We need fresh blood in office

WINDOW ROCK, March 20, 2014

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This letter is to bring to view that what is happening in Window Rock is a travesty, because the issues being brought to light have put our very people in a bad light.

I believe as a young individual living among the Navajo Nation that these problems will not go away. Time has come for the people to stand up and vote in individuals who have no background in politics. Yes, this may be a very risky move, yet if this is done I believe that we won't have to deal with the embarrassment we have faced lately.

The current politicians in Window Rock need to step down! This may be harsh to hear coming from someone so young, but it has to be said because their actions as of late have tarnished the philosophy our ancestors fought so hard for their future generations to have and possess.

Time has come for us all to realize that our actions and our disregard for K'e is simply ruining our way of life. I have heard from elders that when our first tribal councilman, Chee Dodge, was leaving office, he stated, "Two terms is all you need to be in the public eye. That's it, there really is no point in continuing on for a third term, because if this comes to be, people will begin to disrespect the position they are given."

I truly believe he had an excellent point, because it is shown clear as day with our current Council and presidents. For they have disrespected their leadership by condoning deceitfulness and thievery in their current positions.

Joe Shirley Jr. does not need to run for another term. He accomplished what he could in your two terms as Navajo Nation president. It is power that I believe that embellishes him to run again.

In my time of observing the outcomes of Window Rock and the leaders that have passed through, those two, along with current President Shelly and Vice President Jim, are all the thorns in our sides.

They have all been presented in negative lights, yet in one form or another, they have been cleared, but they should all know that coming forward and accepting the punishment and acknowledging the wrongs that they will be at the mercy of the people. Rather than just hide behind a law of "innocent until proven guilty."

In my eyes, that is the Western society's law. The laws passed down from our ancestor's trumps the laws of Western societies. If you do not follow your own culture or traditions then why waste your breath wondering why today's youth are forgetting theirs. Right at this very moment, they are condoning that greed, power, thievery, and deceitfulness is the way to prosper in today's society.

Now it is time for us to get some fresh blood in office, someone who isn't just a friend or relative of ours who should be in office.

I see people go and vote for these individuals and later complain they were the wrong choice, so this time around do not make the mistakes that has put us all in a negative light from what these leaders have put us in and we need new leadership, not just someone who's popular with every one of us.

Lastly, the ones running for office cannot exude the same tactics the ones before them expressed. They cannot let the people down by doing the same mistakes the ones before you did.

Jay Ross Slivers
Lukachukai, Ariz.

We have created a labyrinth

Some of your recent articles and comments are of interest and brings out the cynical side of me.

If we know better how to run our government without a "true form" somewhere in the shadow haze of a code or constitution, which would be more true to its form.

Take your pick, I don't know. That is how steep our problem is, responsibility without accountability. It's not defined as quoted by attorneys and our courts. It will remain so if we accept it or we can change it.

We created a labyrinth and it seems evident it is not serving the people well, which brings to mind a word -- aberration. Aberration means "a crooked line, to wandering or make errors" such as a normal or sane person thinks, looks and sees in a straight line like from point A to point B.

A person that doesn't know or thinks he knows will go from point A and wander perhaps to point C or another point before getting to point B. Our politicians are not on the straight and narrow by allowing themselves to walk through the maze wall as they see fit. They don't seem to understand what they write. And are above the law?

Consider aberration in a passive way like everyday business. An important letter was to have been mailed yesterday per your instruction, but it's still on your secretary's desk today. The secretary had heard in a casual conversation with friends the post office was closed. It seemed true enough and mailing that letter didn't seem important.

Now consider aberration in a forceful way. Other actions will be involved. A person looks, then an opposing force to him pushes him aside to distract him. But the really sane, forceful person looks right on through and past the opposition and sees what is there anyway. He actually knows what needs to be done; the importance is never lost which is called confronting to get it done.

The forceful way gets really ugly. A person really carries a lot in his head, accumulated in a vast complexity solely because he would not face something he was responsible for. When problems are not confronted, a chain sets itself up which will lead to total complexity and total unreality.

Like council delegates/lawmakers not following policy and procedures to having no internal controls to misappropriations of slush funds to hearings and appeals court with incumbents having the same charges hanging over them, to keeping things behind closed doors in secrecy buying a worn out coal mine with our sovereignty used as a concession.

Other complexities are pending issues, yet meeting deadlines, revisions, more reforms, pressures and still have time to appease constituents asking, "What's going on!" "What are you going to do about it?"

The total unreality about all of this is that people will show their displeasures in many ways, such as civil disobedience of drawing a crowd of demonstrators if you continue to bow to outside pressure lobbyists. But the most powerful one is by voting you out of offices. That is why you have been reduced to 24.

Teddy Begay
Kayenta, Ariz.

Government, tribe creating a place of hostility

I, Winnie Henry, born, raised, and lived in the Canyon de Chelly National Monument, would like to express myself with complete compassion and sadness that it has crippled me emotionally to say that the governmental and tribal entities are currently undermining us canyon residents by creating a place of hostility and unsure certainty of our future.

I treasure the moments I remember growing up peacefully and spiritually in the canyon. I reflect constantly the times when my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents taught us how the ways of life was lived in the canyon, farming and harvesting their food and grazing their flocks of sheep. My parents collected wild plants for food and medicine. Mom and I collected natural dyes for wool used for weaving.

I want you to know that Canyon de Chelly is our place of spirituality, survival, protection, and livelihood. To me, Canyon de Chelly is not only beautiful, it holds the very sacred meaning to us inhabitants as our holy land, ancestral land, and our home.

We, as canyon residents highly respect the canyon. As we are part of a link from our past generation to the next, I want our family ties to continue to be strong and not be misled, threatened or controlled.

I was born in the canyon more than 60 years ago. I have seen too many changes. From damaging erosions that have claimed 30 feet of soil, making irrigation difficult, to lack of continuous water flow, but we still try our best to take care of our orchards and crops.

I see our home as a place of constant experiments and research studies where I have observed negative results such as the beaver elimination, immense drought, burial disturbances, and a steady growth of invasive plant species. I wish it were how it was before.

I remember the canyon people gathering together with their horses, donkeys and wagons to help build a hogan, roads and cornfields. There was never a time when our people would say, "Pay me first!" The roads were always maintained and cleaned. We cared and helped each other. I wish it were how it was before.

It is a shame that we have evolved into a society that meets only one's wants and not the needs of a community. It is a shame that we have evolved into a people who take from the canyon rather than to give.

There are so many fiction stories about the canyon that are told to the visitors just to make a buck. It is an unbelievable feeling when you have actually been born, raised and lived in Canyon de Chelly. It sure hurts to see, hear and witness the abuse the canyon receives.

Our canyon cries for the past. I wish it were how it was before. Please help us pray for our canyon, our home and our people to live peacefully and spiritually.

Winnie C. Henry
Chinle, Ariz.

Sad that N.M. failed to OK gaming compact

First the usual disclaimer - the views expressed in this letter are my personal views and not those of any past or present client or employer.

It is sad that the New Mexico Senate failed to approve the new Navajo Gaming Compact. Certainly Karis Begaye, lawyer of the Navajo Nation Department of Justice, and Council Delegate LoRenzo Bates did everything they could to develop and advocate for a compact, which was fair to all concerned.

It is sad that Navajos have never had leadership positions in the New Mexico Legislature (or the Arizona Legislature for that matter), but even if Navajos were in the leadership that might not have been enough given Pueblo opposition and the jealousy which marks so many of the relationships between Indian nations. Perhaps the Navajo Nations and Laguna Pueblo could take a lesson from the Isleta-Seminole (Hard Rock) partnership.

Rather than competing over casinos in the I-40 corridor, perhaps the Navajo Nation and Laguna Pueblo could work cooperatively on a "Super Casino" which would bring more revenue and profits than two or more competing casinos.

If the Navajo Nation and the Pueblos can work cooperatively, they can certainly accomplish more than they can by fighting against one another. (The Navajo Nation Zuni Pueblo accord on Fort Wingate certainly shows that such cooperation is possible.)

Lawrence A. Ruzow
Flagstaff, Ariz.

Stray, abandoned dogs face horrible conditions

Ever since I was a kid, I've always had a closer connection to animals than humans. Dogs are my favorite animals. It always infuriates me whenever I go back to the reservation and see all the strays and abandoned dogs roaming the rez in horrible conditions. Really, how can people not care and be so heartless?

There are dogs that are breeding rampantly across the rez because people cannot be responsible dog owners and fix their animals, and because of the irresponsibility the animals have to suffer due to careless people.

A lot of the dogs I've seen across the rez are usually malnourished, starved, injured, have coarse fur, and look miserable. Shame on Navajos who cannot be responsible dog caretakers. I hope the karma returns to those who practice dogfights, abuse dogs, abandon dogs, starve dogs and mistreat dogs.

I quite frequently read and hear about how Navajo Nation should live traditional morals, values and actions in life. Yet, the animals do not get the respect and love they deserve. Are not Navajos supposed to live in harmony with the earth and the animal kingdom?

From my understanding, within the context of the Navajo Creation Story and Beliefs, animals play an integral part of Navajo existence. It seems harmony with the earth and animals has become more of an occasional spiritual belief, than walking-the-walk and being spiritually inclined through good deeds and lifestyle.

Furthermore, there are animals on the Navajo flag and on the seal. If Navajos don't want to respect the animals, then the tribe should take the animals off the Navajo flag and seal and never own an animal, including livestock.

I applaud the veterinary clinics that are on the reservation that provide reduced priced spay/neuter clinics.

I went to Navajo Technical University last month and took a tour of their veterinary program and was very pleased to see the work the department has been doing to help Navajo livestock and pets through first-class research and fieldwork. I saw how NTU Veterinary Tech program was rescuing dogs and getting them fixed. I truly admire and appreciate their service and hard work to protect the animals throughout the Navajo Nation.

I thank all the Navajos who do care for their animals and take care of them responsibly. I especially would like to thank all our Navajo dog owners who have rescued dogs and rehabilitated them. Ahehee!

It's my dream to see a Navajo Humane Society and more dog rescues on the reservation. I wish the Navajo government would allocate more funds to help dogs by implementing funds and programs for dogs, rather than wasting Navajo money on casinos, plants and other wasteful expenses.

A happy dog should have a safe lifelong home, clean food, clean water, and good interaction with their owners. They should not be on a chain all day outside. They should not just be left outside in extreme hot and cold temperatures. Dogs deserve the best of all animals because they bring out the best in people.

I've seen dead dogs along roads because they run wildly looking for food since they are starving. People are the cause for the dog overpopulation by being irresponsible. People are also the answer to clean up the increased populations by fixing their dogs.

I hope this letter can revive the human soul and get people to be more proactive with dogs by saving them and giving them a second chance. Who knows, maybe a dog might be a light and give somebody a second chance at a happy life. Thanks for reading my letter.

Adrian Hedding
Phoenix, Ariz.

Conspiracy has people worried

According to the article "DOJ: Council members are innocent until proven guilty" published in the Navajo Times, more than half of the Navajo Council delegates are facing charges due to misuse of power. This conspiracy has a lot of the Navajo people worried.

Department of Justice Deputy Attorney General Dana Bobroff further explained that the charges do not require immediate actions. Council delegates are only being charged and not convicted, so until proven guilty are to remain in office. When delegates are thought to be in breach of fiduciary duties, the Navajo people can then put them on administrative leave with pay.

I disagree with Bobroff's view of appropriate action on charges of Council delegates. I agree with Shiprock Chapter House President Duane Yazzie's statement, "It does not matter how many charges they have, as even just one charge is a serious breach of fiduciary trust."

Yazzie addresses the issue of Navajo Nation Code not defining as what a serious breach of fiduciary trust is. To our Council delegates I say Nihik'ei hanii aden, meaning have you lost respect for our elders, family, friends, and voters by dishonoring the people who voted you into office? What happened to the respect and teachings the elders taught you that you must resort to such behavior?

We need to set an example by leading with what we were taught and learned from our elders. We must restore honor, control, and harmony to the tribal Council for the people, the younger generation, and our leaders of tomorrow.

As a nation, let's get together and find the right people to represent us. Nowadays it's not what you know, but who you know.

We need to get away from our old habits and build a new nation that's financially stable and stronger. We need to set the standards higher for our Navajo tribal delegates. It takes all of us as Navajo people to be a great nation.

We need people who are willing to help the Navajo Nation to succeed. Let's get away from voting for people that won't help us succeed in our endeavor to build a stronger nation.

Alicia Uentilllie
Lukachukai, Ariz.

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