Thursday, June 13, 2024

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Letters | Eyesore of abandoned buildings

Driving into Shiprock, you see burnt, graffiti, boarded, private, commercial, and tribal buildings – all abandoned.

Driving into Tuba City, you see the same scene: the civic center fenced in, trailers south of the civic center acting as sand bars. Driving toward the hospital, you see more abandoned burnt sandstone buildings, and Vans Trading Post is still gutted.

Driving into Kayenta, the Navajo Housing Authority boarded up houses not being used. There is a housing shortage across the Navajo Nation, yet muti-generational are sharing the same home, and that’s clear evidence of mismanagement.

Driving past Kaibeto School, there are more abandoned employee housing and a chapter warehouse. And a preschool building is not being used.

I hear our leaders saying, “We are the stewards of this land,” “Walk in beauty,” and “Our elders charge us with preserving our culture and traditions.”

To our new president and new and current Council delegates: I challenge you to clean up our communities, towns, and cities. Don’t wait for the Chapter resolution. Take charge.

Eugene Begay
Tonalea-Red Lake, Ariz.

Natives need recognition

In the Navajo Times article titled, “Set history correct: Advocating for and celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day,” (former Navajo Times reporter) Hannah John explains the celebration of a holiday on Oct. 10, which replaces Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.

She begins the article with information about how Indigenous Peoples Day is celebrated in 14 states in the U.S. so far, and South Dakota was the first state to celebrate it in 1990.

Native people believe the holiday needs to be acknowledged by all 50 states because it is an injustice for there to be a holiday after the Italian explorer, Christopher Columbus, who came across the U.S. as a mistake when originally the land belonged to Indigenous people.

Furthermore, Indigenous people advocate for the history to not be “sugar-coated” to educate all people about the true history of the U.S.

I agree that Indigenous Peoples Day should be celebrated throughout the U.S. This point needs emphasizing since so many people believe that Christopher Columbus is the true founder of America.

The discovery of the U.S. was not Columbus’s intention, and he initially set out to find new routes between other countries. Nevertheless, I believe spreading the holiday can be achieved through correcting American history by revealing the truth about how Indigenous peoples were treated, the challenges they faced, and the fact that the U.S. has stolen land.

In the article, an Indigenous woman named Zunneh-bah Jim states, “It’s important for everyone to learn the true history of what happened to our ancestors and how that still affects our people to this day,” which emphasizes the fact that Indigenous people continue to mourn for those ancestors’ lives lost and how that has been a strength and weakness.

Not only were the Indigenous people the first ones in the U.S., but they also helped protect the country. For example, winning World War II with the Navajo tribe using a Navajo code. Recognizing Indigenous people for what they have contributed and what they have faced, such as getting pushed off their land, can improve the level of respect for them, and they can be seen as human beings.

To spread Indigenous Peoples Day throughout the U.S., I think everyone should be educated about who Indigenous people are. By doing so, Indigenous people also need to continue educating new generations with stories and traditional teachings to help one another grow.

In addition, schools all over the U.S. should integrate the history of Indigenous people into their studies and history books.

From the article, according to Zunneh-bah Jim, “They still talk about us like we only exist in the past.” This explains how textbooks don’t mention Indigenous people.

Indigenous people need to be recognized for their credibility and effect on the evolution of the United States, so by having all 50 states acknowledge Indigenous Peoples Day, they can represent the respect for Native existence.

Chanley Dee
Lukachukai, Ariz.

Navajo government reputation ‘tarnished’

In the Navajo Times article titled, “Speaker issued statement regarding Las Vegas photo,” written by Donovan Quintero and Krista Allen, they illustrate how Navajo Nation Speaker Seth Damon had an “unauthorized photo” taken of him intoxicated, sitting at a slot machine in Las Vegas, Nevada, during the Indian National Finals Rodeo.

The photo then spread over social media, jeopardizing Damon’s position with the Navajo Nation Council. He does not admit, nor does he deny, that he was intoxicated, and the next steps of accountability that needs to be taken are being discussed with certain Navajo Nation Council delegates.

In the discussion of Seth Damon, a controversial issue has been an elected official being under the influence of alcohol. On the one hand, he argues that he was on a “private vacation” with his family. On the other hand, his colleagues contend that his actions were unprofessional and violated his position. Others even maintain that he should seek help.

I believe it is unethical, and any elected position should come with high expectations to uphold the code of ethics, regardless of being on or off the clock.

As stated in the article, “What I stated was, ‘The integrity of the Council is in question right now and that one delegate messing up is a reflection on the entire 24th Navajo Nation Council,” said Council Delegate Charles-Newton. “We entrusted him — being a good speaker to represent the Navajo people.”

Charles-Newton is saying that when you’re an elected official, one represents the Navajo people, one’s local communities, and the Navajo Nation, so in his position, he caused attention to himself, other Council delegates, and the Navajo Nation.

The conclusion is that any person holding an elected position must know they are representing more than just the tribal government but their families as well, and they need to be held accountable if any unfavorable behavior on their part occurs.

My solution is that any elected official should have professional development training, which includes listed consequences for broken trust. Many incidents involving elected members of the Navajo Nation government have occurred, and it seems as if the rules are not taken seriously.

The reputation of the Navajo Nation government has already been tarnished due to the actions of a few members in the past and present. Unfortunately, these situations make a bad impression on the tribal Council.

Therefore, each member should have the same expectation across the board, and consequences should be enforced.

Tyson Kayitah
Tsaile, Ariz.


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