'Hear me, ask no question, and expect no feedback'

February 14, 2013

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T his letter is in response to Tacheeni Scott's letter (published Navajo Times, Feb. 7, 2013).

Thank you for waking us up from our comfortable malaise. Yes, your diagnosis is on target. Anarchy abounds. Just as an unchecked lethal microbes fester…we are infected with malignant narcissism.

We declare "transparency" then answer people with "shut-up" when they ask questions. We disclose no viable plan or outcomes – merely hide behind closed-door sessions. We are loud with the word "k'e" yet promote fear with hurtful surprises – Ms. Yellowman was subjected to the royal treatment of such false proclamation.

We have enough laws that could guide to where we are headed. We have local Community Development Act and Diné Fundamental Law – the two most ignored, scoffed, and violated. The two laws are "nice" to have and to boast about in front of "foreigners" but at home behind closed doors we deny their relevancy to ourselves, our lives, and our very existence.

Across the United States is a nation-wide obsession with money, richness, and control – we are hovering toward the same with our greedy eyes looking at the "Navajo money".

Navajo money is the tax we pay for our purchases on our reservation, the profits from the casino. Dare we ask, "How much money did we collect?"

Who decides how to use this money? Do we care? In addition is the money from the coal/oil companies.

Yes, Uncle Sam still gives us money – how much is simpler to secure. If anyone is misusing the money we can tell Uncle Sam to come to correct such. However, a report of how much Uncle Sam is giving us would be wondrous news. Vague statements like "millions if not billions" of housing money is waiting for Navajo somewhere – this is scary.

Yes, Mr. Tacheeni Scott, you described a recurring pattern and manner of conducting open and public meetings – protocols are: "Hear me, ask no question, and expect no feedback". For each one of us – how long do we just sit, watch, and maybe ignore the treatment inflicted on others.

Again, Mr. Tacheeni Scott, thank you for nudging us to wake up again.

Nancy Evans
Shiprock, N.M.

Honoring Larry Casuse

Racism exists because we allow it and it will continue if we do not draw the line against it now.

In 1973, there were two events that transpired that changed the course our recent history; the Siege of Wounded Knee, S.D., and the slaying of a young Dine' (Navajo) warrior named Larry Casuse, co-founder of Indians Against Exploitation, in Gallup.

Both events were directly related to racism against Native American tribes. At Wounded Knee, the event was tied to uranium mining that would eventually divide indigenous communities, exploit the surrounding land and natural resources (uranium and water) and stir people into action.

The result was a 71-day armed stand-off that took many lives during and after; this was Wounded Knee II—a repeat of history perpetrated by outside influences and backed by certain native people in power who were bought and paid for, selling out their own people, much like the so-called leadership of Church Rock, who gave into Hydro Resources, Inc., the company that proposes to establish in-situ leach uranium mines near Church Rock and Crownpoint, N.M., using our sole source of pristine drinking water and contaminating the water supply forever.

This is in the face of the largest release of radioactive waste in U.S. history on July 16, 1979, at the United Nuclear Corporation Church Rock mill site.

In Gallup, there is the unholy trinity that still exists after the tragic events 40 years ago. The liquor establishment (that Larry fought against), "law enforcement" and the court system that are still in denial while our Diné people continue to suffer and die from alcohol. Gallup has 23 liquor licenses over the legal state limit.

At a former sporting goods store, the life of Larry Casuse was needlessly taken before his time in a shoot-out; Larry took the initiative to walk the then-mayor Emmett Garcia, who also owned a bar near the Navajo Reservation, through the streets of Gallup to show him the aftermath of the sales of alcohol. The event was called a "kidnapping" by the media, which failed to add that Garcia was a real part of the problem as well.

After killing Larry his lifeless body was dragged onto the sidewalk so police officers could have their picture taken of him as if he were a trophy kill. Most likely, the picture still hangs on the wall of the Gallup Fraternal Order of Police.

It is time to revisit history, draw the line against racism, speak against the continued exploitation of our indigenous nations, protect our land and water and declare our stand for the next seven generations to end this "Reign of Terror"—at Wounded Knee and in Gallup and all places in between.

On Saturday, Feb. 23, all people are invited to educate themselves and stand with us at the McKinley County Court House Square from 12-1 p.m. in honor of Wounded Knee II and Larry Casuse.

Mervyn Tilden
Gallup, N.M.

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