Letters: Agree with Zah on endorsing Clinton
Hello, my name is Sterling Sonny Yazzie. I was born and raised in Shiprock, N.M. My clan is Near the Water People, born for Bitter Water. My grandpa on my mother’s side is Red House and my father’s side is Cliff Dwellers from the Ganado area. I’m currently imprisoned and fortunately, my cellmate obtains the Navajo Times each week.
When I was 10 or 11 years old I went to the Tuba City Fair in the mid-late 80s. I do recall at the time Peterson Zah was the Navajo Nation president then, and I do confirm with him about Hillary Clinton. I’m not into politics since I became a convict so I discontinue voting, but I would like to urge the Diné people to support Hillary Clinton by voting for her. She once proclaimed, “Democrats are the party of working people.”
Democratic programs regularly include key elements such as raising minimum wage, expanding aid to education, and there were historic changes, as well importantly on racial equality and civil rights.
“Our economy isn’t working the way it should because our democracy isn’t working the way it should.” Hillary Clinton stood as the most likely democratic successor to Obama after her term as Obama’s secretary of state. As a U.S. senator from New York, she served on the Armed Services Committee where she focused on expanding health benefits for veterans and their family as well as National Guard members and reservists.
Mrs. Clinton also wrote a law to supply grants to local and state governments to aid family caregivers. I presume that Hillary Clinton would pursue in her 100 days in office: Launching her infrastructure programs, investing in renewable energy, tightening regulations of health insurances and pharmaceutical companies, and expanding protection of voting rights, including immigration reform and raising the minimum wage.
Bill Clinton won the White House in 1992. In 1993, he became president of USA and in 1996, when I was 21 years old he visited the Navajo Nation in Shiprock. Then in 2000 it marked a clear comeback, electing to the presidency an African American pledged to securing universal health care. After the Great Recession, Barack Obama was elected. So let’s make history again. Since we have an African-American President, why not a female President? It might be great for the United States.
If Clinton succeeds Obama in the fall, her ambitious infrastructure plans would modernize the county’s failing bridges and roads, installing half a billion solar panels and creating 3.25 million new jobs.
Good luck to the voting Diné people and God bless.
Sterling S. Yazzie
(Hometown: Shiprock, N.M.)
‘$5 million for each chapter’ bad idea
I read this the other day (“5 million for each chapter,” Aug. 18) and felt I needed to respond to this letter written by Richard Peterson regarding Mr. Peterson’s proposal to give $5 million dollars to each chapter house from the $554 million settlement.
Although it may be tempting to just divide $554 million and spend it to support programs as Mr. Peterson suggests, highlighting our children needing money to go to college, veterans’ homes, or the elderly, the truth is, while these are noble suggestions, they are shortsighted and dangerous proposals for money we as a nation have waited for over 60 years.
The $554 million represents our suffering as a people. We are a people who suffered 500 years of warfare from the Spanish to the modern day ransacking of our people’s natural resources. The $554 million is nothing more than a token payment of the billions of dollars we lost as a people.
While it is true our people have been burned in the past by unsavory council delegates who only supported each other by ensuring only their relatives received money from discretionary funds, we have to believe that our current Navajo delegates and president are serving in our best interest.
Regardless of anyone’s beliefs, money is power and if we divide the money and spend it then we lose the power of this money and what it could bring for us. The safest thing to do with the money is to put it into the best interest-building bank we can find and put it away for the future of our people.
Giving money to our local chapter house will lead to fights on how the money is spent and there is potential for embezzlement.
If the Navajo people decide to spend the money we really need to think about what we are going to invest the money into. We have to be smarter than average bears and really analyze, sit down and think about our children’s future. We cannot afford to think about the present but also the future. Money does not grow on trees and no one hands out money. Once the money is spent, it is gone.
Sean A. Begaye
Fort Irwin, Calif.
Standing with Natives at Standing Rock
My heart is breaking over the recent events. The U.S. government doesn’t care. I am shocked at the government, but I probably should know better.
I am writing you because my late maternal grandmother Anna Mae Langford Leigh Clark had three Navajo foster children, Elsie, Paulina, and Les Johnson.
I knew Les. He was a few years older than me. We played together when I was in Southern Utah. I spoke with him in the ‘90s from my home in Boston, after I had left my phone with the Cedar City Navajo reservation center. Les had been known in Utah for getting over his alcoholism. (Navajo alcoholism is caused by White Man’s refusal to accept Navajos).
Because I knew Les personally, I am always pained when I read of how unfairly the U.S. government treats Native peoples.
The U.S. has not learned and does not care. The U.S. never cared.
I was in contact a few years ago with a sister of Les, Melanie Johnson, but I no longer have her current email.
About 10 years ago, I had emailed the editor of the Navajo Times to post a letter to the editor from me, asking if anybody knew Les Johnson of Cedar City, the foster son of Mae Leigh Clark of 200 West in Cedar.
That is when Melanie wrote me, sent me Les’ obituary.
I don’t have money to help at Standing Rock, and I am in Boston, so I am far away geographically, but the situation at Standing Rock is unconscionable.
I had reported in the ‘80s from my journalism program at Washington D.C, about the closing of the BIA Indian school in Bountiful, Utah, where Les had gone.
I am deeply shocked at the egregious and arrogant attitude of the U.S. government regarding Standing Rock.
Since I do not currently have any money to donate and Boston is a bit far, I am not sure if there is anything I can do to help directly regarding Standing Rock, but I wanted you to know you are not alone. Most definitely, you are not alone.
Some white people or perhaps many white people stand with you.
(Formerly of Salt Lake City, Utah.)
Smoke and dust too much at competition
In reflection of the 70th annual Navajo Nation Fair, I have words of constructive criticism for those who coordinate and are affiliated with the cultural showcase.
Many of the families in attendance made a daily journey to support their candidate of choice who competed for the esteemed title of Miss Navajo Nation 2016-2017. The cultural showcase was the finale for the weeklong competition of the eight young ladies’ talents and skills in both the contemporary and traditional competitions. It was with great anticipation that we traveled from afar to attend the coronation ceremony.
The Diné people’s health should be the first priority. The smoke and dust from the unpaved venue wouldn’t have been too much to endure if we were not sitting there for hours. The admission fees should cover decent restroom facilities and wheelchair accessibility. The highlight of the cultural showcase was to reveal the new Miss Navajo Nation, yet the contestants were not given the opportunity to properly introduce themselves or give words of appreciation to those who supported them on their journey throughout the week.
The announcers need to research the ladies, which means correctly pronouncing their names and introducing the correct communities that they represent. If we are encouraging our people to speak the language, the cultural showcase program needs to be bilingual, too.
Please take these recommendations into consideration for future events then we can promote our fair motto: “Let Us Come Together As One, Through K’e We Are Strong.”
Shawna A. Claw
Three Turkey Ruins, Ariz.
Don’t forget the ‘coal mine spill’
Senator John McCain and Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, leading contenders for U.S. Senate seat, are quick to commend the Navajo Nation lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for damages done to the Animas and San Juan River. This is good politics, a way to gain Navajo votes. Why are their voices silent on the Back Mesa “coal mine spill” that has been going on for close to 50 years under the Secretary of the Interior?
Why, for example, does the Office of Surface Mining not require Peabody Western Coal Co. to put up a Navajo aquifer groundwater reclamation plan and bond?
OSM is an agency under the Secretary of the Interior and sole regulator of Black Mesa mining. Secretary was quick to blame the Environmental Protection Agency for the gold mine spill, yet she is standing on the sidelines watching destruction of Black Mesa, which has been going on in slow motion for close to 50 years.
The world’s largest coal mining operation has ravaged the sacred homeland of the Hopi people whose ancestors settled in the area and who have been described by an elder as the footprints of our ancestors.
It is time to look into the Black Mesa “coal spill” and to take affirmative action to save the pristine sole-source water that belongs to the future generations of Hopi and Diné children before Peabody Energy closes shop and leaves Hopi and Diné people with a train wreck. Over 45 billion gallons of drinking water, stored in ancient aquifers, have been destroyed to date.