they're fully awakened when it comes to meetings elsewhere and it's all paid for first class.

How come P-card charges were classified as unidentified and no supporting documentation for actual purchases? The president, vice, speaker, and the 24 delegates all know what's going on, their attitude is like: "Uh, who, where, when, what, why, don't know," etc.

They all need to pay back what they took and stop being so innocent before they bail out and resign. Diné government has forgotten that we need more convenience stores on Diné Nation, where people don't travel far to get groceries, gas, and do laundry.

If Diné leaders can't create more jobs like they said they would, why not give all Diné people a P-card? That way we all can go to NFR in Las Vegas and go on a shopping spree. We all like to join in and be included with getting away with missing funds that the tribe is losing left and right.

Casa Grande Rodeo is coming up - hey, all you readers, will they all head that way for their meetings and continue to gain nothing from it?

I don't like it when whoever is involved declines to discuss the audit findings and covers it up by saying "It's all under investigation."

White-collar crime unit, whoever you people are, hibernation was over decades ago. Are disciplinary action weak words for Diné law enforcement?

A lot of people don't know how to forgive and forget and they will continue to monitor what's happening through the years to come.

Lastly, has anybody stole money from the casinos yet?

Joe 'Indian" Yazzie Jr.
Chinle, Ariz.


Indians and money don't mix well

There's a cancer spreading across the Navajo country. However, as history will show it's been around for some time.

That cancer would be thievery and theft. Have you ever heard the saying Don't steal from the hand that feeds you? I'd like to take a bit of time to share a few thoughts and my own opinions.

In a previous letter sent to Navajo Times, Dec. 23, 2011, I had spoke about legislation sponsored by Council Delegate Walter Phelps. I stated how I found Phelps' legislation to be weak, vague and frivolous at best.

How does this legislation specifically target elected chapter officials and their subordinates? Last I checked 110 chapters were a part of Navajo Nation government, right?

I had written how it should (legislation) include administration, council, chapters, department and employees - the entire Navajo government as a whole.

Which brings a court opinion stated by Judge Carol Perry as follows, "In Navajo society the integrity of the government is the key to its viability. If the governed cannot trust that their government is essentially just and accountable, then there arises widespread belief that the government benefits only a few."

Particular attention should be taken to: accountable and the ending about the benefits only the few.

I'm baffled and perplexed as to how one group of thieves can pass judgment on fellow thieves - how ironic. We need to initiate a new directive to rid our government of this cancer called sweep and clear, sweep and clear.

Let's be honest here, Indians and money just don't mix well.

The idea of case management would perhaps is the route to go. In the ongoing civil complaint against top elected officials, no matter which direction is taken there will be little to nothing as far as punishment to all involved.

At the this point the financial drain of tribal resources - peoples money - elected top or chapter officials are doing a disservice to the people. Services for the people will continue to deplete. Nothing good will come out of these civil suits. There will be no recovery so it makes little to no sense to waste the people's money.

This whole situation or circumstances began in 2002 with the Shirley administration and 20th Council, spilling into the next Shirley administration, and the 21st Council to present Shelly, and the 22nd Council. The dishonesty continues directly and indirectly at the chapters all the way to top officials.

Things being as they are, it would make sense to cut our loss and move forward. I don't really like that idea myself, but the cost to the people is unspeakable.

We, the voters and constituents, are not blameless. We took part by voting these individuals into office and then recycled 16 council delegates and those two at the top. So we're responsible for bringing on our own circumstances.

Clearly there is no sense crying over spilt milk - clean up our mess and get another glass. There's tomorrow and next.

Certainly you can't count on our government anymore. Live well, shi Diné, the sun will rise tomorrow.

Mike Halona Sr.
Albuquerque, N.M.
(Hometown: Buffalo Springs, N.M.)

Concerned about negative articles about CCSD

I have become more and more concerned about the negative articles written against the Central Consolidated School District by the Farmington Daily Times. Therefore, I have written a commentary letter as a concerned Native American citizen living on the Navajo Reservation.

These articles are toxic and polluting our children's delicate minds and holistic impressions. Not only does this affect our students, it is feeding negativity to teachers, staff, and employees from all schools.

This affects our communities, the people, our parents, and elders. How can we appreciate and teach education when racist remarks and behavior (from a small group) want to segregate and tear down our precious multi-cultural values and pride?

I have teacher and administrator friends of all cultures. We teachers collaborate and work together, each one of us is from different cultures and come from other worldly regions. We have a brilliant music teacher from Russia, Natalia Kruse.

Our teachers, staff, and administrators come together from different cultures such as German, Poland, Philippines, Chinese, Hispanic, Latin, Irish, Asian, Pueblo, Ute, Apache, Japanese, Hawaiian, African American, Onieda, Iroquois and Navajo.

We take pride in being rich with sharing our cultural knowledge.

After reading this article "CCSD Leader Responds to State," which was written and published in the Farmington Daily Times and also published in the Albuquerque Journal, I have become very concerned with how this article was written - with facts or opinions?

Ask Daily Times reporter Alysa Landry, who wrote the article, if she is a member of the "Children First" group. Ask her is she is personal friends of this group. Ask if she participates in the extra-curricular activities with this group.

Also, ask Ms. Landry why she hasn't interviewed (Native and non-Native) people who are not a part of the "Children First" group.

Why are her articles continuously appearing biased in the Farmington Daily Times, always shining a bright light on the Children First group?

Her articles are dangerously dividing our children's education with approximately a 90 percent Native American population, approximately 8 percent Anglo students, approximately 2 percent Hispanic students, with more Asian students and African American students joining into the school district.

Since these big changes in the administration with Don Levinski as acting superintendent, I am wondering where are the articles voicing positive opinions and facts about our progress in CCSD?

There have been letters sent to the Daily Times voicing positive feedback about CCSD (especially from parents, students, teachers, community leaders), but where are our published letters?

Community members and teachers from Shiprock sent the Daily Times letters in November pleading for peace and harmony. Who is going to speak up for our people who play, work, live, learn, and survive within the Kirtland area and the Navajo Reservation?

We educators finally feel we have positive changes in the CCSD administration where we are making positive growth and progress in our district's re-organization. Finally, administrators are recognizing our teaching skills and they are helping and supporting our needs to prepare our children for their future (all cultures, not just the Children First group).

Not only are our students engaged in learning math and reading, but they are learning Native languages such as Navajo and Spanish, as well as perfecting their English language and writing skills.

We have four Navajo Immersion classes - three kindergartens and one first-grade class in our Shiprock Elementary schools.

Christine Hubble, a kindergarten teacher at Mesa Elementary, speaks with passion and vision about the Immersion Program. Integrating science (NASA lessons) into our curriculum is stimulating our students' creativity.

We are fortunate to have district science coach Amy John on our team. Digital technology is sweeping our classrooms with enthusiasm. At Newcomb, 90 percent of our Interwrite-boards are being utilized with the students every school day.

Our Native indigenous language is an integral part of our lives. Our Native language not only identifies us, it honors our heritage. The Navajo language has played an important part in our world history with the Navajo Code Talkers in World War II.

Navajos have a long hard history, especially suffered in the Long Walk. We want our children to know who they are and where they came from. Plus, it is pertinent that our children learn and respect other cultures.

In reference to the Farmington Daily Times newspaper, the Children First group want their children to receive a higher quality education by dividing the district into two pieces, between the Kirtland area and the Navajo Reservation, because they feel this separation (or segregation) will enhance their children's education.

This is very offensive to our CCSD education school system because we have highly qualified teachers in our schools. We have highly qualified administrators in our district.

The principal at Newcomb Elementary School, Ms. Louisa Lopez-Martinez, supports all cultural education and is proud of her Latin/Hispanic American heritage.

We take pride in our leadership to educate all children of all races whether it is on the reservation or off the reservation. We take pride in teaching our children that our world is full of color, that they are born colorful, and beautiful, and they are encouraged to be raised to walk in beauty and harmony.

Therefore I want to voice my opinion that I am proud to be a part of our Central Consolidated School District's achievements and progress.

Native Americans are proud indigenous people who are survivors. Once again we will survive against this oppression and move forward embracing all cultures together with higher education. Please, let the healing process begin.

Geri Mike
Newcomb, N.M.

Mike is a teacher at Newcomb Elementary School.

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