Tax plan should include elderly, disabled

May 5, 2012

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T he proposed legislation (sales tax) does not mention our aging and disabled people, and our children of abusive parents.

They need care homes built in all five agencies. Instead these loved ones are sent off from their homeland to strange environments. It is their money and one should not deny that.

Through hardship and leadership, two new care homes have been built, one in Ganado and one in Cornfields, Ariz., and most likely, they will need continuous financial help for their operations.

Most recently, we had two sad experiences, first with the general funds and second with the sales tax funds of Wide Ruins Chapter.

The Ganado care home ran short of funds to purchase dining and living room furniture and window decors and they requested for funds to several local chapters and they received their money from these chapters, except Wide Ruins gave us a run around for several months. The chapter coordinator had control and won't release the money or recognize our votes.

Finally, at this last chapter meeting, the sales tax money that was already voted on was voted on again, with 31 in favor, to release it to Ganado care home.

This type of action confuses and abuses and doesn't stand well for our unfortunate home-bound people. It is a must and about time we include them in this proposed sales tax money allocations.

I also believe that these sales tax money be used for what it is intended for. No sales tax money should be used to build buildings on state or private lands where Navajo Nation does not have jurisdiction.

Our central judicial (court) system needs a new building. It is at a poor location and are scattered out to different small buildings. Public detention facility (jail) should be built separate.

My late grandfather, Henry Chee Dodge, was a great supporter of education and his last earnest advice was: "You are placed in a school to learn, be educated so you can lead your people safely and wisely. You will be their brain, eyes and ears. Make careful decisions for them, because many are not educated to white men's way. They will need good honest leadership."

Further, he also said, "Education is a two way street, one must be very careful in decision making or you will sell your people down the drain."

Irma Bluehouse
Ganado, Ariz.

White Shell Woman workshop fee covered meals

We would like to respond to the letter to the editor "Disturbed at cost charged at workshop," which questions our recent workshop in the Navajo Times issue dated April 12, 2012 (Letters, by Richard Anderson Sr.) as follows.

Thank you, Mr. Anderson, for your question about the "$10 per participant" for attendees of the White Shell Woman Workshop sponsored by the Miss Navajo Council, Inc.

The $10 registration fee covers the cost of both morning and afternoon snacks and a healthy lunch for participants. We thought that this was clear in our advertisements.

We'd like to take this opportunity to inform the public that White Shell Woman is the name chosen for our workshop. This is not a workshop "on" White Shell Woman. It is not our purpose to teach ceremonial knowledge about White Shell Woman.

As mothers, fathers, grandmothers and nálís, our presenters seek to strengthen our children's identity as Diné and encourage and guide them with hope for their future.

As former Miss Navajos, we feel responsible to promote our Diné language and culture as teachers to our young.

The Miss Navajo Council, Inc. is a nonprofit organization. The former Miss Navajos volunteer generously giving their time to plan and conduct two annual workshops for Diné youth between ages of 8 and 24. The Hero Twins is for boys and the White Shell Woman is for girls.

We appreciate our presenters whose wisdom and expertise contribute greatly to these events, most of whom also donate their own travel and lodging. No one receives a salary.

We honor White Shell Woman and the Hero Twins through having speakers who serve as role models for Diné youth.

As to workshop content, the following topics are examples: Diné foods, Diné health, Diné environment, Diné singing and language, financial literacy, etiquette as to being a young lady or young man, being positive, being creative in math, making rockets and solar cars, Diné first aid, Diné puberty, Diné language, and college as a goal.

While the topics change from year to year, we seek to make our Diné life relevant and understandable for young people. Workshop evaluations reflect positively on what we are doing and attendance is close to 200 participants per workshop with parents and grandparents.

We encourage you to visit our 2013 workshops and see how eager these young people are to be proud of their heritage and to be part of the Diné.

Sarah Luther
Miss Navajo Council, Inc.
Tuba City, Ariz.

Water deal divides, confuses the people

Reading about the water settlement has set great heights in dividing and confusing the people.

It is certainly building barriers between the Hopi and Navajo governments.

This sort of exposure shows how the U.S. government is not respecting sovereign tribal nations if they are to provide another questionable settlement offering promises of providing decency to the living of both tribes.

Taking a look back on a similar controversial settlement they offered the Navajo Nation, the intergovernmental compact did nothing for the tribe after approval that offered obligations to eradicate controversial land disputes.

People are still living without electricity and water. The money promised has vanished at the hands of most leaders who still face criminal charges.

They have shown gestures of heartlessness and ill fiscal motivations to not improve the people's lives but only their selfish selves.

Again, according to Navajo laws we have a weak form of government to allow this sort of workmanship which allows the U.S. government to come forth with their manipulative intentions to take what resources we do have.

It is not right to apply answers or make hasty decisions on this particular water settlement because we do not have compassionate, competent and noble leaders.

Intelligence, and loyalty to our sovereign nation, and correct what damage the tribe has caused its people from our tribal leaders should well be taken into consideration before making important decisions.

Strongly coordinate laws to where it protects not only our people but also our resources. Our resources are for the future.

Our lands and waters are powerful. It should not just be given away for a bag of pennies that eventually will only fill the piggy banks of those in favor of the water settlement.

People are truly forgotten, when can the Navajo Nation unite? If respect means anything to our culture, resources, language, sovereignty, ancestors and people, the tribal leaders need to step down and offer the people the truth.

We no longer need lies, abuse, and betrayals. This certainly is not a reality show where our tribe stands exposed to be made fun of, which is exactly what the dirty Republicans who introduced the water settlement are doing.

Kee Jackson Jr.
Arlington, Texas

Our water should not be taken from us

Water is sacred. I am very surprised our Navajo Nation president, Mr. Ben Shelly, did not explain this to (senators) Kyl and McCain on behalf of our Navajo Reservation.

Our water should not be taken and limited to us, instead to be used to benefit non-Native, southwestern towns and cities. We cannot have our water be used for swimming pools, water parks, and other water activities in the cities.

We put the Little Colorado River to use, for our livestock, crops, and ceremonial purposes.

Livestock is essential. Not only do we use our livestock as food, but for clothing, rugs, and blankets or for trading. All is our Navajo history, which we still carry on today.

Next, watering our crops. Crops give us our medicinal herbs and our corn. Corn, or naadaa, Navajos use for traditional ceremonies.

The corn pollen, also known as taadadiin is used for offerings to the Holy People.

Above all, water, better known as tù to our DinÄ people, is used for ceremonies. Navajos use water to cleanse our people, much like blessing them.

Also, water is used for mixing our traditional herbs. Even in our creation stories, water plays a huge part in our tradition.

I speak out on behalf of the elders of the Navajo Nation whose voices are unheard and who would like to see their younger generations keep the tradition without feeling they are limited to their water.

Say no to the SB 2109.

Ashley White
Tuba City, Ariz.

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