Is anarchy the name of the game?

February 7, 2013

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I wish to commend Ms. Louise Yellowman for her excellent report (Navajo-Hopi Observer, Jan. 30, 2013) of a fiasco of a Gap Chapter House meeting on Oct. 3, 2012.

I attended a similar impromptu meeting at the Gap on June 21, 2012 – I was permitted to speak as I was invited by one of the chapter officials who I ran into at Tuba City that morning. I spoke as a biologist and said "water is life – no water, no life" – something I learned when I did research at NASA, Division of Extraterrestrial Research, Stanford-Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., summers, 1984, 1985.

The meeting was merely an opportunity to focus on the need for chapter funds to be used to haul water for undocumented (no grazing permit) free-ranging horses. I came to the meeting because I thought the topic was the McCain-Shelly attempt to settle the long-term Little Colorado water issue.

I am on record as being one of the earliest critics of the Shelly-McCain political-smooching deal to settle what amounted to the Dineh Nation giving away long-term water rights (May 10, 1960, Arizona Daily Sun) for immediate availability of water for a few Dineh families.

Also, I was in hopes of hearing what the relatives of Willie Long Reed, a longtime Tuba City High School science teacher/friend, were saying about losing their traditional grazing rights on the Bodaway Plateau because of the slimy back-room political/economic dealings on the Colorado Confluence resort issue.

Also, I am on record for opposing the designing on rez land of a "world-class resort/casino" at the Confluence. I added the casino as I know the collective thinking of elected Dineh leaders: "No more Dineh Nation Council Committee meetings at Las Vegas only at National Finals Rodeo time – but, in the future, we can schedule for meetings at the Confluence anytime!"

This is what was behind the reason why Ms. Yellowman was banished from attending the meeting on Oct. 3.

Ms. Yellowman is a traditionally trained leader (she may be a former Coconino County supervisor, but nevertheless she remains a strong unelected leader) who always puts into perspective the long-term effects of "grabbing onto and making it ours" the latest technological/economic gimmicks.

Current elected Dineh leaders who have complimented me also include Mr. Leonard Tsosie, Mr. Jonathan Nez (Navajo Nation Council), and Mr. Gerald Keetso, president, Council of Naat'aanii, To'Nanees'Dizi local government.

I am glad I wasn't there to see Ms. Yellowman being paraded around...I just might have been banned (too) from the meeting because I certainly would have said something about "these kinds of things happen when there is no Dineh Nation Constitution – no rights to be heard at a public meeting."

It looks like anarchy is the name of the game in the vacuum of a no-constitution Dineh Nation Chapter environment.

Tacheeni Scott
Flagstaff, Ariz.

Hopi Council to vote on budget

After a long day interviewing investment firms on Jan. 29, 2013, we on the Hopi Tribal Council were put under pressure by Chairman Leroy Shingotewa to act on the 2013 $21,550,340 tribal budget proposal at 5:30 p.m.

Some of us told the council that we must not do this without the public being present. I said, we cannot "just rail road" this through. Enough of us objected so that finally, the chairman proposed that we consider the proposed 2013 budget on Feb. 6-8.

We agreed because this will enable all the village representatives to be present as some of them were on travel. In addition some of the program budget proposals were taken under advisement, which meant that they need to be reconsidered by the council.

Once again I call on village leaders to be present to see how their village representatives vote on these budget proposals. The bottom line is that we, as representatives of our villages, are accountable to the residents of our villages and we must act accordingly.

Caleb H. Johnson
Council Representative
Kykotsmovi, Ariz.

Asserting nation's power for a better future

In response to the Navajo Nation Speaker (Navajo Times, Dec. 20, 2012), although some individuals may be quick to criticize the nation's movement into non-sustainable energy production, it is my hope that this acquisition is only the first phase of a diversified energy portfolio that will eventually include sustainable energy.

The window of opportunity of staying below 2°C Average Global Temperature is rapidly closing. Emissions must peak by 2016 and decline at 5 percent per year thereafter, if we are to have a 50/50 chance of keeping temperature rise below 2°C by 2100.

The Southwest is projected to warm faster than the world as a whole in coming decades, with summer temperatures rising even faster than winter ones. The Southwest is particularly vulnerable to Climate Change because of its aridity, and the region is projected to become even drier in decades to come.

For us, 2°C is almost certainly too high to be safe. Even a temporary overshoot of 2°C AGT for a couple centuries would be devastating for our lands. It would also mean that hundreds of jobs at the mine and the FCPP would be lost and hundreds of families would have to face dire economic circumstances.

Saving a few hundred of one generation's prosperity at the same time putting at risk a livable climate for 50 generations of all tribal members is simply wrong. In order for us to realize self-reliance, it will require us to begin asserting our nation's inherent power to decide for ourselves what we want our future to look like.

The climate that comes with our lands is tied to the climate of the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the total global atmospheric CO2 concentrations today and world emissions trajectory has already decided for us what we must do. Leave fossil fuels in the ground.

Based on past observed emissions including 2012 we are heading for a 4.0 – 6.1°C AGT increase - sometime between 2040-2060 we will cross the 2°C threshold. A greater than 5°C AGT would probably destroy modern civilization and is debatable whether our people would still be talking "inherent power" and "desire for self-reliance" after a permanent Dust-Bowlification of their lands.

The knowledge of our ancestors still rings true. It truly is up to us, and only us, to decide what we do with our resources so that it brings both prosperity and balance to our people.

What balance? Humans have now built a global industrial civilization around an unsustainable, ecological Ponzi scheme, whereby current generations have figured out how to live off the wealth that supposed to belong to future generations.

CC looms as the epitome of an intergenerational Ponzi scheme: for a limited benefit of current living generations, we are burning dirty fuels that will present great difficulties for (if not wreak disasters on) many generations to come.

There are red lights flashing and needles that are pegged all over our collective dashboard, yet the world has its foot hard on the gas, racing toward the cliff of unknown consequences. Naize, Shelly, and the gang supporting the status quo think developing more fossil fuels is the solution and developing climate solutions is the responsibility of others. Shirking their independent responsibility to act. The knowledge that does ring true is that a failure to act on CC would betray our children and future generations.

Although reducing carbon pollution will have costs, it will also produce incalculable benefits. Our response must therefore be driven not solely by near-term economic or tribal self-interest. We must also acknowledge and act on our long-standing moral obligation to protect current and future generations, to honor principles of equity and justice, and to protect Mother Earth on which the wellbeing of all life, including ours, depends.

Glen Manygoats
Flagstaff, Ariz.

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