No vote, no trust

September 20, 2012

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I 'm responding to the issue that came out in the Gallup Independent two weeks ago after the Navajo Nation election related to the tribal election.

I'm from Houck Chapter community and a voting member. It is my understanding the Navajo Nation Election Office are blaming the community members about the low count of voters from each chapter. It's not the community members; it's individuals that are seated as chapter officials in each chapter. The point is do we trust those individuals that are running for these seats in the chapters? That is the question, due to lack of interest, lack of trust, and lack of helping the communities.

Some of these individuals that are running to be elected as chapter officials have left their elected position prior due to what they were accused of or due to the mistake they committed.

Now, these same individuals return to be elected thinking it's alright to run again despite of what they committed as prior elected officials.

Hello! These individuals believe it's OK to take money or other resources from the community they will represent. These services and money belong to the community and should stay.

Let me refrain this back to years back, all of our good and sincere leaders are gone and some good ones are still here. They tried for what is best for their community.

Look at our chapter now. It's run down, none of the equipment work that the community may use, no trash disposal, etc. What happened?

Every time you walk in the chapter, there is always a negative feeling and the atmosphere is bad. You ask questions about your assistance and there's always a negative remark, "No money" or "You already received assistance" or "Bring all your receipts", etc. There are times they at the chapter will tell you you're approved and return to pick up your assistance check. When you return they will tell you, "We ran out of money, no check."

Everyday you read in the newspapers about all the chapters. You attend meetings at the chapter and you hear the same old issues from the past years. No positive results. Who will we trust now?

All the money that's funded to the Navajo Nation all goes to the person that sits in the chapter official capacity. Even those that are highly educated get that money. All the money that individuals took from chapters, what happens to those people? Did they pay back? Are they in jail? What has happened to all these people from councilman chapter president, vice president, secretaries, and Grazing Committee, even the ones that just work as coordinators?

Remember, these are federally funded monies that each tribe throughout Indian Country receives from the federal government. You misuse this money that is a federal offense.

All those individuals running for office with their chapters are on the voting ballots. They are out there telling us, "Vote for me" or "I'll do this for the chapter community."

They butter you up with their smooth talk and some of these individuals we've never seen at any of the local community chapter meetings or events. They talk to you nice, treat you with respect, etc., but once they win the election, take the oath, and are seated in their new chapter position, you become nothing to them. No more respect, they forget you because they got your vote.

Then the tables turn when their family and relatives come first to be assisted before you. They become greedy, put money for their own use, and do a lot of traveling.

Give the young generation a chance to be our leader. Don't put your child down or another child. Our old leaders once had stated, "When our grandchildren come into the future to join them, here's our future leader."

Let's put our young generation's education to use. Don't be afraid to state your mind, speak for yourself and community. Help rebuild our chapters. A place for our elders, preschool for our grandchildren, etc.

This is why our voters and some people did not vote. No trust!

Please don't steal our money. Don't blame the community members for low voting. Many have become hesitant to vote because they do not know whether they should believe those officials, especially the elderly.

Dee Silversmith
Sanders, Ariz.

Navajo Nation needs true lobbyists and political patriots

A great conceptual idea on paper does not always provide the positive change and intended result as planned. A perfect example of such as case is the people's vote to reduce the Navajo Nation Council to a smaller, streamlined, and efficient tribal government function. The process has allowed 24 representatives to distill the combined power of its former 88 members Navajo Nation Council into a concentrated power base controlled by self-serving and self-immortalized representatives.

Most voters and members of the Navajo Nation did not see a Jekyll and Hyde, Yei Tsoh like monster lurking in the dark shadows. The voters of the Diné Nation have been enticed by hope for positive change and voted for the referendum as a step toward integrity and transparency within the legislative branch of our Navajo tribal government. How could we foresee the regression of the vital functions of the Navajo Nation Council?

A perfect example of the Navajo Nation Council regress is the accusations and maligned descriptions of a functional tribal entity, the Navajo Housing Authority. The Navajo Housing Authority has been under fire in recent months. At first it was an indirect attack of process and functions of the NHA, perhaps instigated by a few certain Navajo Nation Council members. NHA was verbally attacked for inaction (un-repaired housing units), unethical practices (unfulfilled promises to supply material or equipment), and ignorance (not listening to needs of veterans).

The tactics did not provide the intended outcome as intended and fizzed when NHA went above and beyond its responsibilities by accommodating and addressing the concerns expressed by the several local organizations and Navajo Nation veterans. The instigators were obviously irate and vindictive as proven by the next action or (reaction) taken by the Navajo Nation Council.

We have all read the local newspapers articles, which described the unfair and unethical actions of the Navajo Nation Council Resource Development Committee, a subcommittee within the Navajo Nation Council. We have finally seen what the Navajo Nation Council ulterior motivated designed actions have been planning in the dark shadows of a once reverence proud progressive halls of the Navajo Nation Council.

I am most distraught and concerned by the attempts of the Navajo Nation Council to manipulate, intimidate, and discredit The Designated Housing Entity of the Navajo Nation, Navajo Housing Authority. The rumors and hearsay had been rumbling within and throughout the Diné nation and the Navajo Nation Council has finally shown its hand. The unsubtle actions and loud rhetoric of certain members of the Navajo Nation Council have made it obvious intentions of the Navajo Nation Council RDC quite clear.

I am in total disbelief and very disturbed by the actions of our Navajo Nation Council RDC. In the RDC's poor attempts to veil the obvious intent of raiding government funds and money grab, the committees actions cease to amaze with its attempts to justify their actions regarding NHA, and the TDHE funding.

The feather fluffing by self-proclaimed champion of the people Delegate Katherine Benally, Leonard Tsosie and Lorenzo Curley have become more elaborate with tricks and illusions to haze the minds and vision of the common Navajo. The true intent of the elected leaders has been clearly stated with the Naa'bik'iyati' Committee quest to control the tribe's federally funded housing plan and funding.

But we all know what the ultimate plan and motivation of the Navajo Nation Council, which is to strong-arm and manipulate the NAHASDA funding under Navajo Nation Council control. We all know what happens to money and funding sources after the Navajo Nation Council decides to manage and control.

To prevent and preclude such devious intentions such as the current Navajo Nation RDC is attempting. NHA was designated to be the Tribal Designated Housing Entity by the former leaders and forefathers of our great Navajo Nation. The threat and takeover of NHA is the very reason why our forefathers and former leaders of the Navajo Nation had decided to separate and identify an independent organization to be charged with developing a mechanism that would address the critical housing needs of a growing nation. For the very reasons that have long been identified, Navajo Housing Authority has been allowed to give direct service to the needs of the people on our nation. NHA was developed to protect and prevent the intrusion of political blight and to prevent the mindless destruction of a critical social government funded program.

To think that the Navajo Nation Council one day soon may be allowed to destroy and decapitate the operations of a functional social service based program will be a sad day for all. The Navajo Nation Council has a recent clear history of gutting and hobbling effective and thriving tribal and tribal affiliated programs. The recent Navajo Nation Council has a very transparent and highlighted history of shameless and uncontrolled greed. The indictments and fallout of the latest legal round are still in states of drying ink within the pages of the local newspapers is no deterrence the politicians. Navajo Nation Council members have an illusion of being above the law and do not adhere with the rules and regulations set forth.

An obvious but sad fact was pointed out by our own Navajo Sarah Palin (Benally) who indicated the infighting and bickering is detrimental to the Navajo Nation. I would have to agree the political jousting is detrimental to our progress and the political infighting is a destructive force.

Ms. Benally is delusional to even think that she is wearing the white hat in this situation. Yes she does have a duty to her people, to all the Navajo people of the Navajo Nation. I suppose admitting guilt is an honorable trait but to use the voters and people of the nation as pawn in her narrow self -gratifying vision only solidifies her relentless and shameless intentions. Ironic is fact that you had instigated and created the distrust between the two entities and pushed the situation to its current brink and talking directly to the facts of the created discourse without shame.

If Katherine Benally was a true champion of the Navajo people, she would challenge herself to seek, identify, and fight for untapped alternative sources of funding for her chapters and cease her attempt to create another discretionary like slop fund from a secured identified guaranteed funding source such as NAHASDA.

We need more additional funding for the needs of our people. We need true lobbyists and political patriots to lead the way into the new unstable ages of our nation. We demand leaders who are willing to tread in new undiscovered environments to defend our dignity, rights, and our sovereignty. We need leaders who will take us to the next level of economic independency and cultivate the untapped sources available. Instead we have marauders and headhunters preying own our own.

Ervin Tsosie
Ganado, Ariz.

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