Letters: Central Americans should stay put, stand their ground

Emotions are running high this week as the U.S. southern border-crossing crisis is at its worst. Anti-immigrant voters and President Trump and his supporters want to stop immigrants from Central America from arriving in the United States.

Why is this showdown a big surprise to us when we witnessed how Donald Trump ran his presidential campaign on this policy and won? This only further confirms that a majority of Americans share his sentiment about stopping additional immigrants into our country. While some of us feel that Trump has and is unfairly targeting Latin and Central America and that he needs be fair and prevent immigrants from Eastern Europe as well, the startling fact is many Americans are supporting Trump’s initiative due to their fear of increased taxes to support additional newcomers.

I asked Paul, my neighbor, an elderly man at Taos Pueblo in northern New Mexico for his thoughts on this controversy. Taos County has a huge population of Hispanic and Latino residents and Taos Pueblo is sandwiched into this population somewhere.

Before answering my question, Paul spat and thoughtfully gazed at the Sangre de Cristo range, which is the tail end of the Rocky Mountains that frames his beloved pueblo. Solemnly, he called on the Honduran people to stay put in their country. “Three centuries ago when the soldiers came, they made us look into the muzzles of their guns. We suffered starvation. They took our lands by forced removal marches, and even slavery on the Pueblo people, but we didn’t run. We couldn’t run. We had to hold on to our land because that was all we had,” he noted.

As much as I want to disagree, he has a valid argument. What would have happened if our forefathers and great-grandmothers gave up all the land in this country and submerged themselves into the culture of the ‘White’ newcomers? Although Native people’s plight in this country remains far from ideal, their place in history is that they fought nobly for their land and kept the old ways of life.

I think my neighbor is also cautious about the environmental stress such as pollution and water depletion if this country accepts sudden massive numbers of immigrants. For Paul’s hometown, in recent years it has come to sharing one of its rivers with the town of Taos. “If it’s the druggies taking your land, unite and stand up to take it back. America might help you that way. And who knows – Honduras might be the ‘new America’ 20 years from now,” said Paul.

How about the presence of suffering children at the southern borders today? you ask. Sure, this tugs resoundingly at the heart – and there is a profound lesson to be learned here as well. I believe most of our ancestors used prudence by ensuring that during the times of war and instability, birth rates were kept to a minimum so children did not have to suffer needlessly.

Most importantly, Hispanic and Latin countries are Catholic. Thus, the Catholic Church has a huge responsibility in this immigrant crisis. At the very least, the church needs to change its adverse position against birth control, or contraceptives. As a church, it has discouraged couples from using birth control pills, for instance.

If the Catholic Church steps up, fewer children will suffer in the coming decades. Why does the Catholic Church always have a dominant presence in the poor countries with mass population?

Eve Little
Tachee-Blue Gap, Ariz.

A shout out for free July 4th events

A huge shout out to Leo Watchman and his staff for the free events during the 4th of July in Window Rock. I attended the gourd dance and powwow and was amazed at the huge turnout. What a successful event enjoyed by all who could attend. Thank you on behalf of all the out-of-towners and out-of-staters, especially members of other tribes.

Mike Salabile
Window Rock, Ariz.

No end to ag department corruption

There’s no end to the Department of Agriculture program corruption.

The program director supported District Grazing Committee resolution that accused me of grazing trespass violation without proof of 25 CFR 167.13 compliance that requires Navajo Nation Council Resource Development Committee to review the problem and determine if DGC and NNDA made uniform decisions before they plan to cancel my grazing permit.

Leo Watchman, NNDA program manager, failed to do his homework before he made an administrative decision to support the committee’s unjustified action. NNDA support of the grazing committee action is program mismanagement and is gross negligence of NNDA mission statement that reads “NNDA provides administrative guidance and support services to District Grazing Committees with emphasis on regulation oversight in accordance with federal regulation and Navajo Nation Code.”

NNDA program manager support of DGC action is tribal program corruption. Their action violates 25 CFR 167.13 Trespass that reads: “first offense which cannot be settled by District Grazing Committee will be referred to the Central Grazing Committee (now Navajo Nation Council Resources and Development Committee) for proper settlement out of court. Second written offense will be referred directly by District Grazing Committee to appropriate tribal court.”

The resolution lacks compliance with 25 CFR 167.13 requirements through absence of written notification and failure to consult Resource Committee for proper legislative decision prior to canceling grazing permits. Even Jerome Willie (BIA) and Ray Castillo (NNDA), technical advisors, failed to advise DGC that its decision is not justified because there is no written violation letter nor is it recorded in the annual livestock inventory record. DGC has no proof.

In fact, acceptance of DGC resolution by NNDA and BIA only proves injustice to me. Worse case scenario: RDC Office of Legislative Service staff authorized me to be on RDC’s agenda on May 29, 2019, to present my complaint in reference to interaction by RDC per 25 CFR 167.13 Trespass. At the last minute before my presentation, NNDA influenced NNDOJ to remove me off the agenda due to litigation matters.

What litigation? No litigation document was presented to me since 2009 when the dispute originated. No one ever advised that my case is in litigation. I am not a lawyer but I know the complaining party must have an attorney before a dispute is classified as litigation matter. On July 1, 2019, District 17 DGC Chair invited me to his monthly meeting to hear Resolution No. 17-07-01-2019 of terminating my grazing permit. The resolution has incompetency, errors and inconsistencies.

When I asked about Navajo Nation Code Title 3 Chapter 5-708 in the resolution Ray Castillo cited non-existing Navajo Nation Code that he says is stated in the 1966 code amendment. Internet research reveals 708 is a draft proposal for 2000 Navajo Nation Grazing Act. The proposal was not approved by Navajo Nation Council due to public hearing objections. Internet further shows Title 3 Amendments (CD-76-14) has missing 708. NNDA and DGC making their own laws is corruption.

Ray Castillo was in attendance at the May 29th meeting when I was taken off of RDC’s agenda, but on July 1 Castillo failed to advise DGC that DOJ restricted on any further action, including Resolution No. 17-07-01-2019. Ray Castillo, Jerome Willie and Calvert Curley (BIA) were at the July 1 meeting. They failed to advise the committee that NNDOJ directed this dispute issue is in litigation and that DGC to approve the resolution is out of context.

DGC resolution further referenced 25 CFR 167.8 that no one is to hold more than one grazing permit when Jerome Willie created the mess in 1991 by him approving a second permit and no one is questioning his mistake. Furthermore, no one is questioning Mr. Willie and Mr. Curley’s negligence when in 2008 they allowed District 17 trespass grazing permit as a yearlong permit in District 18.

These are gross corruption by NNDA, DGC and BIA. NNDA and BIA must prove me wrong.

Nels Roanhorse
Wildhorse Country Ranch
Oakridge, Ariz.


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