Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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Letters | Choosing the right leader

Choosing the right leader

In 2006, the Navajo Nation Supreme Court in Sc-Cv-32-06 ruled that “the Navajo people has a right to choose a leader of their choice.” The Navajo Nation is on the cutting edge of democratic understanding and protecting the votes of the people.

Yesterday’s (March 4) ruling by the Supreme Court of United States ruled the same. That the people will decide the President of United States. We the People have the power to choose our own leaders!

Just a thought and what do you think? 17 years later, the mainstream catches up with us Jon’s.

Vern Roy Lee
Fruitland, N.M.
Aneth, Utah

Correct the problem

In 2005 I submitted Fort Defiance agency natural resource program mismanagement to BIA Navajo Region and asked for a program review/audit. Region refused to take action; nor did it acknowledge my request. I am still waiting in 19 years.

There are grazing permit holders and farmers caught in land dispute and range program mismanagement cause by BIA non-compliance of trust responsibility. They created land disputes by not following grazing regulations, non-compliance with Interior guidelines, rules, policies, etc. Navajo Region knew about its grazing permit program deficiencies in 2005. They have done nothing to correct the problem. It’s time Navajo Nation Council and Washington look into this situation and take action.

Among many others, here are facts of BIA range program mismanagement at Fort Defiance agency natural resource.

1) Under Regional Director approval one Region line-officer family member constructed unauthorized range fence in violation of 25 CFR 167.16 and Navajo Nation Code NNC Title 3 §713; serious violation of Federal grazing regulations and tribal ordinance.

2) No compensation to Indian allotees for fencing (enclosure) Indian allotments in violation of 25 CFR § 166.401. Range Management Unit (RMU) fences in Lupton and Houck chapter communities assembled under supervision by Jerome Willie who failed to appraise the value of vegetation inside the allotments for payment.

3) Not only did Jerome Willie failed allotees’ compensation, he allowed deviation from approved RMU fence boundary line without archaeological clearance

4) Not only did Jerome Willie done the wrongdoing, he got paid annual workman’s performance award for the screw up and waste of American taxpayers’ contribution for his program

5) As technical adviser Jerome Willie did not object many homesites leases issued for residential development less than one half mile from community water sources (violation of 25 CFR 167.17(b)

6) Jerome Willie did not object homesites lease requests for lease location inside approved Agricultural Land Use Farm Permit locations.

7) Jerome Willie failed to support 25 CFR 167 that authorizes grazing permit transfers and probates inheritance to remain in the customary use area of the original permittee.

8) Jerome Willie failed to advise grazing committee requester for permit transfer must have written consent by local permit holders in the use area where sheep units will be added to minimize conflicts.

9) When additional sheep units are added to an area no field study was done by Jerome Willie to determine carrying capacity to justify available vegetation for additional grazing of added livestock.

In my 2005 program review request I questioned Fort Defiance Agency approving former irrigated farm land to church mission site. The land use farm permit previously issued by the Agency was never officially canceled (records rescinded) before the Agency approved the same land as a church site. The Navajo Nation Council Resources Committee authorized irrigated farmlands on the Navajo Nation and this legislative body is the only one that would rescind irrigated farm plots for other purpose or use of the land.

Request for program review/audit focused on program deficiencies. I recommended investigation and a formal program review and audit. Interior BIA manual is specific. If and when the need to do a program review is determined by management, noted deficiencies must be followed through with a Program Improvement Plan (PIP). Program review analyzes tribal political interventions, administrative negligence, inadequate staffing, insufficient management support/funding, upper management weaknesses and flaws, overwhelming workloads, and helplessness to effectuate meaningful changes. Deficiencies can change if upper management is fully committed to support changes.

Regional Director is aware and has done nothing to correct the problem. These are violations of 25 CFR §11.448(b) (Abuse of Office) by federal official.

Nels Roanhorse
Oakridge, Ariz.


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