Letters | Diné need new leadership
am writing this letter to express my disappointment with the Nez Administration for their unwillingness to fight for Navajo jobs and revenue with the closure of the San Juan Generating Station. The lack of a Navajo voice from the Nez Administration is another example of why the Navajo people need new leadership.
It should be a concern for all Navajo Nation if the Navajo leader with the biggest voice chooses to stay silent and allow outsiders to dictate to the Navajo Nation about what we can and can’t do.
We’ve seen this with water rights, Kayenta Mine and NGS. Now, we’re seeing it again with the closure of San Juan Generating Station. We’ll see it again if Nez is re-elected with the new attempts to close Navajo Mine and Four Corners Power Plant before 2031.
From my perspective, the Navajo Nation has given the states of New Mexico and Arizona enough with the closure of Kayenta Mine, NGS and now San Juan Generating Station. Why should the Navajo Nation continue to eliminate jobs while the states of New Mexico and Arizona save theirs?
Did SRP lose jobs or revenue when they closed NGS? Nope. They just moved those jobs and revenue to the valley with the operation of natural gas plants. Did Navajo Nation keep the 24,000-acre-feet water certificate from NGS after it closed? Nope. The state of Arizona took it back.
Further, the states that use the Colorado River are deciding how they want to allocate the water while the Navajo Nation continues to sit on the outside looking in.
We need a leader that has a strong voice to fight for good paying jobs and good revenue. We do not have that now.
Former Chairman Peter MacDonald said it right when he said that Arizona leadership is most likely sitting in a room planning about how to take more from the Navajo Nation.
It doesn’t help when we have environmentalists from outside the Navajo Nation telling Navajo leadership what to do with their natural resources.
On Nov. 8, we have an opportunity to select a leader that wants to fight for the Navajo Nation so we can maintain equal footing and have equal opportunities. A leader that will use his voice for the betterment of the Navajo people.
We do not need another leader that uses Navajo funds like his own “discretionary” fund. We had that debacle several years ago with Navajo Nation Council and seems like now it has reached across the road to the Office of the President. That scandal didn’t turn out well for former members of Council.
Do we want another leader that misuses Navajo funds for his own benefit? Think about it.
Talk to others about it. Choose wisely.
Hopes, dreams, and concerns
It’s overwhelming and depressing to live on Navajo Nation. I live on the Nation for more than 70 years, dream and hope for improvements. It seems that progress does not exist.
Thank you for the publication of the public concerns published in the Navajo Times’ editorial section on Sept. 29, 2022. Thank you to Lisa Stevens of Houston, Texas; Teddy Begay of Kayenta, Arizona; Jennifer Denetdale of Tohatchi, New Mexico; and Lester Begay of Crownpoint, New Mexico, to share your knowledge and expertise.
Many of us vote without considerable thoughts. Each of our vote is precious and valuable to create the future for Navajo Nation for many generations to come.
Added to the above concerns, these are my concerns:
Many years passed without infrastructural and economic improvement and stability. Majority of the reservation have at-risk dirt roads and do not meet the public’s safety needs. These are not thought-out roads, lacked warning and name of the road signs. The roads are graded to meet the quarterly report requirements, especially in the outline areas.
The communication system is poor and does not meet the public’s safety needs. This is observable: no cell towers, no internets, and no ground lines, et cetera.
Still hauling water for a total trip of 50 miles, no water lines, staked out for years but no observable progress. First, we hauled water by wagon and now it’s a vehicle. Then, we launder at Tséyi Laundromat. It has a few reliable washing machines and dryers. It has no hot water.
In the meantime, the owner is building a motel in Shonto, Arizona. Countless
requests made to get new working washing machines and dryers. The
customers traveled from all surrounding communities and some hire others to
take them to do their laundry. It is very expensive and time consuming.
Many drivers drive more than 70 miles an hour and exceed speed sign and paying no attention to up/down hills and yellow lanes. No Navajo police officers monitor these roads. This is risky and dangerous for the driver and pedestrians.
Where are the hardship funds for our children who live off the reservation? Our children are doing their best effort to live off reservation to earn some income for their basic necessities. Many were evicted from their apartment due to COVID-19. They are struggling.
The Navajo Nation controller and staff do not have unreliable answering
machines and no positive feedback.
As elders, we tried to be compassionate and respect k’é and be supportive of
our children, no matter if they are over 18 years old. If we are lucky to contact
the controller, the staff would tell you, it’s their responsibility to contact their
How could they be contacted if the answering machine gives you the runaround
and the staff do not want to listen. The controller believes that everyone lives in
Window Rock, they would tell you, “Come back tomorrow,” direct you to an
internet or give you a telephone number to call. This is useless – you go through
several recordings but never get feedback.
Our tribal government is similar to the federal three-branch government. With this in mind, the U.S. president and the Navajo Nation president have legal responsibilities to oversee the best interest of the grassroots safety and wellbeing.
It’s mandated by our votes: the Navajo Nation president shall direct the cabinet
program directors to adhere, oversee and provide equality and quality services
to uplift and improve for best interest of Navajo Nation and its Diné. Nonsense
to say that’s legislative or judicial responsibility. If we believe in our ancestral
teaching, we need to step up the Navajo Nation’s improvement.
Charlotte Jane Begaye
Many Farms, Ariz.