Letters: A wild dog that became a family friend

When I was 9 years old I was herding sheep in the woods in Pinedale, New Mexico, for my naali woman in Fallen Maple Canyon. I was carrying an old 22-rifle lever action Winchester like in the westerns, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” I fancied myself a gunslinger as I herded sheep and looked for coyotes that ate the sheep and lambs.

I came across a den of wild dogs and could hear them crying. I crawled into the den and took them all home. I fell in love with them all. When I got home my nali lady was mad. She wanted me to kill them all. She said they are wild dogs, no good, but I just couldn’t kill those little dogs, so I took them back to the den with my dad. He was upset, too, but when we were leaving he let me take one. I took the meanest one that bit my hand and drew blood.

That dog was very loyal and overprotective of the family. He saved my life many times, including one time when he took a rattlesnake bite when I was 10. That was a big rattler at seven feet long with a rattle that was as big as a corncob.

He was a great hunting dog who would wait for the birds or rabbit to be flushed and would wait for the shot before getting the game. He loved riding on the motorcycle and would ride on the tank. He was a part of the family for so long.

Then one night at my mom’s house, a mountain lion came down from the hills and they fought it out right behind the house. He was injured and soon got sick. He started shaking, couldn’t eat, and was getting real mean.

My dad told me he was suffering and have put him down. I remembered that day I picked him up off the ground and took him on the motorcycle for the last ride up the mountain. He knew what was happening. When we got to the place I just held him and he looked at me. I said, I love vajata, and put him down. I held him in my arms until my little brother had to take him away from me and bury him.

I cried for like two years every day. My heart was broken. My loyal friend who had saved my life so many times as a child was gone, and yes, it still hurts to this day. That was a wild dog. That was my dog. We were both wild. Maybe that’s why we got along so well.

Richard Anderson Jr.
Gallup, N.M.

Diné are left holding empty bag

Election time again and politicians are coming out of the woodwork. All promising a better and brighter tomorrow and we are all placing our bets or anteing up to play their zero game.

We cast our votes like dice and in four years conditions can be far worse than now. It’s a gamble. The way politicians play these zero games they walk away smiling, unscathed, and completely unaccountable.

Our Diné are too trusting and believe anything Diné politicians have to say. Our standards of casting our vote always seem to elect the worst of the litter. Like shooting ourselves in the foot every four years.

It is a fact that the Diné Nation has many problems and more will develop in the days ahead. We could also add that our problems exist because of all the laws, rules, regulations, and overreaching policies we are forced to live by. That, too, is a fact.

We could further state that all our problems can be blamed on the politicians who are the lawmakers, but that would be only partly true. As voters we elected them but are unwilling to share the blame for our poor candidate selection and voting choices when they start stinking up the place.

Someone once said that you could go to any phone book and point at a name while blindfolded and your selection would be better than those out campaigning for votes. There is wisdom in those words. Unfortunately, election laws made by politicians guard against such wisdom.

No matter how the election zero game is played out, our Diné are the ones left holding an empty bag in these zero games. We have no economy, no land ownership, no unity or leadership, no brighter tomorrow, and basically no money to fund our social programs and our free stuff wish list.

We elect the same politicians, somehow hoping for something different and better. Those politicians are people who may have some knowledge, but lack wisdom of the real world. They have no idea where the world is headed, or more frightening, the dangerous course our Diné Nation is on.

All politicians have their agendas and it is their nature to lead from behind closed doors as they beg and scheme for the Washington tax handout. Our leaders don’t know the difference between something done for you and having something done to you. Sooner or later Washington is going to want some return favors and all our Diné have left to give up are our lives and our natural resources.

In these zero games, all our natural resources and our vote are the bargaining chips for the games politicians play. An example here is the end of the fossil fuel boom (coal) and going green (renewable energy).

Green energy requires an online generating system (power plants) and the only remaining option is nuclear power plants. Such plants are fueled by plutonium, the most valuable element in the world, which is extracted from uranium.

Fifty-three percent of all uranium reserves in the United States are on Indian lands and the remaining 47 percent are on lands adjacent to or near Indian lands, which includes the Bears Ears land that has several uranium mines. Some California mining companies have recently filed claims to begin operations there. These are sneaky devils making their move. Do any hopefuls know of this?

We always have choices. So, it comes down to electing leaders who are willing to protect our interest, individual lives and rights, and lead by wisdom, sacrifice, and example. One who is willing to get us out of these zero games of political corruption and the swindling of our Diné.

Wally Brown
Page, Ariz.

One candidate is in violation of the code

This letter is to inform the Navajo people that no candidate should be running in an election in violation of the law.

On May 31, 2018, one candidate has filed as a presidential candidate and is running in violation of the Navajo Nation Code. Under the code, the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors are required to administer, implement, and enforce the Navajo Election Code.

The code provides that the number of terms a person may hold a Navajo elective office is unlimited, “except as otherwise provided by law.” There are some provisions throughout the code that place term limits on elective offices. With respect to the Navajo president, the code is clear: “The president shall serve no more than two terms.”

Unlike other code provisions, such as those governing a candidate’s qualifications for office, the provision limiting the number of terms a president may serve is absolute and cannot be waived and must be enforced by the board.

For the 2018 election, board action is necessary to apply the law to protect the voting rights of the people.

Former two-term president Joe Shirley Jr. has filed to run of a third term as Navajo president. Shirley has previously held the office for two consecutive, four-year terms, 2003-07 and 2007-11. The code prohibits Shirley from holding a third term regardless if he sat out for one or more terms. The law is clear that a person may not serve more than two terms, and it is not limited to only restricting a person from serving more than two consecutive terms.

In the past, the former chief justice decided that this provision only prohibits more than two consecutive terms in office. His interpretations of the code ruled even though it was never explained that he ever passed a state law examination for his license.

Also, a three-judge panel of the Navajo Nation Supreme Court is law, and only one chief justice controlled the 2014-15 election.

The plain language of the code does not say anything about consecutive terms. It clearly prohibits a person from serving more than two terms as president. The law is unambiguous and is not open to interpretation. By the canons of statutory construction that is recognized by decades of Navajo Supreme Court precedent, the plain language of a statute cannot and should not be re-written by the judiciary.

Thus, the plain two-term statutory language is the law and must be enforced by the board and the Navajo Nation. In this case, Shirley should be removed from the ballot for the Primary Election on Aug. 28 presidential election and all candidates should abide by the Navajo Nation Code.

Further, the people have a right to learn about and choose leaders of their choice. If you have any questions, please call me at 505-879-0106 or email me at dinewireman@gmail.com. I thank you for your time and attention.

Eugene G. Atcitty
Window Rock, Ariz.

This comment just suddenly came to me and inspired me to comment on the New Year of 2018.

I am a little late in wishing everyone a Happy New Year! We are into the New Year three months already and, to me, the future looks very gloomy. The administration of our governments is questionable and if our governments will resolve all this turmoil that is happening from day to day. With this disruption, we will soon be fighting each other. These uncontrollable shootings will have to cease some time.

Following is only conclusion and opinion that the turmoil is happening because the people in the world are beginning to disobey the laws given to us, for peace, by our Creator and God. I think the main culprit is the uncontrolled use and abuse of drugs and alcohol and, in desperation for money, this leads to killing, robbery, and shootings.

I am a Hopi Reservation Native and I believe in Hopi prophecy that was given to us by our elders. Hopi practices secular laws of our Creator and prophecy states, if this obedience does occur and people in the world disobey the Gods, there will be retaliation and it will show a sign of destruction by means of “tornadoes, flooding, earthquakes, wild forest fires, and famine” will come upon us.

With this turmoil and disruption, Hopi elders believe there will be another world war. Some of these signs are happening already, today.

I just hope and pray that peace will soon come and encourage people in this world to “wake up” and start resolving these serious problems. Goodness will come upon us.

To add to that, we, in Hopi, elected a chairman and vice chairman recently. I am hoping there will be some kind of improvements. There is only one problem. Hopi has very limited resources and money. All improvements take money.

We have health care that is barely surviving. I think there are only two doctors left. Forget the ER, service that is poor. Our Hopi newspaper and radio are also barely operating. Again, I hope that all the problems will be resolved.

Wishing you all a bountiful and happy future.

Ernest Nahnacassia
Hotevilla, Ariz.


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Categories: Letters