Spiritual self-identity

July 25, 2013

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M y name is Ralph Davis. I am Chahta and Dineh. From the lens of a spiritual self-identity as a precious child of creator and the Dineh language and culture as our Constitution, one could say, that if one doesn't know where they came from, they also would not know how to get here.

Then they also would not know where they are coming from. Dineh have a creation story and the Four Cardinal Directions principles that give directions for living the loving way, as a way of life.

I am going to describe, in my opinion, how this "not knowing" happened for Native Americans. The process that the white mind used as a forced-choice strategy for Indians to become "lost" was to conquer, convert, domesticate, exploit and terminate.

The first to come to this continent to conquer was the Conquistadores and they brought the church to convert from the sacred-self to the deficient self-image with the purpose of transforming the Indians into docile lambs to be slaughtered without resistance.

The next phase of conquest was not education, but domestication in order to turn the Indians into servants for the White Mind in order to exploit their natural resources and then terminate Indians when they are no longer needed.

Sadly, now the abused have become the abusers, because Indians historically are conditioned to be pitted one against the other and that is how we are destroying ourselves today.

The white mind knows that the language is the door to the culture, so the boarding school experience was intended to destroy Indian whole-brain thinking – the creative imagination or holy thinking. We are in the fourth or fifth generation of boarding school parents.

Therefore, some Indian youth are "lost" because they don't know where they came from in terms of who they are and why they are here and they don't know where they are going.

Hence, all are dysfunctional youth and adults believing they are their deficient self-image because they forgot their original spiritual self-identity. There is no history book of the Navajo Nation government. The tribal government does not even know what kind of government it is and why it exists.

We are the holy people within a sovereign nation that does not need to be saved, so we ask that the white mind go back on the Mayflower into the dungeons from where it came.

It has been said repeatedly by various Indians that the best Indian policy is to leave Indians to their own sovereign nations. We got along before the white mind invasion that eroded our language and culture long before the conquest era and we can get along in the future without further destruction to our life and right livelihood.

This is my story and it is to be continued. I am living in hozho – living the loving way.

Ralph Davis
Albuquerque, N.M.

Not so democratic

Our Navajo democratic government is not so democratic after all. Last week, Navajo Nation Council rescinded CAP-21-13 and approved Legislation No. 0177-13, which basically extends the terms of the Navajo Generating Station Lease effective from Dec. 23, 1969.

I say our nation is not democratic because currently the Navajo Nation Council delegates have a mindset that they have been elected by the people and Title 2 of the Navajo Nation Code states that they, Navajo Nation Council, shall be the governing body of the Navajo Nation so the delegates choose to make a decision that does not benefit you (Navajo generations) only the corporations benefits by waiving $1 with a fishing pole.

Since the reduction of the Navajo Tribal Council from 88 to 24 members, our Diné were optimistic of better warriors with transparency, accountability and leadership that would protect, preserve, and fight for the Navajo Nation and its people's water rights – not give it away to the greedy states and the corporations as they are in partnership against Navajo interests.

What is preventing Navajo from flourishing?

It's owners like SRP and Navajo leaders (Council delegates/president) that bow down to campaign donations, free luncheons and favoritism. Look at our nation, we do not have Safeway's, Laundromats, feed stores, better livestock, electricity, and most important of all water. Now look off-reservation. You have Wal-Marts, Furrs, car washes, golf courses, water parks, paved roads, Laundromats, grocery stores, farming, electricity, and water.

Navajo Nation Council delegates just voted and approved to keep Navajo Nation the way it is for the next 31 years. Navajo Nation borrowed $200 million to build Twin Arrows Casino, we could have used that money to build "NAP – Navajo Aqueduct Project" from LeChee to Leupp to Indian Wells and from Kaibeto to Pinon to Chinle, which would have benefited 30 chapters with over 60,000 Navajos versus 450 Navajo employees at NGS.

Which would you have voted for water infrastructure for fat sheep, goats, cattle, horses, cornfields, alfalfa, watermelons, or $608,400 that is given to Navajo Nation and we Navajos do not see a dime.

The 2014 election is around the corner, now is the time to rethink of our current leadership and vote in warriors that will make us a better nation in 2014.

Calvin Johnson
Leupp, Ariz.

Chaco Canyon road - pave it or leave it

I recently read an article in Navajo Times discussing summer solstice activities in and around Chaco Canyon. The article by Alastair Lee Bitsoi was very insightful because it gave a Navajo perspective to the Anasazi legacy.

I especially enjoyed Bitsoi's stories regarding the "Great Gambler." What surprised me were park officials advising Alastair that the southern route to Chaco (through Crownpoint) was difficult due to a sand dune. A sand dune would imply a natural phenomenon.

Although it was a very dry June, the sand dune in question was actually the result of McKinley County road-maintenance crews. Evidently due to yearly complaints regarding the road to Chaco, McKinley County sends someone out for about a week to grade and try to make improvements on the road. This involves picking up loose dirt and placing it on rocky areas.

In years past the dirt would subsequently blow away (due to spring winds) and little improvement, if any, was apparent. This year, however, at a point about five miles south of the park tons of dirt was placed on a rocky incline. Evidently spring winds wouldn't budge this mountain of dirt and sand. The result, the sand dune reported by park officials.

Chaco Canyon is a national treasure, I urge McKinley County leaders to either pave the road to Chaco or leave it alone. As it stands the road is very frustrating for tourists and locals alike.

Steven Williams
Seven Lakes, N.M.

A great mentor, father figure

I read about the passing of Mr. J.D. Sykes. A lot of us went to Tuba City Boarding School. He was a great mentor, a principal, a coach, a photographer, and a father figure. He had an open-door policy, we could always talk to him. He would listen and gave us advice.

As many students went to Tuba City Boarding School, Mr. J.D. Sykes would always know your name and chat with you. He was always taking pictures. He had so many pictures of students inside and outside his office. He always made you feel important.

He would call me just to see how I was doing throughout the years. I lost contact after 1997 so I never got a chance to introduce my kids to him. I have a lot of wonderful stories about him and my late mother, Evelyn Williams. He touched so many lives and made an impression in our lives.

Linda Williams
Grand Canyon, Ariz.

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