Politicians setting a bad example

FROM THE READERS, March 1, 2012

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T his is a response to a letter written in the opinion section of the Navajo Times on Feb. 16, 2012 (Letters: "We have issues in Tuba City," by Lisa Yellow).

It was disheartening to hear that alcoholism is playing a major role in child abuse and neglect and so forth, in the community of Tuba City.

It has become all too obvious that alcoholism is a major contributor to the social disintegration of communities across our reservation. While we, as a "so-called sovereign nation," claim to make and impose and enforce our own laws I see that people of our nation disrespect and make a farce out of our judicial system all the way up to the political level.

While politicians promise social reform, it is all for their glory and the people are forgotten once that person is in office.

Most recently, Tuba City Chapter has been under public scrutiny for politicians and employees helping themselves to money that was supposedly set aside to assist the elderly and people in need during these tough economic times.

What does this show? These politicians' lack of integrity and honesty sets a bad example for our future generation. It sends a message that it is OK to take money and get a slap on the hand for it.

Tuba City has a new jail that is going to be completed in the near future, so why not put these thieves behind bars that they helped establish?

Law enforcement is too focused on the battle against alcohol and drug abuse. While the battle is being won by the opposition, aka bootleggers and drug dealers, the thieves are making a mockery of the law.

It is just like robbing Wells Fargo blind, it is the same concept, stealing is stealing, no matter how you view it. What a shame that we as a community voted for these criminals.

I say throw them in the new jail. It's about time politicians are held accountable for their actions. This has been going on for far too long and people need to take off their blinders and see what is really going on.

We complain about this, yet we are not aware of what is going on behind closed doors. These people obviously live for their own greedy ambitions, where is the integrity? These white-collar criminals are social parasites that need to be disciplined according to the law if there is such a law.

Regarding white-collar crime, the Council does not establish legislation because they are the ones that are guilty of stealing money from the people. I am upset that people these days are too focused on their own issues while these criminals rob them of their money. While there are a lot of issues communities need to be aware of, it is plain to see that people do not care.

HIV, suicide, homicide, child abuse/neglect, sexual abuse, divorce, assaults, and drunk driving have overshadowed our moral and cultural ideology. Social disintegration has become a norm for people. People just turn their heads and look away because it does not involve them.

The "I don't care attitude" needs to change. I know I am one person and I feel there are many of our people with the same concerns about which direction our people are headed. I care for my people. I love our Navajo Nation.

In no way am I disrespecting people in any way, shape, or form. We need to come together in agreement to settle our differences, whether it is religious views or political differences.

People in Window Rock are sitting back while our social infrastructure crumbles before our very own eyes. They say to the up and coming younger generation to get educated so that they can lead their people, but what do they do? They have no intentions on relinquishing their power because of the money they make.

How are we going to learn to run our government? There are countless of well-qualified graduates who cannot attain a job on the reservation.

For example, a group of us approached Rex Lee Jim prior to his (vice-presidency) and suggested that he initiate construction of apartment complexes in Window Rock to attract qualified Navajo employees.

He said, "Where's the land?"

We told him "build upward."

Stop making excuses and make it happen Mr. Jim. Take the initiative!

These leaders promote a double standard. They say one thing, but they do not adhere to the promises they make. I see that we are living in a superficial world where greed, selfishness, and vanity are out of control.

Where do we as Diné go from here? I am hoping that people voice their concerns to our leaders in Window Rock. You might be one voice, but your voice has power to reaffirm moral and cultural values.

It would also be nice if these thieves make a public apology, but they are probably too prideful. God bless you all.

Rick Maloney
Tonalea, Ariz.

We are a nation that lacks wellness

Just a simple reflection in regards to the letter about the concerns in Tuba City (Letters: "We have issues in Tuba City," by Lisa Yellow, Feb. 16, 2012).

I agree with the comments made about our nation as a whole. We are a nation that lacks wellness.

I currently bring the 12-step program and talking circle to the Coconino County jail facility in Flagstaff on a weekly basis. The numbers of our own Native American individuals incarcerated are way more than non-Native Americans.

I decided about three years to give back to my community by volunteering to help my brothers and sisters incarcerated. I, too, have a criminal history all relating to alcohol and some drugs but mostly alcohol. It took me several attempts to finally let go of the bottle.

It was until all of my bridges were burnt that I stood alone at last. I experienced fear like I had never known before. It was then I voiced my prayer for help to the Deities; it was a yearning desperation to feel love like I remembered when I was a child. I was nurtured, loved, and treated with kindness. I finally felt peace after my prayer was answered.

On April 5th, I will have 15 years of continuous sobriety. I make time to work with individuals that need my help. This is my purpose for living.

I'm also a cancer survivor. Four years ago, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. It was difficult but I had to have faith. I believed that my spirituality could perform the miracles that I have experienced with my alcoholism. I knew I would be in perfect presence of my spirituality taking care of me.

With the conditions that are among our people, it will need to begin with each of us. It will take honesty, open-mindedness, and the willingness to make changes to our homes, communities, and ourselves. It is also known as H.O.W.

If you are interested and want to know more about recovery, give me a call before you pick up a drink or a drug at 928-600-1951.

Terry Curley
Flagstaff, Ariz.

Proposed water settlement creates Catch 22

A Senate Bill S.2109 introduced recently by Senator Jon Kyl proposes "To approve the settlement of water rights claims of the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe, and the allottees of the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe in the state of Arizona, to authorize construction of municipal water projects relating to the water rights claims, to resolve litigation against the United States concerning Colorado River operations affecting the states of California, Arizona, and Nevada, and for other purposes."

Considering the above quote the proposed settlement agreement seems to put the Navajo Nation in a "Catch 22" predicament with a tinge of bribery where the bill is indicating to approve Navajo Generating Station lease extension or else.

That is the proposed reallocation will occur only if the Navajo Nation agrees to extend the Navajo Generating Station lease beyond 2019, as well as mentioning other conditions as the Navajo/Gallup San Juan Water Line, Central Arizona Project, etc.

Question is what do they have to do with the proposed Little Colorado River agreement with the two tribes?

The proposal also indicates the Navajo Nation to waive various conditions including waiver of claims that could maximize Navajo use of the Little Colorado River dismissing all claims forever against the United States, Arizona state, and others (NGS owners, Peabody, etc.) to waive and hold harmless for any past, present, and future illegal acts against the Navajo Nation.

We respectfully advise our tribal council and Navajo Nation president not to just go along with the proposal, as has been the normal with past major agreements but to review this document thoroughly and ask questions.

The proposed settlement agreement has incomplete information that easily misleads the unlearned and unknowledgeable.

Also remember that for the past nearly 50 years the Navajo Nation has given away 50,000 acre feet of water annually, received less than low royalty rates of 12.5 percent for the highest quality coal, waived taxes for five wealthy corporations, and much, much more.

The proposed conditions are such that the honest, innocent, Navajo people who own large quantities of rich natural resources were penetrated into their midst by dishonest, greedy perpetrators of outside world society bent on taking all for nothing. The Navajo people have lost too much by simple leadership ignorance.

Peabody lease and NGS agreements, Four Corners Power Plant agreements are major examples of the loss to the people only because the leaders didn't do their homework, instead simply went along with greedy corporate, federal, and state deceits.

How many times do our leaders have to get hit over the head before they realize someone is beating on them?

At the Navajo Nation government there are several of these scoundrels who need to be weeded out by the Navajo Nation government, if not by the people. A starter and utilizing the 1868 Treaty to get rid of bad men from off the reservation would ban Stanley Pollack from the reservation who has for his tenure of a high-paid position as the Navajo Nation water attorney for the past 20 years is doing everything he can, utilizing the power vested in him by the Navajo Nation government, to take control in working with people as Senator Jon Kyl and Senator John McCain, to strip the Navajo Nation and its people of their most precious water resource.

Then on down the line with Scott McElroy whose been contracting with the Navajo Nation for the past decade per Pollack's influence.

In a recent article in a local newspaper in reference to Bill S.2109, John Leeper, a non-Navajo engineer who has worked on Navajo Nation water rights issues was quoted to say, "The financial climate in Washington makes this type of effort at this time more difficult than ever. And there is still a very long, long way to go. But that said, this is a monumental achievement."

What Leeper actually means is a monumental fraud.

The Navajo Nation president and each Council member have to do their homework and review the document front to back thoroughly and understand thoroughly before considering to vote on the document. The document is written in a deceitful manner, where it does not openly talk its true meaning and intentionally leaving out explanations to deceive anyone who doesn't thoroughly review or ask questions.

We as the people have an indisputable right to be headstrong in dealing with the governments, corporations, and anyone else that may challenge our efforts to benefit with the wealth we have, not to just merely survive by leasing away our mast wealth.

It is past time that we stand up to people as Pollack. Our leaders have allowed Pollack to control far too long, our strong advice to the tribal leadership is to stop cowering and begin to recognize the deceits placed upon us as a nation of a learned people.

You leaders need to understand that we've been in the learning stages for the past hundred years, when are we going to pick up the tools and do for ourselves instead of relying on people that we know are taking us for everything we have.

The next time you leaders travel to Las Vegas or Phoenix just look around and memorize what you see there, then on your return to the reservation take a look around and make a comparison of what you saw in the city. You should be smart enough to see the differences with the roads, dwellings, and so forth.

Now, why are there such great differences? Yes it's because you've let people like Pollack do the thinking and decisions for you. Do your homework, don't be ashamed to ask if you don't understand.

With that, you as the all-powerful Navajo Nation leaders who are supposed to know it all can begin to evaluate your people's living conditions for the better. You can maximize all rights at all times and at all places, and begin negotiations from there.

You can maintain the idea of strength while remaining reasonable, logical, and determined to negotiate the best settlements possible for your people. And never give up anything without getting a fair exchange but don't be giving away billions of dollars worth of our natural resources.

Milton Bluehouse
Hada Asidi President
Ganado, Ariz.

Eddie J. Arthur
Hada Asidi member
Many Farms, Ariz.

Tulley Haswood
Hada Asidi member
Rock Springs, N.M.

Little water put to use on Navajo Nation

First, the usual disclaimer - the views expressed are personal and do not reflect the views of any past or present employer or client.

The proposed Little Colorado Settlement as reflected in S.2109 should be evaluated from a pragmatic, rather than a theoretical standpoint.

While there is certainly a good argument that if the Indian nations whose lands are within the Little Colorado River watershed could "practically irrigate" all potential agricultural lands within their nations/reservations they would - collectively - be entitled to all the surface water in the Little Colorado River Basin and with a "priority date" which would give them a first call on all the surface water of the basin.

But the history of most dams and irrigation projects in the Navajo Nation in Arizona sadly suggests that measured by actual irrigated farmland in use, there has been very, very little in the way of successful irrigation projects.

While Many Farms has some irrigated farmland and some progress has been made in Ganado, the shells of the Rock Point Dam on the Chinle Wash and the Dinnebito Dam on the Dinnebito Wash and the failed attempt to create irrigated farmland at Cameron are testaments to the difficulty of creating successful flood control and irrigation projects on the Navajo Nation in Arizona.

To be sure, it is possible that improved technology might make future irrigation projects feasible, but the present reality is that very, very little water from the Little Colorado River is actually put to use on the Navajo Nation in Arizona.

What the proposed Little Colorado River Basin settlement offers is for the Navajo Nation (and Hopi Tribe) to trade theoretical water rights for money, which would be used to develop water projects using underground water sources.

For upstream water users on the Little Colorado - essentially non-Native families, ranchers and businesses - they would be able to continue their use of the Little Colorado River water without the threat of Navajo (and Hopi) water rights diminishing or extinguishing their water use.

For the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe, the settlement would offer money for water projects both Indian nations need but apparently cannot afford without very substantial federal funding.

As the old "Western Water Law" cliché puts it - should the Navajos trade theoretical water for "wet water"?

I suggest the question for the Navajo leadership is whether in today's world of reduced federal budgets and more conservative approaches to federal expenditures anything better than S.2109 is realistically possible.

Lawrence A. Ruzow
Flagstaff, Ariz.

Looking for medicine man

I met a medicine person several years ago. He was living in Colorado Springs, Colo., or in the area at the time we met.

We met at an elders' meetings and we talked for a long time. The meeting took place in Woodland Park, Colo., at Rockanna home.

I believe he was in the Navy many years and was a painter in Colorado Springs area. He said that he was moving back to his ranch/ranch.

I believe he was a Navajo medicine person. He would only have his wife serve him food on natural plates and silverware.

He is about 60 years old now, about 5-foot-9 or -10, had short-cut hair the last time I saw him.

I would like to get to together and talk about some dreams and other things.

James D. Windsong-Riegel
1409 Navajo Rd.
Show Low, Ariz.

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