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Letters: Don’t legislate by vetoes and overrides

I have questioned the Navajo tribal government’s use of “vetoes” and “overrides” in fiscal responses to the needs of the Navajo people. My concern is that there appears to be no other way known by our leaders and their numerous lawyers and Ph.Ds.

I would think that without legislative or any type of “government reform” our leaders of our three-branch government should start talking about what they want to do money-wise to help people before they put their intent in writing so that there can be maximum input in advance, and even if there are differences along the way, like a resolution is passed by Council, there ought to be a mechanism for negotiations and compromise to save time and money (or worse, ill feelings).

Or, if the Council is in a rush, there should be allowance of professional actions — resolutions or whatever that is placed in process. The veto of the emergency assistance to the Ganado hospital is pathetic. There reportedly was no “direction” (“nas go”) thinking in the veto.

Questionability of situations and the intention of notorious prior CEO should not be reason to deny help to our people in need of medical services now. The funds vetoed were not for Razaghi, who is still lingering on the rez with some still considering him God’s gift to mankind, and no tribal legislation to prevent a repeat of the chaos he created.

Anyway, we have 27 top officials of our tribal government, and they being the “cream of the crop” should have no problem spending the $700 million on the problems of the Navajo people, without bickering on “pet peeves” or favoritism.

We are survivors barely hanging on to our culture, and with all that is lasting and in place, we have two languages to talk with one another like Navajos.

Dan Vicenti
Crownpoint, N.M.

Benally should be barred from public office

It has now gotten way out of hand.

The Navajo Nation must now strike Dineh Benally’s name from the upcoming ballots and deny him any future chance of holding any public office. He has shown time and time again that he cannot be trusted to follow Navajo Nation laws and procedures and his only intent is at self-gain.

His criminal actions after being warned time and time again show little regard for policy and procedures that all holding public office must adhere to.

His continuing misrepresentation of his office as being above the president of the Navajo Nation is evidence of his being unqualified for any and all public office. His continued disregard of the Navajo court order of a temporary restraining order and the Navajo Ag Department’s order to cease and desist show no respect whatsoever to the Navajo Nation government and the Navajo people.

This unethical behavior by one who sits in public office should be grounds enough to have him removed from the farm board and be denied any future bids of running for any and all public office. What are the election office protocols and requirements of a nominee for public office?

Changes need to be made if these types of criminal acts are allowed. The use of hemp may not be illegal on the Navajo Nation, but the farming of marijuana/hemp is illegal.

Therefore, if you are farming marijuana/hemp or allow your farmlands for these illegal farms, then you are committing a crime, which does make you a criminal.

Even the farm permit you may possess states that nothing illegal shall be farmed and that sub-leasing of these farmlands should not be done. So you should know that farming marijuana/hemp does make you a criminal against Navajo Nation laws and is a crime against the Navajo people.

The Holy Ones teach that if something brings disharmony to the people or divides the Navajo people, especially that which brings division of the Diné family, then this plague needs to stop and not be allowed on our sacred lands. It is sad to say Ke’ship is, or was, never taught to these criminals who continue to harass and intimidate our community, their neighbors, as well as their own family.

Marijuana/hemp is said to be about sovereignty, which has no truth to it. The criminals who are farming marijuana/hemp instead use Navajo sovereignty to hide their criminal acts. Marijuana/hemp is also said to provide economic development, yet our economy has yet to see any funds offered from these illegal farms.

Also, taxes are not even paid at the local level, not even any taxes paid to the Navajo Tribe. And to tax at the federal level? It has come time for the IRS-CI to do an audit on these illegal farms and those who run them.

Dineh Benally has retained the services of one David Jordan, an attorney who constantly shows no knowledge of the Diné way of life, yet continues in his practice the harassment of our elders and the intimidation tactics against the Navajo courts and justices.

The judgment for the restraining order was justified where the disharmony of our community and family would cease if these illegal farms were to cease. A Navajo Nation court order which Dineh Benally once again refuses to acknowledge, as he demands his workers to non-compliance by continuing the illegal farming of marijuana/hemp on these farms.

So as has been evident to date, marijuana/hemp should never be allowed to become legal on the Navajo Nation. It has brought the criminal element out of local Navajos who others looked at as community leaders who all show now how they turn their backs to the community for any mention of money.

The BIA and the Navajo Nation must now proceed with the forfeiture of all the farmland leases that have been illegally farming marijuana/hemp and have subleased their plots to foreign entities, thus given up their leased lands to be used in the black market and falsely identified as home sites to foreign non-Navajos.

Lawsuits can be brought against him by those who were falsely misled to invest in his illegal scheme and by the easily misled Navajo farmers who, through this pandemic we all face, hastily believed his get-rich-quick scheme and who came out with a tarnished family name.

The encouragement to proceed without hesitation is now the request of all Shiprock citizens who were unjustly made to live through these criminal activities, with fear for the well-being of our loved ones, and the disruption of our once relaxed home life.

Norman Joe
Shiprock, N.M.

Don’t participate in vaccine trial

Hello, my name is Wacey Kinsel. I am 37 years old and a member of the Navajo Nation and Yakama Nation (adopted). Recently on the local news, a story made headlines stating, and I quote, “The Navajo Nation will serve vaccines as a part of test trials.”

Is this true? Have we become the target of a mass guinea pig experiment conducted by our government? I would like to emphasize that our Diné people are high in the categories of pre-existing and underlying medical conditions. My question is, will this trial be conducted appropriately? Or is this another ploy to secure government funding?

Please consider the following argument on behalf of the Diné people. I will be as cordial as possible. The subject of any science is a starting point of that science, the terminus quo.

Therefore, the subject, at least within the framework of science in question, must be easier to grasp than the properties that follow from it, and its properties must be easier to grasp than the conclusions that are demonstrated about it. The primary agent and his agency accepting and administering these vaccine trials must take every necessary precaution in deciding for all contingent beings who have very little or no knowledge of the formalities the vaccine may constitute — political jargon.

I speak on behalf of my fellow Navajo people who do not understand the dangers and longlasting side effects of an un-administered vaccine testing trial. Please make the best decisions for our nation.

Wacey R. Kinsel
Douglas, Ariz.

We need help in Grand Falls

President Nez, I have been reading all about your support that you have been doing for our people. That is great, but Mr. Nez, you have forgotten us here in Grand Falls. I know we aren’t in Window Rock, where all these donations seem to go to, but we are still a part of the tribe.

We, too, have no running water or electricity. As you know, when the Grand Falls start to run we get stuck here or have to travel an extra hour to get to the paved roads. Our roads are not maintained regularly so my vehicle is always broken down.

We need your support and help as much as the others. Growing up, I have heard stories from my late grandpa about how every Navajo Nation president talks about bringing electricity and running water out here to Grand Falls, but that has never happened. Just last year I heard the same thing and saw for myself that’s all it really is, is talk.

The closest we got to see were posts put in, but strong winds have torn those posts out. I believe the people came out, looked around, measured, and have not come back since. President Nez, I am writing to ask for help on behalf of all the people living out here in Grand Falls.

Megan Yazzie
Grand Falls, Ariz.

Rudeness, nepotism rule at Burnham

This letter is to inform you and the general community of what is happening at Tiis Tsoh Sikaad Chapter regarding customer service and seeing community bystanders denied jobs. Last month on Sept. 17, 2020, I called the chapter house to inquire about the chapter meeting for the general public. This meeting was held remotely.

The administrative assistant, Paula Begay, answered the telephone and did not identify herself or acknowledge me in a courteous manner. I had to interrogate Ms. Paula Begay about the chapter meeting and to receive the telephone number and passcode to access the teleconference meeting. This was very stressful.

A few days later, I called again, and Ms. Paula Begay answered the telephone. I was informed previously that there was a new chapter manager and her name was Marlene Palmer. I asked if there is a new office manager and she told me, “I don’t know.” I then asked her again, “Is there a replacement for Gloria Redhorse Begay’s position?” Again, Paula Begay said, “I don’t know.”

Then, I asked Paula questions, “Why are you telling me you don’t know, when the community is already aware that there’s a new office manager named Marlene Palmer?” She then finally admitted, “Yes, but she’s not here.”

This was really bad customer service between Paula Begay and I. Next, on Sept. 29, 2020, I called the chapter house to inquire about a job posting for a PEP position. Paul Begay, brother of Paula Begay, answered the telephone. I asked him, “I’d like to talk to Marlene Palmer, office manager.” He then told me, “She’s on the phone. Call back later.”

He almost hung up on me before I said, “Wait, can you take my name and telephone number to give her, so when she is done, Marlene Palmer can return my telephone call?” I gave him my telephone number and then I asked him, “I also need some information about the PEP position for the chapter house.”

Paul told me, “I don’t know and I don’t know where you apply for this job.” He started laughing at me on the other end. I then asked him, “How do you not know the answer when you have been working for the chapter house for over 20 years?”

I didn’t get a response and he hung up on me. Now, this type of customer service is deplorable. I really did not appreciate the telephone communication when all I was asking was for the job posting. A few minutes later, I spoke to Marlene Palmer regarding the house visit she did for my bathroom addition. I also asked her about the job posting for the PEP position and she kindly emailed me the information.

Ms. Palmer was incredibly helpful compared to her administrative staff. Now based on my experience, community voters who live in the area are also having the same problem with poor customer service about general community information.

Today, on Oct. 1, 2020, another person called and informed me of his headache dilemma within Burnham Chapter. He is also interested in applying for the office manager position. These job announcements are seen in another newspaper.

Job postings are kept private from the local community. There is no transparency of where and who is eligible to apply for these jobs. People should be able to be given thorough information and the positions should be announced locally, rather than hire only immediate family members using favoritism.

I am noticing that these jobs are only for immediate family members, and only Perry Begay, chapter president, is delegating this favoritism. No one knew about the new office manager, Marlene Palmer, who was a former employee from Upper Fruitland Chapter House. The community is not given a chance to apply for these jobs and when they do, they are told “You are not selected” or “I don’t know.”

The men who were interested in applying for the PEP position all feel it is hopeless to even try to ask for a job or any service. Charles Benally has gone above and beyond the Navajo Nation administration to seek help in restraining the nepotism within the chapter house. Mr. Benally has met all the job qualifications, yet a sister of the chapter president, Gloria Redhorse Begay, was hired.

Now, with this recent position, again a relative of Mr. Perry Begay, Marlene Palmer, is given the position again. Burnham Chapter does not allow outsiders to work for the chapter house. How can the community move forward when only favoritism is allowed? I hope you understand my point.

Thank you for allowing me to express my concerns regarding Burnham Chapter’s policies in the hiring process.

Marilyn Zhao
Rowland Heights, Calif.


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