Letters | Be realistic about your objectives
To all the candidates and political leaders running for elected office, please be realistic on objectives. You can vision but understand much of what you will propose is all but semantics.
Propose a plan, period. It is time for the Navajo Nation to have a mid-range to long-range plan. There are no plans, at least most of us, the public, are not aware of any mid- to long-range plans.
There is coordinated four-year expectations, but do these political ideas really come to fruition? Statistically, they do not.
Be visionary, be realistic that an idea, a proposal to develop into Navajo Nation legislation will take more than four years in our bureaucratic process. If you appoint individuals not familiar with our current bureaucratic procedures, it will take that individual two-plus years to acquaint themselves. Then their term is over.
Let’s have shovel-ready plans ready. More than eight years ago, I noticed signs, yellow background with black letters posted, asking for “jobs” on the Navajo Nation. Has there been an infusion of economic development – more employment, more business?
We need individuals to be active leaders in their chapters, not just an elected leader. Most of all, get young people to chapter/community meetings. Inspire their involvement in our government.
There are so many statements to be made but generation after generation, the accomplishments, the mistakes. Develop a plan, get the Navajo Nation divisions to work together continuously. Much can be agreed to if they worked better together.
Invest in our people. Western education is good, however, training and the experienced ways we need to tap into.
We are all leaders. Most are not elected but complaining about our community is a start.
Let’s all start by picking up that trash, cleaning up our signs, graffiti, start an effort formally or informally. Let’s all believe and we can move more forward if we work together better. Ahe’hee’
Orlando D. Bowman
Fort Defiance/Window Rock
Lukachukai school denies due process
In relation to funding Bureau of Indian Education grant school priorities, it takes away the “inherent meaning” of Native American education. It means proponents are struggling to maintain “competitive” high academic standards and remain consistent with elements of transparency and accountability throughout its education systems on Navajo.
Quite frankly, it is out of the ordinary but predictable in relation to what has transpired at Lukachukai Community School.
Please allow me to express an urgent, ongoing situation at our local grant school. Candidly, it did not have to happen. All administrative remedies have not been exhausted, otherwise there would have been a resolution between all parties.
It is apparent the school board is not allowing due process to occur because there is a stalemate, meaning a standoff, between the administration and certified teachers and non-classified employees.
No, it is not about disgruntled employees. If not resolved, it becomes a scapegoat tactic.
Now I presume former K-8 teachers and classified staff can reapply for their previous positions. It has always been a Diné time-honored practice, in songs and prayers recited so that our children will maintain long-term employment to keep food on the table for their children and to pay recurring bills.
Many families are already seeing economic pain. You cannot play around with the daily pressures impacting families who are pursuing desired economic stability. The costs-of-living are sky-rocketing.
Based on common sense, the school policy will set a precedent, which will allow the high turnover rate of K-8 teachers and classified employees to continue every year.
It is our children and grandchildren who get emotionally and mentally impacted. This means their cultural, spiritual, social, and intellectual development become distracted, undermined and diminished.
If this is happening at Lukachukai Community School, it must be occurring at other Navajo schools as well.
So, this suggests a law of common sense. This means the current school principal is not allowing due process to occur, which means, the teachers are not given this rightful leverage to voice valid concerns, even if they submit a concern in writing, in good faith, to the school principal. This further suggests they are simply ignored or not considered important.
I am writing as a lifetime Lukachukai resident, a voting constituent, a retired educator but still a stakeholder – I still care and have a vested and best interest in the outcome of our children’s education at this school that has a unique and historical legacy.
So, as a concerned person, it has become necessary to bring to light a situation where a cadre of professional people had their employment contracts expire with no explanation as stipulated in the school policy guidelines.
The school policy states: “Because nonrenewal is neither a disciplinary action under Navajo law, the decision to not renew a contract of an employee by LCBE Inc. is final and not subject to an appeal or grievance.”
There is a subtle, hidden element in the phrase. So, this policy begs the question: Does this policy override any actions taken by employees without any due process or recourse?
I thought certified teachers were hired based on their sense of professionalism (before school starts) and thus premised on “demonstrated performance.” Does this practice allow for a tactical “weeding out” process?
Does this policy allow a school principal to create an unhealthy environment of “adverse actions” imposed on employees and the board remains protective of these actions?
Interestingly, I understand the board did not approve “resignation” of the acting principal at their last meeting. If this is the case, the current board should reconsider and reinstate K-8 teachers and classified employees. Why is the principal getting special treatment?
Where is the demonstrated performance of the school principal? Not the questionable cash payouts nor the dissention and unnecessary polarization she has created between the board, administration, school employees and affected community stakeholders.
Furthermore, this policy does not resonate with the ethical principles of Navajo fundamental law. This means it does not support the inherent rights of LCBE employees
The idea is to encourage hard-working teachers and classified employees. They deserve recognition and are a vital and integral part of the community school. They are, essentially, the soul and heartbeat of the school.
So now, the “reauthorization” of LCBE Inc. is at stake. I am rendering recommendations for corrective actions through a school improvement plan with all “open session” stakeholders at play. This would set the proper parameters for a school community to work together to serve in the best interest and to benefit children attending LCS.
Our school deserves a well-rounded leadership that is professional, candid, dignified, and follows fundamental principles including K’e, coming from our ancestral past.
Anthony Lee Sr.
No public info about Kayenta shootings
This week I decided to write this letter with concerns about public safety and communication to the community.
For most, you are not aware that there were three shootings in Kayenta during the Memorial Day weekend. No communications were made to the community from the Kayenta Police Department or from elected leadership.
To the residents of Kayenta: We have a problem.
There were three shootings in three separate locations around the town (behind Monument Valley Inn, Kayenta NHA and Wetherill Heights). One person was killed and one other person was wounded. To my understanding, the incidents were drug related.
I tried obtaining information from the Navajo Nation law enforcement but no one was talking. I was shuffled around with no response and provided a fake email address to the police department.
The community is unaware and still unaware if the shooter was apprehended or still at large. This makes the community an unsafe one.
I am raising the issue with hopes that our leadership will provide the community with an update and to provide residents with assurances that safety remains the top priority.
Given that someone’s life was taken should prompt law enforcement officials to update the community or that the media would shine a light on it.
I do not want our communities to be held hostage by drug dealers and bootleggers. Law-abiding citizens have a right to live without fear from those that commit illegal activities.
If home-site leases are involved then we need to expedite the process to remove the lease and remove the violators. If NHA homeowners are involved then they should be given their exit orders.
I write this letter with hopes that the safety of our Navajo communities is the top priority for our law enforcement and elected officials. Communication with the residents is important.
It is time for Kayenta to fund their own police department, their own judges and prosecutors. We have the resources. Public safety needs to be a priority.
Not saying anything just sends the wrong message. Not doing anything is even worse.
‘I will never stop dreaming…’
I thank the Northern Agency Veteran’s Organization Elouise Brown and Vern Lee for the outstanding San Juan Navajo Nation presidential candidate political forum.
One-on-one, asking direct, critical and informative questions regarding very important issues that plague our precious Navajo peoples’ success and great integral opportunities.
I will never stop dreaming for big miracles, proactively engaging and promoting the betterment of sending a loud and clear message of strength and healing.
My awareness campaign of focus is primarily on the enormous fight against the giant pharmaceutical Industries has begun starting with the Navajo Nation.
Thank you to the many sincere, heartfelt condolences and understanding as a mother’s challenge of my personal tragic demise of my sweet daughter, Cynthia G. Walker, will not go in vain.
I firmly practice and believe “love thy neighbor as thyself,” helping those who cannot speak or help themselves.
A veteran Iraqi war hero described the horrific addiction to prescribed pain medication that resulted in two overdoses. The young life and tour-of-duty fighting and protecting my freedom to vote. Navajo families are dealing with day-to-day combat of civilian war on fentanyl, opioids, and alcohol.
I will draw awareness by pledging to walk from Church Rock, New Mexico, to our Navajo Nation’s tribal capital in one year and to our New Mexico state capital with support of concerned Navajo chapter resolutions to address and create New Mexico legislation for a federal mandate to cap the pharmaceutical companies. (A David and Goliath scenario.)
To date 500 -plus Native tribes have successfully sued four major pharmaceuticals companies for millions of dollars, including the Navajo Nation. I plead with the Navajo Human Resource Department to hold a public forum of how effective the money will be spent to help our Navajo people.
In closing, I was informed of the different political platforms of correctly addressing the epidemic that we are losing our youth to every single day and becoming addicted to this wicked problem. The chronic alcohol abuse “we need help.”
Church Rock, N.M.