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Letters: Communication system is a catastrophe

My co-worker was at the Farmington Home Depot when he received a call from his son-in-law on Monday, April 15, who had just been in a head-on collision at Buffalo Pass.

The time was around 4 p.m. My coworker rushed to the scene and arrived at the accident at 6:30 p.m. Buffalo Pass is located between Lukachukai, Arizona, and Shiprock. His son-in-law was driving a work truck with the trailer attached when a car driven by a young woman crossed into his lane causing the collision, reportedly because she fell asleep at the wheel. The family of the young lady was there when my co-worker arrived and her family drove her to the Chinle hospital.

Six hours after the wreck occurred the police and tow truck finally arrived at 8:30 p.m. with no medical personnel. During this event several people stopped and called 911 to notify emergency personnel of the accident, but response didn’t arrive until 8:30 and the Navajo Police driver and tow truck driver said they had read of the accident on Facebook and not from 911 emergency services. If it had been a critical situation the results could have been deadly.

My co-worker called me from Buffalo Pass to say he was taking emergency vacation the next day because he did not know if he could make it in because of the accident. My co-worker‘s son-in-law was not hurt but he is probably feeling it the next day. Don’t know about the young lady‘s condition.

The Navajo Nation communication system is a catastrophe and needs to be revamped. We need to have communications that works well throughout the reservation and for the tribal leaders to be held accountable if this is not done. What would they do if this had been their family that had been in a tragic accident? Safety should be above all else and we should not compromise.

Justin D. Yazzie Jr.
Farmington, N.M.

Racist proposals by San Juan Co. commissioner

Bruce Adams, San Juan County Commissioner, has made a jaw-dropping, tone-deaf proposal. At the commission meeting on April 16, 2019, he insisted that the Navajo-majority San Juan County Commission not take any action related to the Bears Ears National Monument issue, as the BENM is too “controversial” in the county. Adams thinks a 2020 ballot referendum on all issues related to the BENM is required.

The proposal is laughably ironic given the history of BENM issues in the county and Adams’s prominent role in that history. Two years ago, the former white-majority commission, of which Adams was the chairman, never proposed ballot referendums before passing previous resolutions condemning President Obama’s proclamation establishing the BENM — an historic culmination of years’ work and first-ever agreement by several Native American tribes supporting the designation. Further, the former white-majority San Juan County Commission wasted no time with a referendum to get San Juan County citizens’ input before deciding to intervene on behalf of defendants in the lawsuit filed by tribal entities and others challenging the Trump administration’s drastic reduction of the BENM.

These acts, taken with Adams’s leadership, were a slap in the face to Native Americans who were deliberately shut out of the decision-making process. Certainly, Adams was unconcerned with consulting the county’s Native American citizens through a referendum vote when he stood laughing at the side of President Trump when Mr. Trump signed an unlawful executive order to undo the BENM. Now, however, because Adams and a few disgruntled and vocal white residents think a ballot referendum – an option never offered to the Native American citizens of the county – is their right.

In fact, comments at the April 16 meeting suggest that some white citizens of the county should have the right to submit a host of issues to referendum elections, rather than learn to work with the Navajo majority on the commission. This is flatly racist. The elections have come and gone. San Juan County residents spoke at the ballot box. Kenneth Maryboy and Willie Grayeyes, who campaigned on a promise to restore the BENM, were elected and now have a right, as republican principles make clear, to decide issues concerning the BENM for the county.

Commissioner Adams should respect the election, be a leader, and stop his bullying and patronizing tactics.

James Adakai
Chairman, San Juan County Democratic Party
Oljato, Utah

‘Buy Navajo’ but are customers’ needs being met?

This is in response to an article titled “‘Buy Navajo, Buy Local’ to celebrate Sovereignty Day,” written by Jonathan Nez and Myron Lizer in the Navajo Times (April 18, 2019). According to President Nez and Vice President Lizer, “Buy Navajo, Buy Local” basically means that we want our Diné people to purchase their products and services on the Navajo Nation from our own people. “We need to change the mindset of many to support small businesses on the Navajo Nation as opposed to having our consumers spend millions and millions each year in border towns,” they wrote.

I am sure that many of the people would like to buy products locally instead of traveling a great distance to buy their products. I, for one, do buy locally where accommodations are available. Although I now can get around with a knee brace, I need a motorized cart to get my grocery shopping done.

Most or all the motorized carts are not working at the local grocery stores. So I drive to Farmington to do my shopping because I know that the grocery stores have updated motorized carts available for me to use. I think the first item of business would be for the Nez and Lizer administration to review the Navajo Nation business lease agreements with companies on how the people’s, particularly the elderly and handicapped, needs are met. Secondly, visit the local business sites and companies and compare them with border town businesses.

Some time ago, I had to meet a person in Window Rock at one of the businesses and traveling through the business area seemed dangerous.

Since Mr. JT Willie has marketing experience and is an entrepreneur, he can resolve these issues with his staff. Third, do a survey at the business sites to find out what Diné need and what problems they encounter. Excellent customer services are a big plus.

Nancy Todea
Shiprock, N.M.

Horses causing trouble, problems

Hello, my people, relatives, etc. There are questions I need answers to regarding certified papers or certified horses that don’t have brands. Are they allowed outside? And if we pin up these certified horses, will we get in trouble or get sued?

This is what we hear from grazing officers and rangers, etc. Is it allowed for horses to be hauled in at all hours of the day, night, or even midnight? Where do they pass checkpoints? Can a non-Native who is supposed to be an in-law do all this without the family’s consent without a permit and hides behind his wife’s skirt? Is he allowed to stand in our faces and verbally tell us he can build and live in the area wherever he pleases and have his horses graze anywhere and have the grazing officer from White Cone and Indian Wells to scope out the area for fencing?

Is he allowed to beat on our family dogs with shovels? Just because the dogs chase his horses off our area when they wander close to our houses. Is he allowed to carry a firearm or any type of weapon, when this individual has a felony record? We live in fear. We fear for our own safety at home, on the road and even in public. We are elders.

Three brothers and our sister got yelled at in Jeddito by White Cone Grazing Official Francis Lester and Natural Resource grazing officials and rangers. You all know which one I’m talking about, the one that came out for District 7 grazing meetings. They don’t respect the community, the elders, etc., at the Jeddito meeting on March 4, 2019.

It was mentioned at the meeting that any horses (certified, registered) are not allowed to be on livestock permits, only cattle and sheep. So, tell me why? Can they allow certain horses to have any type of freedom? A lot of horses that are impounded in Window Rock have brands and belong to people.

A lot of these horses have been in the family for years. They are used for ceremonial purposes, ranching, etc. These horses that are causing trouble and problems here at our place belong in an area where this non-Native can call his own. He needs to buy land if he wants to show horses, sell, trade, or give them away for bribery. Another question: Can this individual breed the horses where it’s visible from all directions — the corral sits between our homes (he’s been doing it for two years now). This non-Native is an in-law, if he had any type of respect for the family.

We won’t call him an outlaw, however, he is hurting the family, dogs and our health (mentally/physically). He is verbally abusive that we live in fear at our own place where we were raised. We can’t continue to live like this forever. As a registered voter, are we not allowed to speak at grazing meetings?

We are told not to speak unless we are permit-holders. I believe that as a registered voter, the people have that freedom of speech.

Is it allowed for a non-Native to do silversmith at home going to places like Santa Fe and The Heard Museum, using the wife’s name? Grazing officials don’t work with people. That’s a part of the problem.

Please, if there’s a very important issue concerning livestock problems, don’t just tell the people, “Quiet.” We need to at least work together and maybe that way all this chaos won’t be going on all over the reservation. We need help! Where do we go from here? Who do we run to for help?

It’s like we hit a corner or a dead end every time we call for help.

Ellie Begay
Indian Wells, Ariz.

With NGS and mine, services will be cut

As a miner, closing the Kayenta Coal Mine and Navajo Generating Station will cause an economic downfall to the Navajo and Hopi nations. Without revenues from the mine or NGS, services to our police, fire department, veterans, elderly and other programs will be severely cut throughout tribal chapters and villages.

Local communities rely on the mine for coal to heat our homes during the winter months. Also, the mine provides a water station for hauling water for drinking, crops and livestock. Therefore, the water line either will be capped off or water meters will be installed to pay for water. We need the Kayenta Mine and NGS online. NGS is steady and reliable energy. Wind and solar alternatives are not efficient enough to meet the demands. Our tribal leaders were supposed to protect our jobs and bring in companies to create new jobs. Navajo Council has no solution to replace our jobs and revenues.

Navajo Transitional Energy Company is our best opportunity for continuing mining at the Kayenta Mine and NGS. To the 11 delegates who voted no on March 21, 2019, you did not vote in the best interest of the people. You failed with your weak leadership and betrayed all of us.

Working at the Kayenta Mine and NGS is our way of life. We sacrifice, work hard and travel long distances to provide for our families. We continue to take pride in our work.

Clarence Kaisem
Kayenta, Ariz.

$3.1 million for NTUA not in best interest of Nation

It is not in the best interest for the Navajo Nation Council to pay Navajo Tribal Utility Authority $3.1 million from the Undesignated Reserve Fund through the Sihasin Fund for a sub-standard product to at least 62 chapters. Navajo Tribal Utility Authority employees presented a nice presentation about how the broadband Internet service would serve the community, however, they fell short of explaining the speed in which pages of a website would be downloaded.

They kept responding “20 MBs.” This tells me they do not know their own product/service they want the Diné to invest in, which is sad really. Five hundred pages of type is 20 megabytes, which is nothing in today’s world. They never answered how long 500 pages would download either. Dial up? They promised each chapter would get free service for the first two years and these 500 pages would be shared by the chapter official business and the public. For $3.1 million dollars, “this is not in the best interest of the Navajo Nation” and should not be supported at the chapter level.

The Navajo Nation deserves only the best. For example, 250 Gigabytes per month at a delivery speed of 250 MBps.

Patrick Murphy
Albuquerque, N.M.

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