Letters: Fluent, the word that destroyed our democratic process
Excerpt from our distant past: “The United States agrees that for every 30 children between the ages of 6 and 16 who can be induced or compelled to attend school, a house shall be provided and a teacher competent to teach the elementary branches of an English education shall be furnished.”
For 100 years after Fort Sumner Washington hardly tried to keep this promise, but Navajos soon saw that unless they could read the treaties and laws themselves, they would quickly lose everything.” (“Between Sacred Mountains,” Volume II, 1994). Many of us have exceeded elementary education. What has the Diné Nation learned from the Treaty of 1868?
It is quite obvious that our history has been ignored and neglected as evidenced by the recent catastrophic events in the face of the election fiasco. Our ability as a sovereign nation is being questioned by Diné voters, and the outside world is encircling our protected land within our sacred mountains. What has happened to our fundamental right to choose our leaders through the democratic process, a process that our sovereign nation has adopted from the outside world? Maybe we are not capable of self-governing?
Who are Dale Tsosie and Hank Whitethorne to steal 9,831 votes cast by enrolled tribal members during the primary election?
If anyone should be held accountable for this shambles of the “people’s election” for our president and vice president of the Navajo Nation, it should be these two individuals who have caused great harm, setback, and disharmony across our land. And their lawyers who are nontribal members, representing these two losing candidates of our primary election, are idly standing by to reap their rewards at the expense of our elective process, resting their case on a Latin word “fluent.” Their complaint should have been cast to the winds initially due to the timing of it being filed; was past the 10-day period. “Poor losers never make good winners” (THS basketball coach 1975).
So let us explore the word that destroyed our democratic process, ensured and granted by the veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, past and present. “Fluent” according to an online dictionary is Latin, meaning “able to speak or write smoothly, easily, or readily.” Linguistics tells students learning any language that there are various levels of being fluent and in my own personal experience that is very true. I can confidently say I have mastered and have command of the English language and that could be interpreted as being fluent.
I also have knowledge of Diné bizhaad of shima, shiamasani doo shi cheii, of the German language of my father and nellies, of French and Spanish of secondary education, and of Latin and Greek of graduate education. I am also fluent in these languages as well; being able to understand and comprehend could also be interpreted as fluency. The word “fluent” is so vague and open to many interpretations; maybe a better word would be proficiency if the language requirement remains. And by whose standard of testing will be used to determine fluency henceforth? So many dialects, slang, and colloquialisms exist within Diné bizhaad.
I commend the Board of Election Supervisors for protecting the Navajo fundamental law of allowing our people to choose their own leaders. Ahehee for protecting my vote that was stolen from me and the 9,830 voters when we cast our votes for the most qualified candidate to lead our Diné Nation into the future. Sorry you lost your jobs while upholding your duties, responsibilities, and obligations to all Diné voters.
Maybe it’s due to the despicable status quo of the quid pro quo society that plagues our government and administration. How is it possible that thieves, cheats, and scoundrels rule our nation with no accountability for their devious ways? There is something very wrong with this picture. It is not what you know or what skills you possess; it’s who you are related to in the governing band. Wake up my extended family!
Our money, our future, and our destiny is being squandered right before our eyes and we continue to look the other way. Enough is enough!
A sovereign nation has the ability to govern itself with the influence of its constituents, and you were elected to hold our voices sacred. Shame on you for not using your conferred abilities to protect our civil and constitutional rights to vote for the leaders we choose when the opportunity was presented.
As a professional Diné woman, I know the value of a good education. My parents and four grandparents instilled the propensity to seek and attain a higher education, which every human being is capable of doing with dedication, commitment, and sacrifice. Those of us who procured our degrees (I have three) know the experiences of endless hours of studying, the sleepless nights, the caffeine driven stamina to get through classes, the precious time away from family and friends to earn an 11×17 document to hang on our walls.
Young people of the Navajo Nation, I implore and challenge each of you to climb Chief Manuelito’s ladder and return to your ancestral roots to make desperate and warranted changes in the lives of our Diné Nation. The disparities in our nation are many and we should rely on the energy and enthusiasm of our young leaders to make a difference. Don’t let the current discord of the Navajo Nation dissuade you from building a career of your choosing. Be the best you can be, at whatever you choose to become, even if it’s the president of the Navajo Nation.
Eunice Annazbah Muskett
Mexican Springs, N.M.
Adopt-a-Grandparent program sends thanks
We would like to thank all of the individuals who gave a gift to a grandparent as part of the Adopt-a-Grandparent Gift Project by Department of Behavioral Health Services. Your kind hearts and generous thoughts brought a smile to many of our grandparents this holiday season. This year, gifts were delivered to Tsaile, Oak Springs, and St. Michaels grandparents.
Staff from Navajo Nation Judicial Branch, Navajo Nation Employee Benefits, Navajo Nation Worker’s Compensation, Navajo Health Education Program, Special Diabetes Project, Office of Diné Youth, Tséhootsooi Medical Center, Office of Environmental Health, Navajo Nation Retirement Office, Navajo Gaming Regulatory Office, Office of the President/Vice President, Navajo Housing Authority, Office of Election Administration, St. Michael’s Indian School, Indian Health Services, Window Rock High School, Office of Oil and Minerals, Department of Behavioral Health Services, Health Promotion, Navajo Times, and individuals that wish to share anonymously with a grandparent.
The spirit of Christmas was in the air as these individuals gave a gift to a person they had never met. Truly this will bring many blessings to each and every one of you for showing generosity during this holiday season.
A special thank you to the staff from the senior centers and the chapter that helped provide our office with the list of grandparents with a little wish list for each grandparent.
We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year.
Navajo Oil and Gas commend council decision
This week, at the request of the legislation’s sponsor, the Navajo Nation Council removed from their agenda a legislation that would have ratified amendments to the Federal Charter of Incorporation of the Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company, so that the company’s shareholder representatives and the board of directors could move in a new direction for the benefit of the company.
We commend Navajo Nation Council members in their decision to accept the consensus view of our board of directors and the newly confirmed shareholder representatives as well as several agency councils to reject Legislation No. 0220-14, which would have ratified the Bureau of Indian Affairs-approved Restated Federal Charter of Incorporation.
The consensus of the NNOGC shareholder representatives and the board of directors, after holding an annual shareholder meeting, is that, in place of the Restated Charter, a new Amended and Restated Federal Charter of Incorporation should be considered by the Navajo Nation Council.
During the annual meeting with the board of directors in December, proposed changes to the Federal Charter were discussed by the shareholder representatives, board members, and management in the spirit of k’é and biki’ yati’. The board and shareholder representatives came to consensus that the amendments pending ratification should be reconsidered by the Navajo Nation Council, in part because they removed important checks and balances, including the ability of the agency councils and the president to nominate directors to the board.
Over several days of discussions, the shareholder representatives and the company’s board and management reached consensus on an Amended and Restated Federal Charter of Incorporation that would retain the nomination functions of local agency councils and the Navajo Nation president and strengthen the safeguards in place over the company’s assets.
In furthering the stability of the company through these steps, the company and its sole shareholder, the Navajo Nation, remain focused on ensuring that the Navajo Nation’s greatest asset remains a source of financial security for future generations of Diné.
Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company
Invest in Chapters, not Twin Arrows
Picture this in your mind.newly remodeled building, including renovated restrooms, handicap access, pothole free parking lot, better design of building and better painted building. Now imagine graded or paved roads, housing, investment in education, small grocery stores, feed stores, hardware stores, auto shops, Laundromats, multipurpose buildings, and flea markets at each chapter across our nation. Wouldn’t that be a sound investment to better our nation?
(This would mean) jobs, revenues and taxes stay on Navajo. You travel less miles and use less gas by shopping local instead of Gallup, Flagstaff, Page, Farmington, Winslow, Holbrook and Cortez.
If only our Council delegates, president and tribal enterprises would start planning and investing in areas where our Diné actually live, instead of the “Twin Arrows Master Plan” which has already cost $25 million in land purchases and such. It’s estimated to cost additional $150-plus million dollars to do golf course, mall, museum, clubhouses, hotel, pools, roads, overpass, etc.
Twin Arrows Casino has not generated any revenue and is the worst money lost of $200 million dollars. Navajo Shopping Center needs to fix and upgrade all 10 of its property instead of envisioning “glittering mountain.” NHA needs to upgrade and fix 90 percent of the homes across the Navajo Nation as they are poorly made. Navajo Department of Transportation needs to pave the roads to Pinon, Black Mesa, etc., and fence and upgrade Navajo Route 15 from Greasewood to Burnside. Navajo-Hopi Land Commission needs to focus on the relocatees, as they need homes.
Last, but not least, Navajo Nation needs to build a water canal system that everyone can use instead of investing in Twin Arrows Casino Master Plan. Stop using our tribal money for a lost cause.
Council and president need to vote down and scrap all Twin Arrows Casino Master Plans and begin focusing on chapter infrastructure.
Write-in legislation, voters only hope
As the year comes to a close, I have seen very little effort out of Window Rock to calm the mess that these so-called leaders of ours have started. I believe that the simple solution to this whole ordeal is for our Navajo Nation Council to approve legislation 0383-14. It falls on our elected officials to represent the voices of their constituents. Also, this is the only solution to see if these individuals are really correct in thinking that the language fluency is a top matter amongst the nation.
Simply put, to Mr. Herb Yazzie, he has to put his own pettiness aside and respect and honor the people of the Navajo Nation’s wishes. He mustn’t continue to create “laws” to back your own agenda to further this debacle. If this legislation is approved then we as the people of the Navajo Nation will truly see if Joe or Russell are truly fit to be our leaders. This write-in legislation is to show if the two on the ballot at this time do have the support of the whole nation. A write-in candidate is the only way to resolve this issue and to continue to restore our hozho in ourselves.
In conclusion, our nation has been run by corrupted and greedy individuals long enough. It is time for us to truly change the way our leaders govern our government. They tell us we are a sovereign nation, yet how many times do we rely on outside assistance?
So to really change this debacle, we as the people of the Navajo Nation must request that our leaders listen and honor our voices, and not continue to hide behind false agendas to further their own.
Have a great and safe holiday to all the people on and surrounding the Navajo Nation.
Supreme Court rulings unjust
Happy Holidays from Totah to all good citizens of the Dine’ Nation. I am sitting in my sunroom wondering when the Supreme Court will stop making unforgiving decisions and/or rulings.
The high court’s dismissal of Myron McLaughlin’s appeal to overturn the lower court’s dismissal lifted my eyebrows and I decided to comment on it. The justices cited Mr. McLaughlin’s complaint was filed untimely. It’s about time the justices learned about the mandated 10-day filing period for grievance after the certification of candidates.
I wish there was something good to say about the ruling being made by the justices of the high court. The ruling does not only tell us Mr. McLaughlin’s filing was untimely, but it also tells us it’s OK for a disloyal person to be tribal president. Our tribal judicial system is becoming dysfunctional and is failing us.
The dismissal is another heartbreaker, which is unfair and unjust to the Diné voters. The same ruling should have been made against the two disgruntled presidential candidates about their untimely filing for grievance, which was 90 days after the certification of candidates and dismiss their appeals. Instead, their appeals were accepted and I am not able to comprehend the reasoning behind it.
I can’t help but to think the justices displayed an enormous amount of favoritism in accepting the appeals of the former disgruntled candidates, which later disqualified another presidential candidate. The justices need to be ousted without further due.
It is frustrating to see and hear another heartbreaking ruling by the high court against a loyal and credible individual, Mr. McLaughlin. He had filed a similar complaint as the disgruntled candidates and was shot down. The ruling is na•ve and unacceptable.
In my opinion, the current high court justices continue to hide the truth in their ruling against Chris Deschene. He would have been a landslide victor in the general election if the high court did not interfere.
The Supreme Court rulings have caused a devastating impact on our voting rights as the Dine’ people by invalidating more than 35,000 votes, which is unconstitutional. The previous ruling in favor of the two disgruntled presidential candidates should be reconsidered and scrapped taking into consideration their untimely filing for grievance, 90 days later.
In closing, I would like to say we need to bounce back and restore unity among the people and make our tribal government strong again using the by the people for the people approach.
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to express my views.
Remembering a great teacher
In the fall of 1985, I met Deborah Cayedito at the Phoenix Indian Center, Inc., where she was a coordinator. Twenty-nine years ago I didn’t know what the future would hold for me. Deborah assisted me with an orientation class called “How To Survive in the City.” I didn’t hesitate and I signed up for the two-week orientation. I was very fortunate and even to this day I still remember what she taught us.
A couple months back I saw her picture in the Navajo Times. She was working for the Navajo Nation Government Development. The second time I saw her picture she left us.
Deborah is a good teacher I’ll never forget. She didn’t give up on me. She called the Phoenix Job Corp Training Center for enrollment. At Job Corp I took carpentry and went on to the Carpenter’s Union Hall No. 906.
As of 2014, I am very thankful to the Lord that the Lord used her as a good tool to put me where I’m at today, a carpenter tradesman.
I will always remember Deborah for being my teacher. Thank you and farewell Deborah.
(Hometown: Holbrook, Ariz.)