Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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Letters | Congratulations to Tom Arviso Jr.

I am writing to congratulate Tommy Arviso Jr. on his retirement as CEO and publisher of the Navajo Times Publishing Company.

Tom has been a worthy leader of the Navajo Times, as a reporter, editor and publisher, and in fact has been associated with the newspaper for more than half its life. That is a great achievement, and he can be proud of it.

Tom’s greatest accomplishment, in my estimation, is shepherding the newspaper through its transition from a department of the Navajo Nation government to its status as a tribal enterprise. That transition gave the Navajo Times Publishing Company the independence and flexibility to be stronger journalistically and financially.

I was proud to be a founding member of the Navajo Times Publishing Company Board of Directors, and to have served on that board until I retired in 2019.

During his tenure, Tom faced many challenges: journalistic challenges, financial challenges, and organizational challenges. Through them all, he exemplified the best qualities of a strong, wise and compassionate leader.

I have known Tom since he was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford, where I was director, in 2000-01. He used his fellowship to improve and strengthen the Navajo Times. The Knight Fellowship program is proud of him and his achievements.

It is fitting that his successor is Olivia Benally, who has spent so many years working with Tom at the Navajo Times, and absorbing his values.

Tom has worked to make the Navajo Times a beacon not only for the Navajo Nation, but for Native American journalism across the land.

He has made sure that it amplifies Navajo voices, and he has made sure that it lives up to its motto, “The Newspaper of the Navajo People.”

James R. Bettinger
Director Emeritus
John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford
Stanford, Calif.

Candidates promise but reality is different

From my perspective, there is a difference between a to-do list and a project when referring to accomplished tasks. My response to the “Charles-Newton announces candidacy for speaker” article of May 5, 2022, in the Navajo Times contains the following.

Any candidates running for office will claim certain accomplishments when trying to convince people’s votes, but reality is different.

To obtain monies for projects and carrying them out to completion is an ongoing problem to which appears to be no solution for this candidate and other officials in the Shiprock Chapter.

As a constituent, I will reference some differences of claims made for listening to and advocating for the needs of the people of Shiprock.

Projects referring to safety not completed nor maintained in Shiprock include streetlights on highways 491 and 64. Many are not working and have remained burnt out for years.

The rubble of abandoned buildings on the Bonds lot along the main highway, west of the Begay flea market, is also proof of an unfinished safety cleanup project.

The police department in Shiprock is almost non-existent. There is a lot of random crime occurring all over in the neighborhoods without arrests or a jail to house these offenders.

Another example is access dirt roads, which are not graded regularly, but maybe once a year, which is very insufficient. One especially is Bluff Road along the cliff, a road used many times daily by residents of the Mesa Farm area, as well by school buses and other service vehicles.

When Ms. Charles-Newton first became an official, she expressed the existence of a budget and that paving of Bluff Road was going to commence in June (2018) and be completed. Two years into her term, she again reiterated the same things. Occasional grading does not do any justice. Incomplete describes this safety item and others mentioned.

A successful achievement mentioned in the article about Diné people receiving Hardship checks during the COVID-19 pandemic was true due to Newman’s advocacy for which we are all thankful.

The town of Shiprock is the hub of much transient activity and deserves better development.

Wilford R. Joe
Shiprock, N.M.

Working to become next delegate for District `16

Yá’át’ééh, my name is Melinda Arviso-Ciocco. I am of the Tsi’naajinii (Black Streak Wood People Clan), born for Kinyaa’áanii (Towering House Clan). Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water Clan) are my maternal grandparents and Deeshchii’nii (Red Streak People Clan) are my paternal grandparents.

My home is at Tse Alkaa Be Akiid, which is located within the Eastern Agency of the Navajo Nation on the southeast of Gallup, along the hogback area.

Born and raised by my maternal aunts, grandmothers, and elders, I come from a long line of strong women who embody discipline, our teachings, and instilled in me what it means to be a resilient Diné Asdzaa — Navajo woman.

It is with their leadership that I have been able to carry on the fluency in our Navajo language through our songs and prayers. The precious teachings of our way of life come from the home, the fireplace, and I am honored to share this space with you all as I embark on this journey.

We ask for your support as I work to become the next Council delegate for District 16 and represent Church Rock, Iyanbito, Thoreau, Pinedale, Mariano Lake, and Smith Lake chapters with humility and respect.

Melinda Arviso-Ciocco
Tse Alkaa Be Akiid, N.M.


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