Thursday, June 13, 2024

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Letters: Belittled, ridiculed at Burnham Chapter

I am writing you this letter with the hopes that the Navajo community can reach out to the tribal leaders. It has been a tough challenge dealing with immediate family tribal workers at the Burnham (T’iis Tsoh Sikaad) Chapter, which has left me extremely disappointed in their disingenuous service. It is time to expose the general public to what is happening at our local chapter house.

For several months, I have been belittled and laughed at by the tribal workers. I have seen and heard voices from the local community members of Burnham Chapter.

The following is a list of problems I have experienced from “public servants” of the Burnham Chapter House. The office clerk of Burnham Chapter, her husband was PEP supervisor. He took an elderly couple’s new materials and replaced them with used materials. This consisted of a used door, plywood, window, etc. Their bathtub started sinking into the ground and their bathroom was too small even though they were elders.

Former chapter manager, Juanita Dennison, re-ordered materials and had to have their bathroom fixed to accommodate their age. This former worker did not get along with the current office clerk. Dennison is a great witness to inquire with further.

The chapter president takes the effort to extend the water line for only immediate family members. Burnham Chapter has made no effort to, or even communicate, why my brother cannot have access to clean water in the Bisti region.

Furthermore, Chapter President Perry Begay wants to re-route the water line around him and re-direct it to other family members while the rest of the community is left without access. There are only about nine homes with an official home-site lease, which only my brother has, yet he is still forced to find his own water rather than having access.

A current local community member has witnessed a recall, which was a long process. Former president, Lester Begay, actually did his job and fired the current maintenance operator and another office worker, which made it impossible for her to get water funded by the chapter house. However, Begay helped her and her family get a water container. Immediate family members working in the chapter house caused a fiasco and belittled her. Burnham Chapter is not transparent.

My brother has tried to ask the Office Manager, Gloria Redhouse, about the progress on the water line. My brother is currently on the Light Up Navajo Nation and is afraid Begay is blocking work on the electric and water line. My brother is worried about how Burnham Chapter personnel are wicked. Elected officials that are reported to Ethics and Rules fail to achieve anything.

Current community members have repeatedly reported problems to Ethics and Rules about the tribal workers. Navajo Nation Ethics and Rules does not do anything to protect the community. Burnham Chapter needs a nice reliable president, who has integrity, and shows true honesty to the general population. Burnham Chapter has no respect for the community.

You have to get ugly with them before getting any assistance. I have personally witnessed this with my aunt and brother, as well as myself. These chapter tribal workers are crooks. With my experience in building and getting assistance from the chapter house, I currently am dealing with a massive headache.

I’m not even sure how it’s going to go with my bathroom addition.

Marilyn Zhao
Rowland Heights, Calif.

Democrats have not done a thing for Diné

Let’s put aside the coronavirus hysteria and remind Navajo readers that the first minority vice president was Charles Curtis, whose mother was a Kansa Indian. Curtis was also a Republican like my grandparents. Let’s look at another first, fellow Arizonan, Sandra Day O’Connor, who was the first woman justice and also a GOP voter.

As we approach the Arizona primary, it’s time we people in the country take stock of all the “city talk” and ask, “What good has it done for us?” Currently, Democrats would have Navajo believe that they own race and gender, but as we see in the first paragraph, that’s not the case.

Our First District Congressman, Tom O’Halleran, is a transplant from the violent city of Chicago, who has sought to change Sedona, even as he seeks to change Arizona into a Chicago-esque debacle too.

NNPD struggles to combat shortages on the Navajo, but the force can’t seem to get enough federal funding from O’Halleran to man proper police outposts on the graveyard shifts and jails this side of Shiprock.

In O’Halleran’s four years, his party successfully shut down northeastern Arizona’s and Northwestern New Mexico’s functional coal industry. At least 25 remote Arizona municipalities and numerous tribes, including our own, and some number of counties and their families lost incomes they’d come to depend on.

He also heralded the partisan investigation into staged government corruption by allowing the Pelosi mob to “throw out the law book”.

O’Halleran and his fellows were never held to account when Democrat Senator Sinema doubled down by insisting that in spite of all of the proof that Democrats tried to fix the outcome (like they fixed the 2016 primary), they still sought to sell the story that “some sinister conspiracy was afoot by everyone else” but themselves.

Democrats have lost credibility with their continued immigration flood into Native lands. Add to it, their failed impeachment. It is time independent and like-minded “do-it-yourself” Navajos take stock. In light of the kickbacks the whole Biden family seems to not be sending over to our hogans after enriching themselves.

O’Halleran’s Democratic Party is responsible for much that ails Indian country, even as the party continues to undervalue Navajo votes locally. The tribe’s communities still have much to lose under a Biden presidency.

Poverty has again headed up under Navajoland’s “green no deal” as people lose wages in exchange for a Democrat-led ban on minerals collection and mining and on how many dogs a person can own. Still no apartment projects for young couples and single people, nor jobs, but we surely have electricity for that one abandoned hogan 30 miles from the road.

As Navajos who just lost work at Kayenta’s schools, shops, and yes, its mine, ask, “What now?” O’Halleran’s party is demanding we shut down natural gas and oil shale collection. Will they come for your woodstove next? Your petrol-fueled truck?

Joe Biden had his day in the sun. We haven’t even begun discussing Hunter. This week, Joe Biden’s voters are scratching their heads at whether to take Joe Biden’s endorsement of Donald Trump for 2020 seriously, “to re-elect Trump to save the country.” My advice is you should.

(Editor’s note: Biden’s supposed endorsement of Trump, retweeted by the President, was found to be a dishonestly edited video clip that cuts off before the full statement. His full speech can be found on several news websites.)

Stuart Nathan Shorty
Ganado, Ariz.

Incremental changes won’t save us

If there was any word that could describe 2019, I think “chaotic” would be suitable enough. Twenty-four hours, seven days a week on cable news and the internet we were blasted by news of the many amoral dealings of the Trump administration, culminating in a move to impeach him, which ended predictably for anyone who was actually paying attention.

As long as the Senate and federal judiciary were dominated by Republicans, the president is Teflon. So with the failure of their impeachment, Democrats in the House and Senate then had to fall back on their only move left, which is to win the 2020 presidential election.

Between all the media, white noise of Ukraine and Robert Mueller, though, I was struck more deeply by something almost entirely removed from President Trump’s scandals: the world was on fire. In Brazil, I saw videos of a furious indigenous woman telling a journalism crew about how ranchers were setting fire to the Amazon to clear land for cattle grazing. The sky was black with smoke and she motioned to the red haze behind her where the trees were burning. In Australia, the outback was burning because of lack of rainfall and dry winds.

I saw videos of people scrambling to save screaming koala bears caught in the flames. The smoke was so bad it could be seen from New Zealand. It was devastating for me.

I know I’m not the only one who noticed the trees are dying. Around where I come from in Ganado, I’ve seen groves of pinon trees shrivel up and turn orange in numbers I’ve never seen before. I see the pine trees along the 264 to St. Michaels, drying out as well.

The lake I grew up next to in Ganado is shrinking. Now a cow could walk right through the middle of it and reach the other side without its belly getting wet. The lack of water has become so dire that the year before we saw horses dying in mass from dehydration.

My relatives told me about how they found foals nursing on their dead mothers that were baking in the hot sun. Now the Colorado River is drying up, putting a vital water source for the whole American Southwest at risk.

To say President Trump has done next to nothing would be an understatement. His administration instead hasn’t bothered addressing the issue at all. Currently, neither have the Democrats.

The only candidate I’ve seen in the Democratic Party pay this the attention it deserves is Bernie Sanders. He rightfully points out that the root cause of climate change is the fossil fuel industry, an industry that both major political parties are partial to.

One that Bernie Sander’s colleague and fellow Democrat Joe Biden is beholden to given how much they contribute to his campaign. I know incremental changes won’t save us. We need real change.

The crises of the world aren’t going to go away by going back to “normal” because normal is what led us to this point. The Amazon is on fire, Australia is on fire, we see apartheid in Israel, anti-Muslim violence in India, and refugees are drowning in the Mediterranean trying to flee to safety.

Our trees are dying and our livestock are suffering from thirst. It’s all connected. The land is sick and as people who like to talk about our connection to the land we have to do our part to make the world better for those who come after; it’s only a small step.

I’m not under any delusion that if Bernie Sanders would win that everything would automatically be better, however, it’s a vital step that has to be made. That’s why we have to support him this coming primary vote.

Dylan Decker
Kinlichee, Ariz.


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