Council should step down pending trials

WINDOW ROCK, Jan. 9, 2014

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Our people's Navajo Nation Council Chamber became controlled, "Have it our way or no way" mentality government, without the people's voices. It is run by Council delegates, executive branch, head of the judicial branch, and former Council delegates that lost election and continue to be employed as best friends of the executive branch.

The Navajo Nation attorney general's duty is to make a good legal decision for the betterment of our government, instead of mingling with the executive branch and the legislative branch. Some of these mentioned people run the government without good standing. They allegedly deceived and took thousands and thousands of dollars in discretionary funds. And they know who they are.

They are walking around with their heads high and hiding behind guilt, until proven guilty. It has to have true full probable cause statements to have these criminal charges filed against you. Also to have the courts accept the filed criminal charge. A thorough investigation has to be done to file any criminal charge. So don't fool the people saying it is a false allegation.

The individuals that abused the discretionary funds have to voluntarily relieve themselves from serving the people until they resolve their criminal charges. Former Council delegates and the family that took the discretionary funds should return the money. We don't need any more repeated embarrassments to the Navajo Nation.

The Council delegates that are accused of abusing the discretionary funds need to relieve themselves until they resolve their legal matters. The Council also needs to relieve the Speaker of his duty. I don't think anybody can do business with distrusted, dishonest, and unethical leaders.

These same people will be filing for candidacy in the upcoming election. We cannot be fooled again by these same old seasoned politicians.

The amount of discretionary funds stolen is a felony crime. Stealing and receiving tribal funds and chapter house funds is a crime. The three states' United States Attorney's office needs to do their job and stop the long history of stealing public funds and federal funds on the Navajo Indian Reservation.

Sammy Ahkeah
Shiprock, N.M.

Ariz. CPS charges aren't new

The recent public criticisms of Arizona's Child Protective Services really aren't that new. Arizona's children, our kids, deserve better. Our tax dollars are at stake when down the road abused and neglected children need extra care, therapy, counseling, and other services, the costs of which we know far outweigh the costs of prevention today.

As another 6,000 misreported cases surface, it's very easy to be reactive, point our fingers, and throw up our hands. As a community advocacy and action agency, Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth encourages a more proactive approach to address the many challenges that CPS faces.

Prevention. We say it again. It's critical to recognize prevention includes nurturing new and existing services and supports like foster families, and grandparents raising their grandchildren. Prevention means supporting substance abuse and mental health programs, parenting classes, youth mentorship, and after school and out of school time programs. Prevention means providing early childhood education and safe child care opportunities for families.

It's easy to focus energy on the cause and the blame. It's much more of a challenge to look at how we as individuals can bolster the positives in our community, the existing services which continue to prevent and end child abuse and neglect with encouragement, resources, counseling and care.

For a complete transcript and recommendations from a recent CPS forum, visit For a list of resources serving children, youth and families, and ways you can contribute and support these services, visit and

Holly Hulen, president
Christine Chisholm, vice president
Paula Stefani, secretary
Mary McKell, treasurer
Peggy Sheldon Scurlock, member at large

Executive Committee
Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth
Flagstaff, Ariz.

Native American history not in textbooks

There are more than 2 million Native Americans in the United States. By 2045, the Census Bureau estimates that the number will increase to approximately 4 million, continuing a growth trend that started back in 1850. The Native Americans had suffered the ravaging effects of disease and violent encounters with European white immigrants.

A hundred years ago, European white immigrants taught the young Native Americans to be ashamed of their language, culture, and their identity. Their parents were encouraged to assimilate into European white immigrant society and to forget about their Native languages, cultures, and identity. The white people taught the Native Americans that their Native language is evil and their culture is also evil. The Native Americans were told not to interfere with European-American progress and become "civilized." Generations of Native Americans were taught that their ancestors were barriers or obstructions to western expansion and Native Americans were savage killers of innocent white people.

Today, as a product of the awakening ethnic-pride Native American movements, many young Native Americans began to reclaim their Native language, culture, identity, and study their history. Young Native Americans discovered several realities. First, their tribal histories, in some cases, were incomplete or nonexistent. They also learned that the histories they did have were often taught from a non-Native American perspective. They learned of the horrors that their Native American ancestors endured since whites first stepped foot on their lands. Whites shot and killed many Native Americans for Native lands.

This newfound appreciation for their histories gave Native Americans a sense of pride in their Native language, Native culture, and Native identities. This knowledge also angered them. How can one not be enraged upon learning of the terrible tragedies, of massacres, Long Walk, Bennett Freeze, Relocation, BIA control of Native American allotted land, suffered by Native Americans' ancestors?

The question many young Native Americans asked was, "Why didn't we learn this history in school?"
Many white societies, in United States and around the world, have discovered an interest in and appreciation for Native Americans' language, Native culture, and Native identities. For example, the Navajo language is a very important part of Navajo identity, our Navajo language teaches us to think to love our families, and was used by the Navajo Code Talkers in World War II to win the war against the Japanese.

When many of the white societies become aware of the sad chronicle of events that Native Americans have suffered, they too, asked, "Why didn't we learn this history in school?"

The answer is obvious: We are all studying from the same textbook. These are books written by the dominant white society to tell mainstream history. The dominant white society ignored Native American history.

Edward J. Little Sr.
Tuba City, Ariz.

Disappointed in leaders

K'é, is one of the highest forms of respect in Diné society. I often wonder how our ancestors thought k'é would live on. I imagine that they never dreamed that it would be abused or taken for granted.

Its power lies in building community, trust and responsibility. Now, instead of our people protecting these concepts, our leaders are selling our communities and our future for the mighty dollar and use "k'é" to help achieve these ends. Respect is demanded but not reciprocated. They do us dirty and continue to do so unapologetically.

As a Navajo woman I am very disappointed in our leaders. They let their emotions rule when they are being challenged to think of things in multifaceted ways. Only women are gifted in that ability. Men focus on execution but right now it is causing them to make all the wrong decisions.

Because of the decisions our leaders have made our nation is in the midst of growing crises with no plan for reform. As women, it is OUR responsibility to ensure survival and sustainability which is why we have always been warriors of the home, community, and our land. But how do we as women defend our home when our men don't confide in us or work besides us as equal partners? How do we defend our land when our men have been seduced by corporations who comfortably keep our leaders in their back pockets?

We have to have a plan that will last 100 years, 1,000 years. We have to uphold the Creators law for it is the highest law. Instead we live in a society unchallenged by our men while they comply with white man's law which has no understanding, or respect for the sacred feminine embodied by our Mother Earth. These leaders teach us that they can change our laws to help them get away with embezzlement, you can change laws to take money from the Navajo Trust Fund, you can change the law to work in your favor but when we ask them to uphold the law for the land and the people they tell us we don't understand "business."

We must consider the impact on the seven generations ahead because our time is running out. We have to go back to the places where the wisdom is embedded and learned in the first place. We have to remember that we are a matrilineal society.

It is really heartening to see the women reclaiming their rightful place as leaders in the community. Here we are with an opportunity to do something right to protect the dignity of our people, decedents of great ancestors that did everything they could to ensure that us here and now, would still be able to live on our homeland. Now it is our time to come together as women and take a stand once again for clean water, clean air, food sovereignty, and healing for our people. We have a right to be heard.

Kimberly Smith
St. Michaels, Ariz.

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