Letters: Change system to support new development
Social and economic conditions in our American society beginning at the federal level to the states, counties, cities and municipalities are based on and driven by laws, ordinances, rules and regulations developed and legislated by its citizenry.
Looking at other parts of the world, economically challenged dependent countries in particular, the social and economic conditions in these countries are sustained based on laws, ordinances and regulations developed by other countries.
Both in the U.S. and in other countries, the people, politicians and bureaucrats work hard daily to carry out these laws, but the end results are characterized by pareto-suboptimal economic outcomes, that is, there is the good life for a few at the expense of disenfranchising huge populations.
In many parts of the world this pareto-inefficient gap and conditions sustained by laws are far more pronounced in Third World countries. In these countries natural resources are often extracted and exported well below market value by predatory transnational corporations where recipient countries enjoy the immediate and long-term economic benefits.
Within our homeland, Native nations, reservations, using the pareto-optimality framework, the end result for us on Federal Reserve lands are not any different from economically challenged dependent countries and nation states. We see daily many faithful workers carrying out their duties to the economic benefit of the disproportionate few and the outside world.
The cobweb of laws in our own backyard, Navajo land, are clearly designed to sustain stagnant economic conditions where private sector business owners must fight through a quagmire of legal barriers just to keep their self-sufficiency let alone starting new businesses for more jobs for more people.
It is critical that if we wish to move beyond our socio-economic conditions, the laws, rules and regulations constraining private sector and job development be changed to support the new high-tech global economy, reshape extractive industries and promote market-friendly, business-friendly regulatory environment.
Politicians, bureaucrats and private sector developers can work together to improve the life of all our people and work toward conditions wherein no one can be well off without making others worse off. Our failure to do so only sustains our current conditions that increase the red flags of social and environmental costs, social-cost statistics, i.e., unemployment, crime, substance abuse, mineral royalty insolvency for infrastructure, roads, homes and on and on.
It is important that these red flags not labeled as social problems requiring a massive federal dollar infusion. Eliminating red flags begins in the home with family and dinner table conversations.
Corruption, theft, fraud, scandal, domestic violence, substance abuse and the spectrum of social-cost statistics aren’t the problems rather are symptoms of complete disharmony.
Long story short, we are well past time that we update our laws, rules and regulations developed over a century ago for a different time and different generation. There is much work to be done and our people are highly capable of doing the work if only given the opportunity and proper guidance, resources and tools (education).
Several letters to the Navajo Times that question why we have to live in this dependency on big brother instilled centuries ago should be given more thought. It is critical that we move beyond archaic laws so we don’t have to go to the same well over and over and over again until maybe the well runs dry (Permanent Trust, other adjudicated funds, UUFB, natural resources).
Legislative changes are taking place in other parts of the world to improve the life conditions of the indigenous peoples by, for and with indigenous peoples, with Native-owned companies and resources no less.
Developing and attaining an economic environment is possible with a wider distribution of economic benefits for our people. The old chidí now stalled at the stoplight should be removed so that our pathway can be cleared to update laws to promote business development and improve our conditions. There are many who feel we are well past time where we should be working to redefine sovereignty as the best place to live in America.
Harold G. Begay
To’ Nanees’ Dizi, Ariz.
I want to congratulate Cindy Yurth on her articles about the Navajo people. After years of reading many of your articles I find you are a very dedicated lady and to me it seems you have a wide range of area to report on.
I also read and kept up with the articles of the Navajo chapter houses. I was visiting New Mexico when Ervin Chavez had to go meet with Navajo Nation officials about Nageezi and I think also Chaco. He is a very interesting young man and I was very fortunate to have known him when he was 10 years old. I wish him and his family well.
I was at Lybrook in 1963 and served the Lybrook Navajo Mission which is now called Lybrook Community Ministries. I have visited there a few times over the years and I wish them well also.
Thanks for all you have done and keep up the good work. The Navajo people need you.
Citizens should take blame for whole mess
Like Mr. Vern Charleston (“Trump worst president in history,” Nov. 2, 2017), I agree the country is a mess. That dilemma, however, has little to do with President Trump, especially if we use “fake news” in making our well-intended assessment.
As citizens we should be taking the blame for the whole mess. We’ve voted for everything these past 75 years. Things in government don’t happen by themselves or overnight. In all those years there has been an ongoing political war, a real war of political thought, words and action. As in any war, truth was the first casualty.
Truth is no longer a virtue as everyone makes up their own truth, their truths being based on their feelings at the moment. We have lost the art of rational thought found in moral habits, values and principles. We’ve forgotten there are such things as right and wrong, good and evil, freedom and slavery.
There are, thankfully, eternal truths and laws available for making sound decisions in life. Among our Diné, they are known as fundamental law.
Don’t forget the truism “there is no such thing as a free lunch” — everything is paid for by someone. Thinking that the government pays for everything is wrong. The government has no money — it is citizens’ money and debt. A Diné baby today is accountable for over $60,000 of personal debt, which they are required to pay or face government punishment. What a legacy to leave our children and grandchildren, all for the want of free stuff.
Today our country, the United States of America, could refer to itself as the Divided States of America and the name would fit. As citizens we are divided on every issue under the sun: education, religion, gender, government policies and the environment. Divided? Yes, we are!
All that’s happening in the world can happen to our Diné. Too many Diné leaders are ignoring the possibilities. The fact that we are in the same boat with everyone else in this world matters little. This road to globalism really sucks.
Are we OK with a one-world government? Are we ready for a one-world religion or science? Are we ready to reduce world population, because there are too many people using up the resources?
These are some of the concerns of political thinkers, as they act on their agenda. As Diné we will be required to sacrifice everything for the greater good of democracy, collectivism and globalization.
Our Diné were given a great power by the Holy People. That power is “thinking.” Others in the world desire to take that power. It will be our individual choice to give them our last power, just like everything else we’ve allowed thus far.
What are we to do? For one thing we might pray for individual spiritual guidance. Another thing would be to question the news and do our own research.
Finding truth is our responsibility. Living by eternal truths is to “walk in beauty,” our greatest individual responsibility.
More on left-brain, right-brain thought
I am glad the article about Natives given the wrong test generated some discussion. The idea of left and right brain came from the left-brain world – one has merely to look it up. It’s basic knowledge of the brain and the result of many researches.
I’m sure the idea of relating it to culture such as “indigenous people are more right brain” is controversial and I expect left-brain dominant people to resist the idea because they require logic such as the scientific proof before acceptance.
The source of this concept, however, came from a right brain source. In the book “Mitakye Oyasin: We Are All Related,” by AC Ross, he writes of his experience when he was in the military in Germany and the interests the German people had in Native American culture. He is half Lakota Sioux and half white.
He returned to his Native roots and discovered the spiritual phenomena of his culture. He took part in their vision quest and Sundance. He had a vision. The book is about this vision.
He discovered the vision was essentially a right brain way of communication from the higher powers that may be. He experienced a spiritual phenomena, a message from the alternative state of mind, which in some circles is a definition of spirituality.
Thus he gained knowledge from a spiritual source rather than a scientific source (gained knowledge from right brain source rather than a left brain source). (This is how many Native ceremonies and rituals function.)
In other words the right brain functions to gain knowledge by processing intuition, holistic thinking, artistic activities, balancing energy, etc. Thank you for interest in the subject.
Window Rock, Ariz.
Exempt Natives from Arizona Civic Test
I am an adult educator who teaches and prepares students, young parents who have the need of a GED diploma certificate.
Many students are Navajo Indian descent. Many have taken social studies for two years in their high school credits.
Currently, when you take the GED testing, it is comprised of six subjects: math/applied and computation, science, social studies, language arts, and writing and reading. With the Arizona Civics Test it goes to seven tests for a GED.
To me, the Arizona Civics Test is mainly for the immigrants who come to this country to pass their citizenship tests. I wanted someone to write a bill to exempt Native Americans from taking the Arizona Civics Test. We should be exempt as we are natives of this country.
Also many GED students have taken social studies and have the knowledge of civics. So I come to you kindly to help our Native students’ exemption. We can provide a document of who are Natives by providing a blood quantum Certificate of Indian Blood.
Please plan for this, maybe just an addendum to the Arizona Civics Test bill that was passed in January 2017, to state that Native Americans will be exempt as Native American census number form is provided.
The Arizona State of Department Education does have the Arizona Civics Test posted on their website. As I stated that our GED candidates are young Navajo parents, it would be wonderful if our Arizona state can be a leader in providing this exemption.
Prevent prescription drug misuse
With the approaching holidays, many of us will have family and friends visiting our homes. With this increase of people coming in and out, it is good to have a reminder about the dangers of prescription drug misuse and the importance of locking up or safely securing our medications.
Use of prescription drugs by those who haven’t been prescribed the medications can be serious, even deadly. Some people steal the meds to sell to others, also possibly resulting in a serious medical condition or death. These actions are part of a national trend that is growing.
It is our responsibility to make sure that no one has access to our prescription drugs. The best way to secure our meds is to lock them in a lock box or cabinet. If that isn’t possible, keep them in a place where they can be observed easily. Keep an inventory of your medications so that you know how many you should have at all times.
If someone comes to visit, make sure that they also keep their prescription drugs in a central location, so that no one can go into their room or their luggage to take the drugs. Always keep purses and bags out of the reach of small children.
Let’s all try to keep prescription medications out of the wrong hands, so that we can help to stop the trend of prescription drug misuse.
Have a wonderful and safe holiday season.
San Juan County Partnership, Inc.
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