Horse slaughtering is not Navajo way self-identity

August 8, 2013

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I I am saddened and quite disappointed to read of Navajo President Ben Shelly to support the proposed horse slaughter operation in New Mexico.

Navajo elders speak and teach of how we live in harmony with the land and animals. How could the support of slaughtering horses be in harmony with the land and the Great Spirit?

May I remind you that the Great Spirit, our Father, created all the animals, all humans and the elements of the earth and the universe. How does slaughtering the horses help to be in daily harmony and beauty with the land and animals?

How does the slaughtering help the harmony of the elements of the earth and universe?

How can one sit in native ceremonies or church and pray and support such mass slaughtering of animals with the knowledge that these same horses slaughtered will be sold in the meat markets for daily consumption?

I, for one, do not support such mass slaughtering of horses. I have owned, trained and rode many horses and do not see the logic of killing horses. I have taken care of my horses to the very end and pray for those who were stolen from me.

Do not let evil thoughts of the easy way out of slaughtering wild horses to replace hamburgers on your dinner table for your family and this country. I am disappointed that some Native American tribes have supported the slaughtering of wild horses. Where is the harmony and balance with nature in all this?

Why not tame the horses and do "giveaways" to people who want a horse to care for. Where are the old days of training such horses for Native people? What would our ancestors be saying to learn that this is what the modern day Native American tribes are supporting?

My late elder mother gave me the name, Horse Woman, because of the daily care of my horses. I encourage all horses owners to join efforts to stop the slaughtering of horses in the state of New Mexico and in the United States. That is not our way!

Native American people are still here carrying the old ways and traditions.

Merlee Arviso
Albuquerque, N.M.

Seeking information about grandfather

I live in England and have just recently found out that my grandfather, Jim Decker, who died May 18, 1945, was a Navajo Indian.

He was born Dec. 16, 1919, in New Mexico. His residence was San Juan, N.M., and he enlisted Jan. 5, 1942, in the military.

He came here during World War II and met and married Amy Brammall. They were married in a place called Wellingborough Northamptonshire, England, in 1944.

They had two children, Hazel Decker (my aunt who died in 2005) and Garry Decker (my father, born Oct. 27, 1945, still living).

All I know about my grandfather is that he's buried at the Fort Defiance Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fort Defiance, Ariz., and has living relatives in New Mexico who I am eager to contact. I think he came from Waterflow, N.M., and I have written down here University of California but not sure whether that comes into the story. Unfortunately that is all I have been able to find out.

Any information about my grandfather is appreciated as I've been looking for many years.

Relatives of Jim Decker may contact me via email at

Traceylee Goldie
Todmorden Lancashire, England

To walk in peace with everyone

This letter is in response to Joe Indian Yazzie's letter to the editor that published last week called, "Nazlini's Baptist church."

Why would Mr. Yazzie want to call the police on a pastor? Is it because he may be non-Navajo or because of what he preaches?

Mr. Yazzie thanks the federal government for the Freedom of Religion Act, yet he doesn't believe that this pastor Joel has the right to preach God however he sees fit? We all need to open our heart and ears, he has rights too just like everyone else.

I don't agree with Mr. Yazzie even if I (too) don't think this pastor should be going to the bingo games to hunt out for members of his church. The Great Spirit, the One we call upon as Creator of the universe, does not force Diné or anyone into going to a church. So actually we all personally have a choice not to listen but leave the church. A church is just a building in which people gather to hear preaching and to fellowship with one another.

It's the soul and spirit that matters when it comes to the subject of birth, death and living on this God-given earth.

As a Diné, we are to judge right and walk in peace with everyone - red, white, black, yellow and brown.

Yael Begaye
Tucson, Ariz.

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