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Letters | Flabbergasted

Good evening, President Nez,

I am following up on my email that I sent on July 3, 2022, and have yet to receive acknowledgment and/or response from you or your team. I am very disappointed!

You seemed concerned when I met you at the Gallup flea market as I expressed my concern and requested to meet with you. I had no reason to doubt you, but your actions have made me second-guess your genuineness. You offered your business card, and you asked me to contact you via email with my request.

Please take a few minutes to read my email from July 3rd. I know it is campaign season and it’s all about getting the votes and being visible, however, your virtual audience is also just as important. Your lack of acknowledgment or response speaks volumes about your character, integrity, and compassion.

In addition to my concerns outlined in my July 3rd email, there is a pressing concern that really needs your and the Navajo Nation Police Department’s immediate attention.

I have family who reside in the St. Michaels subdivision and recently there have been break-ins during the day and night and vandalism.

A home recently was broken into twice and the home was ransacked. These criminals do not care if it is daylight — this goes to show that they are bold and do not care at all. I am very concerned for the safety of my parents who reside in this housing area. A few minutes ago, I called the Navajo Nation Police and requested a courtesy drive-thru of the housing area. I was told: “I have to follow the chain-of-command and speak to the sergeant for such a request and then the lieutenant because they are the ones who decide what calls to go out on and who goes out on the call”.

I asked the young lady to explain the process and she fumbled and could not explain the process but repeated that for this type of request, I need to call back and ask to speak with Sgt. (Six) who works until midnight. I could not believe what I was being told, so I asked for the name of Lt. (Tilden). I will be following up with both of these individuals.

First and foremost, I am flabbergasted and disgusted to know that anyone who calls asking for law enforcement to drive through a neighborhood because there is active crime going on and the presence of law enforcement can be a deterrent, the caller is told they have to follow the chain-of-command and speak to the sergeant on duty? This is absolutely absurd.

I am not understanding why law enforcement and the Navajo Nation government travel the Nation encouraging the Diné to “See something, say something.”

I am requesting your attention to this matter, please. We want to deter crime, not wait until something happens or someone gets hurt or killed. We need to be proactive, not reactive. We need more law enforcement to better serve the Navajo people.

Respectfully, submitted again.

Lisa Stephens
Houston, Texas

Another response to ‘A strike against Buu’

Ahééhee’, Kash Deal from Tuba, if that is your real name, but thanks for writing “A strike against Buu” a couple of weeks ago (Sept. 5, 2022).

Another thing, “Kash Deal” sounds like a name for a game show. And to drop names about ethnicity in public only triggers in racism and hatred like outside newspapers.

It woke up those of us who have heard enough innuendos about who is Navajo or is not Diné — now it comes to “blood quantum.”

The fact is Nygren is not an Asian name but a Swedish name meaning: ny “new” + gren “branch” = “new branch.” Source: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press.

Seems you are automatically making him an outlier without knowing the man as a person who is different from a particular group of people (Navajos) when we are a matriarch society.

The origin of our clan system starts with the mother, not the father. The patriarch system originates with the father in the white man’s world is in the surname since kings have ruled in Europe and all the way back to biblical times.

We have had half Bilagáanas as past tribal chairmen, half Naakai Łizhiní and half Bilagáana as recent Council delegates.

Racism is based on ignorance and hate like white nationalists have against us. Our elders did not care about whom they were born to as long as the mother is Navajo is our blood. Our grandparents seemed to care more about clanship than we do today.

We do not forsake them, but our Navajo tribal government will have to grapple with “disenrollment” under the “blood quantum” law as to say, “You are three-fourths or seven-eight white, Asian, African American, and so on.”

It means our grandchildren who have very little Navajo blood left will be taken off the Navajo census roll. Where will our Council delegates draw the line?

We Navajos will have to face that rude awakening someday. It is a very, very controversial subject matter only talked about at this juncture.

There is enough bigotry and political slur come every election year remarking about who can’t speak Navajo and negative overtones among my own people. It starts as what Kash Deal wrote, most likely ending as racial attacks, as Radmilla Cody can attest to.

I thanked Mr. Kash Deal as an opening. He gave me a chance to review record performance of the past president, not dislikes or his personality, but his administrative employee performance, milestone accomplishment, where has he excelled, failed, the like and so on.

Buu Nygren, a laurel doctorate, tells us he is smart and ambitious, at the same time fluent and articulate as a bilingual and raised by his grandmother is a worthy contender for the tribal office of the presidency.

His name has destiny implication as a “new branch” of insightfulness, invokes enlightenment that attracts powerful ideas and with intuition.

Isn’t that what the Navajo Nation needs? Not the “same ol’, same ol.”

Teddy Begay
Kayenta, Ariz.

Editor’s note: Kash Deal, when contacted to verify that he wrote the Sept. 5 letter, said his name is “Kashaway” but he goes by the shorter version.

Roadblocks to success

We are voicing our concerns to make them known to the general public and those in office or who will be in office on the Navajo Nation.

As an organization for the advocacy of broadband on the Navajo Nation, we are concerned about the status and how the broadband deployment is progressing following some very large grant awards. There is a total of $120 million that was awarded for broadband projects. How great it will be to have high speed, affordable, reliable internet service.

Hold on. There are concerns on multiple levels that could easily be remedied by better communication. We feel that if these issues are not addressed, they will become roadblocks to the success of these projects. Like the saying goes “Failure to plan is planning to fail.”

It is a significant step forward that the Navajo Nation has enacted ARPA legislation CJN-29-22. Establishing the broadband office was important. Broadband funding is significant, and the construction window is short, but the funding and completion of these vital broadband projects are at risk. Eighty days into the time frame, we don’t know the status. None of the Eligible Telecommunications Carriers have been given a green light on any of their projects. Why?

The broadband office needs to be allowed to do its job. It has been fully funded. States have led the way and have created templates to follow. There is nothing in the way of creating a broadband strategic plan. This would make the rest of the processes easier to design and follow.

As of yet, the process has not been communicated to the carriers and we are not aware if the communication is the same to the chapters. It should be public knowledge.

At this point in time, the Navajo Nation Broadband Office project list based on the ETC submissions has not been released. Until it is, chapters will have difficulty selecting and submitting their expenditure plan to the Department of Community Development.

There needs to be clarity and transparency about how the emergency procurement procedures will be enacted. Does it apply to all projects or will there still be projects sent out to bid?

Without knowing this, the timeline for funding awards is very uncertain and could result in extended delays. Project bidding takes months. Then the 164 process is done. ETCs will have a difficult time reserving capacity to accommodate projects.

In the midst of all this are two more potential roadblocks to success — the time-consuming right of way hurdles and the pending Telecommunications Siting Regulations. What is important is that the Navajo Nation has the ability to change these roadblocks in both cases and can issue directives to resolve them.

Our comments are a culmination of the months of discussion with our members. Our comments are not from the sideline.

ETCs are in it to succeed in getting essential broadband services to the Navajo people and they need to be kept informed. We, together, have a deep understanding of the true situation of broadband on the Navajo Nation.

Joy Thompson
Executive Director
Alliance for Navajo Broadband
Gallup, N.M.

Prejudice is an injustice

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised at the letter to the editor by Kash Deal from Tuba City (Sept. 5, 2022).

As Diné, we are constantly confronted with a history of oppression under colonial regimes that dispossessed us of a land base. We struggle against settler nations that continuously undermine our sovereignty and self-determination through the Doctrine of Discovery.

Settler nation laws and policies relegate us to a status of less than human and beings who don’t deserve to live according to our own philosophies and laws.

Deal’s letter displays the worse in us as human beings and as Diné, a people who can be influenced by larger American prejudices against people of color.

Such ignorance toward an entire people who have a complex history with the United States is so unfortunately in the best tradition of American hatred.

Sentiments such as those by Deal indicate a lack of knowledge about the U.S.’s history in Vietnam. The U.S. military was sent to fight on the side of South Vietnam to end communism in North Vietnam and this war was so unpopular with American civilians.

How the experiences of our men in the U.S. armed forces during the Vietnam War turns into prejudice against Navajo Nation presidential candidate Buu Nygren is an injustice of the worse sort.

Historically, Vietnamese people experienced colonialization of their lands and desperately struggled against colonizers. Many left their homeland because of war and found themselves displaced wherever they traveled. Some made their way to the land of the free in search of better lives and experienced again oppression.

Deal’s slandering of Navajo Nation presidential candidate Buu Nygren is without merit.

The Navajo Times should not only publish an apology to Navajo Nation presidential candidate Buu Nygren for publishing such racist and hateful statements, but its editors should make clear their standing on libel and slander.

The Navajo Times has the responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of all of our citizens, regardless of their parentage, their clans, and their historical backgrounds.

Buu Nygren, his family, his relatives, and his campaign are harmed and subjected to hate because of the poor choice to publish a blatantly racist hateful letter.

Further, all candidates running for any office on the Navajo Nation, including President Jonathan Nez and his campaign team, should immediately and publicly reject slandering and discrimination leveled at any candidates running for Navajo Nation public office.

Jennifer Denetdale
Tohatchi, NM.

‘Time for better leadership’

Money talks and numbers don’t lie, but tribal leaders have few choices to do right or wrong or just lie to the Navajo people.

There are tribal laws against these kinds of deceptions, but in order for justice to work, Navajo people must know their rights and know how the justice works in order to hold our tribal leaders accountable.

In four years, the 24th Navajo Nation Council and Nez-Lizer administration spent more than $7.45 billion and nothing much changed inside the Navajo Nation. It did not create any jobs and did not create any more Navajo businesses.

The more than $7.45 billion did not bring a prosperous economy to our poverty-stricken Navajo Reservation.

Here is how much our tribal leaders spent every year for the last four years. Fiscal 2019, $767 million; fiscal 2020, $1.25 billion; fiscal 2021, $1.25 billion; and fiscal 2022 $1.5 billion.

And Navajo tribal leaders received CARES Act funds of $714 million and from ARPA $2 billion. This adds up to $7.45 billion.

For many decades, election after election, Navajo DOJ, which is mostly Navajo lawyers, assisted tribal leaders to manage Navajo people’s money illegally. The $7.45 billion was all Navajo people’s money, but because of tribal corruption there was no economic benefits for the Navajo people.

What Navajo people don’t know is what the Navajo Tribal Code says about tribal budget that would benefit the Navajo people economically, in a section (12 N.N.C. 800).

The purpose: ”The Navajo Nation government has a fiduciary responsibility to account for public funds, to manage finances wisely, and to plan for the adequate funding of services desired by the Navajo people, including the provision and maintenance of public facilities.”

If you notice the words “services” and “provision” in this tribal law, what does that actually mean? What it means is Navajo tribal leaders should have spent $7.45 billion on “services and provisions,” which means supplying 110 chapters and urban Navajo communities with things they need like housing materials, labor costs, and many things that would improve Navajo living standards like building better roads and routine maintenance.

Of course, it needs a strategic plan to make this work at the local level where Navajo people live.

If you spend $7.45 billion on people as investing in and building a private sector that would bring a prosperous economy, but tribal leaders need to know how this works because it has many moving parts to build a successful economy that would benefit the Navajo people.

Tribal enterprises and Navajo Nation government is a failed policy for the last 60 years. Sad to tell you that is where they spend this $7.45 billion. They spent $7.45 billion on a 60-year failed policy.

Time for better leadership.

This letter only says a little about the Navajo tribal failed policy and why Navajo Nation is still in poverty.

Lester Begay
Crownpoint, N.M.

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