The article also states there will be many job opportunities for the community as well as for young people. It tells us that the community will have a better chance at economic development.
Danny Barney, a local, says, "This opportunity sometimes only comes around once and then it's gone," and he's right. But then again, with what Betty Tsinijinnie, a Bodaway/Gap resident, says too is right. She says that people who oppose the development do not live around the area where they are building the Escalade. Tsinijinnie is one of the people who oppose its development.
There is also a sacred site where the Grand Canyon Escalade would be built. The community members of Bodaway/Gap, the Navajo Nation president, and the Council of Resource and Development should reconsider building over it. Perhaps built it at a different location in the Grand Canyon?
It would be a great opportunity for the community, yet respect the sacred lands and the community members that have livestock and make a living there.
Rock Point, Ariz.
Perspective of interviewees brought shame and hurt to family
First of all, we would like to express our appreciation to Cindy Yurth for taking the time to travel to Baca/Prewitt Chapter and the surrounding communities. The article did not stick to the intent of "portray[ing] the beauty and diversity of the Navajo Nation, as well as its issues". Instead of focusing on the community as a whole, the attention was centered on our grandfather's background with nonfactual claims. The background story that developed from gossip, half-truths, innuendos, and hearsay, whether true or not, has absolutely nothing to do with the beauty, diversity and issues of our community.
We are sure it was not Ms. Yurth's intent to bring shame and hurt upon our family. However, a biased and inappropriate perspective from the ladies interviewed (aunts) did exactly that.
Our grandfather's accidental discovery of uranium at the base of Haystack Mountain led to greater contributions not only locally but internationally, as well. The find ultimately gained him fame resulting in him being inducted into the National Mining Hall of Fame in Leadville, Colo. The fame also included articles in such distinguished magazines such as Time and Life magazines in the early 1950s and Old West magazine in the 1970s.
Paddy Martinez remains a hero to many. In addition to the discovery, he was also an accomplished Navajo medicine man, and sought out for his wisdom and advice. He provided for his many relatives and friends while he played a major role in their survival during hard times. It is these stories of a wonderful man that were passed down to us by our parents. We are certain that we speak for all of his grandchildren when we say we would rather remember him by these deeds and accomplishments.
The following is a sampling of other subjects of interest that could have been reported. Aside from witnessing the beauty of Mount Taylor in the distant east, the eye catching red rocks borders the community to the north and spans westward. Also worthy of mention is the hills, valleys, mesas, and flats that feed off the abundance of rain and snow, an advantage of living along the great continental divide.
Baca/Prewitt Chapter is no different from the other 109 Navajo Nation chapters in that it has its share of issues in the areas of housing, infrastructure, roads, drug, alcoholism, veterans, youth and elderly. You can be assured though that our able leadership is dealing with each issue in a diligent and expeditious manner.
We wish to say that we appreciate that the Navajo Times will bring each chapter's history in the weekly print. Perhaps the history will invoke and inspire some of us to cease negative influences, create new opportunities, continue traditions, or simply visit and make new friends.
In order to be fair with future chapters you will be writing about, we would strongly suggest that you stick to the facts and not delve into people's personal lives. As proud as we may be about our grandfather, no one individual should have to dominate an article meant for chapter and community issues.
Ken Peterson, Norma James, and Lenora Francisco
(Editor's note: The Navajo Times stands by Cindy Yurth's article and reporting.)
Aneth can turn to other natural resource – the river
In the article "Blessed with natural resources, Aneth hasn't fully reaped benefits," by Cindy Yurth, in the Sept. 27, 2012, of the Navajo Times (page A-2), former Navajo Nation Council Delegate Robert Whitehorse says, "If we could keep all those dollars in the chapter, we could really do something."
Mr. Whitehorse explains that the Aneth community receives only 37.5 percent of the royalties that the "Aneth Extension" states when legislation passed it in 1933.
I believe if Aneth receives 100 percent of royalties it could lead to fraudulent and embezzlement issues like when the former CEO of the Navajo Housing Authority tried to pull fraud between 2002-2006. The Navajo Nation, including its chapters has had these issues in the past. We don't have control over individuals handling the money, which lead to unavoidable issues. The people, who are caught embezzling don't repay the money they stole. Once someone has done this crime, it does happen again at other chapter houses. Continuing this cycle of loss to Aneth financial stability.
Instead of focusing on the negative side of people doing crime for oil, Aneth can turn to another natural resource they have, the river. They could build a water purification station near the river so Aneth and other chapters won't depend on water bottling companies. Oil isn't the only source that is valuable to Aneth, it's the river flowing by it.
Trust fund should not be used for small projects on rez
In the article "Zah: Trust fund cannot be used to fund 'wish list," by Marley Shebala, explains that Peterson Zah anticipated Navajo leaders to carelessly persuade the Diné people in utilizing the permanent trust fund to finance a "wish list" for infrastructural projects.
Zah believes we have dishonest leaders amongst our people, therefore, Zah feels he is responsible for protecting the trust fund belonging to the younger generation of Diné. I was shocked to see so many of our leaders being singled out by Zah. He mentions a considerable list of names of dishonest Navajo leaders. I cannot help but wonder why the people who have been misusing funds are still in office?
Zah points out, "He feels responsible for protecting the Permanent Trust Fund principle because it was established during his administration."
Zah is not the only one who is responsible for the fund. The Diné people are the ones who have the last word in the matter. In order to make decisions about issues this important need to have 60 percent Diné votes. The people have agreed many times over in the past and stand their ground when they say they do not want to bother the fund.
We Diné have been getting by so long without using the trust fund. Greed is not one of the characteristics of the Diné because the good intentions of the people will always come first. Scaring people into thinking negatively about future financial security is really where disharmony originates. It is simply common sense to consider the future of the Navajo Reservation and the people.
The money should not be used for small projects on the reservation because maintaining those projects means more funding coming from the Diné.
Before we say yes or no, consult traditional leaders
Is the Navajo leadership and government going to the dogs?
Louise Yellowman was roughened up at Bodaway Chapter for raising her concern and confronting chapter officials who were apparently trying to railroad through a proposal to develop a tourist facility at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Was there a warning for disruptive behavior and was this ignored?
Chapter officials are trained to adjourn the meeting as soon as the meeting becomes disruptive but in this case it appears that there was a move to get a vote on the issue on the spot. The discussion on the issue on KTNN was 99 percent against the proposed development and 1 percent in favor. This matter should be delayed for six months to address the concerns about the sacredness of the confluence. There are many confluences on the Colorado River and other rivers that join the Colorado. Such confluences, according to Navajo beliefs, are that these confluences are areas of creative activities and in that sense such areas are not to be disturbed as much as possible. Of course these confluences and the river system has been disturbed in the past 150 or 200 years.
First, many lives have been lost in these rivers therefore some purifications are necessary to restore harmony to the river system. Second, the daily rafting activities should be controlled by means of blessings with cornmeal, corn pollen, and chips of sacred stones to get permission of the water spirits that are in the river and lakes.
Third, a hand trembler or tremblers should be employed to determine how these disturbances should be addressed in a traditional way. Creative activities in nature involve all living things, including humans so life is made possible and sustained over millions of years.
Earth Mother said to the sun god, "I don't need you, I can exist without you." Men and women say this to each other today, which was forbidden by the traditional leaders. Even to children, don't say, "She or he is not my child" or "This plant is useless," because all life has a purpose and makes lives possible.
We humans are disturbing nature in many ways, disturbing the confluence is only one of the many things we do to put life and existence in jeopardy. Before we say yes or no to development, we should consult those who can see into the future or into the past, our traditional leaders.
Daniel Peaches Kayenta, Ariz.
Respect our Yee'iis
First of all, I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year! During the month of October, one of our great ceremonials begins, the Yei Bichai. In Diné, Ghaaji' means "back to back" meaning the end of the current year and the start of the New Year.
During our Yei Bichai, important religious figures come to visit our people. One of the days during the ceremony they go to households, trading posts, and border towns and those places that they've visited give them small tokens of appreciation such as food, candy, and money.
In return for these small tokens of appreciation, they bestow blessings and healing. That is where we are making a big mistake. Now, these are holy figures and what happens to them or what they do directly affects our people. What I am talking about is if they cough, illnesses such as the flu come to our lands and if they talk, sore throats would be widespread.
My grandmother and grandfather tell me that back in the day there would be word out ahead of time that the holy figures are coming and with this notice people would get ready for them making traditional food. Nowadays, people just give them sweets and soda. Don't you think that this is why there is an increase in diabetes among our people?
Also, back then they would visit only Diné households and bestow their blessings upon our people only. Nowadays, I hear they take them into Gallup and other border towns. Don't you think that is why a lot of our people are just wandering these border towns including our youth for no reason at all?
These are just some of my observations that I have come to witness. We need to go back to our old ways Shi Diné. Yes, progress is good but it is also our demise. Our ceremonies are not just fun and games they are sacred and alive.
So in the end Shi' Diné, respect our Yeiis, because we are them and they are us. So treat them they way you want to be treated. Again, may our people and the whole world be blessed with prosperity, harmony, and long life. Ahe'hee!
Sean Tsosie Baah Haali, N.M.
Navajo Nation needs to focus on needs
My name is Damien Augustine. I am a full-time student at San Juan College majoring in criminal justice. I grew up in the most checkerboard area of the Navajo Nation in the eastern region. Upon completing high school, I moved to Farmington to further my education. Now, I have my own opinion to this Grand Canyon Escalade Project that the Navajo Nation is pushing through.
First and foremost I oppose it, because many hundred modern Navajos still participate in the old Navajo way of life. They believe that we should still follow the customs of not going overboard with something such of enormous project like this one in particular.
I don't think we have all the necessary requirements to tackle a project like this. We are still lacking many projects to better our Navajo Nation. We still have not completed highways through checkerboard and other areas of the Navajo Nation. Our own government is perjury. Why take on this project when we have not addressed these issues?
It's like saying "we'd rather work on something else in another state", which we barely have control of or no control at all. Then also putting something else first before the most needs of Navajos. I know its jobs for Navajos but what about our families? When will they get the help? In another 10 years?
However we can't just say, "This will be a major impact on Navajo Nation." All past major projects (i.e., NAPI. casinos, water projects, etc.) had promised to create thousands of jobs for Navajos, yet the projects are barely even expected to rise in this economic crisis.
They had promised such impact, jobs, etc., but most of these jobs landed in different race's hands. Due to the fact Navajos don't have such degrees. I'm a Navajo who applied to some of these places, yet I didn't get the job. I would rather vote to bring more funding to the scholarship.
Navajo Nation needs to put a spotlight on this factor. Many of us Navajos have waited a lifetime to see our government meet our needs from educational funding to housing to building our nation itself.
Just this job isn't going to help these people accomplish their daily life needs. Other Indian tribes have helped their people first. They build homes, electricity, water, and everything. When this was all done they started major projects like this in particular. Why propose such a project? Navajo Nation government, please rather push to meet the daily needs of our people.
Why doesn't the Navajo Nation focus on getting every Navajo homes' electricity, water works, and highways completed? They'd rather fund millions of dollars on casinos and other projects. With all this millions they could have settled these needs first. Navajo Nation, stop jumping to major projects while the people are being squished.
(Hometown: Counselor, N.M.)