Letters: Let NTEC take over NGS

Salt River Project is bogus. Don’t be fooled by them again. SRP breached their contract with NGS and Kayenta Mine, which is the same company Navajo Nation Council is trying to partner with for renewable energy.

SRP is the same company who made a deal with the Navajo Nation to generate electricity through the process of coal mining. SRP is the same company who left 800 employees and their families in the dark by pulling out the plug only for greed without empathy. SRP made their profit and is scrutinizing the Navajo Nation again to make another huge profit.

Their transparency was precisely manifested that their desire was to gain revenue in their best interest and their only concern. It didn’t matter who was included as partnership. They breached the contract at their discretion. SRP made excuses instead of facing up to responsibilities as per contract. Of course, large corporations will lose money to maintain huge businesses and to keep up with new demands. SRP was most concerned with their CEOs’ and executives’ finances to be substantial to their desires. These individuals will continue to acquire hefty incomes. SRP is only interested in profiting from our nation.

Two years ago, a spokesperson for SRP made a statement: a unicorn appearance would be needed before the Navajo Nation to continue our business and operation. That sarcastic heartless remark was made while the Central Arizona Project board included SRP on their platform as we were in attendance expressing concerns to support the continuation of NGS and Kayenta Mine. Our efforts to save our jobs were ridiculed in the presence of our fellow workers and families. Navajo Nation Council eyes are still covered by wool while SRP is wearing the wolf clothes. Wake up, smell the coffee, don’t let them fool the Navajo Nation again.

Through experience, SRP used any means to obscure the cost when improvement or to better the company was too expensive. It is evident that SRP will pull out when it senses cost factors for the renewable energy. The Navajo Nation President’s campaign speech was based on transparency. Well … SRP is the company who pulled out after profit was made and broke the contract. SRP cannot be trusted.

What is wrong with NTEC? They are at arm’s length. Transparency will be obvious and the revenues will generate within the nation without outside intruders interfering with business. This will be truly Navajo Nation owned business. The Navajo Nation Council and NTEC are neighbors. Why is the Navajo Nation Council extending their aim past NTEC?

There is clear transparency instead of bypassing our own Navajo Nation businesses. NTEC has expressed interest twice to oversee NGS/Kayenta Mine operations. This was an opportunity for our nation to compete with big corporations.

About 50 years ago, the Navajo Nation Council made a deal with SRP to partner to operate NGS, Black Mesa and Kayenta Mine. Leaders were looking ahead for many generations to employ their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren to prosper through their efforts. Now is the golden opportunity for NTEC to take what was started and bridge many generations to come. It’s time the Navajo Nation Council elected delegates pull the wool off their eyes and let NTEC expedite their desired business as they had stated.

Leonard Bailey
Chilchinbeto, Ariz.

Grazing permittees control the land

The Navajo Nation is becoming a radical grazing society. I believe that most of these grazing permittees are dictating the land that prevents economic opportunities, home-site leases, and equitable appropriation for other Navajos to thrive. I also believe that grazing rights are becoming capricious, unethical, unlawful, and full of arbitrary. Most of these grazing officers are just as bad as these radical grazing permitees themselves. They abuse their power, operate on favoritism, and are inconsistent with ethics and are illogical. Consequently, grazing rights are just absolutely inequitable and fallacious.

I believe that most grazing permittees are also causing environmental damage from their livestock on the Navajo Nation. For example, in the Chuska Mountains, their livestock is adversely impacting the wildlife and adversely altering the composition of plant species that the wildlife relies on. They also outcompete the wildlife for water, forage and are harming riparian regions. Most of all, they are adversely impacting the recreational and aesthetic resources. Also, the grazing permittees are denying other Navajos the possibility to own land on the Chuska Mountains. Consequently, their livestock are overgrazing, becoming invasive, and they are dictating the mountain areas.

I also feel that the Shiprock Pinnacle is at the mercy of these radical grazing permittees. The Shiprock Pinnacle has been an underrepresented site that is suffering from environmental damage such as littering and vandalism. There also have been people who have been killed there. Of course, people drink and drive at the site as well. All these effects are continuing today. For years, Shiprock Chapter has been trying to pass resolutions for the tribal or national parks to take over, but again these radical grazing permittees keep opposing. Yet, they can sure consent to movies being filmed at the site. Consequently, the Shiprock Pinnacle will continue to experience environmental damage due to grazing rights.

In economic development, they are also in part of creating poverty on the Navajo Nation for greater economic possibilities that create jobs. Almost everything is developed by the roads on the Navajo Nation because of these radical grazing permitees. They don’t want any progress further out in their grazing areas. They also dictate home-site leases toward other Navajos who want to live on the Navajo Nation. They even fight and disown their own families for these senseless grazing permits. It’s unfortunate to see Navajos being kicked off their reservation into the border towns. Consequently, they deny the greater economic opportunities we demand and for other Navajo people to flourish here.

What is the meaning of a grazing permit? It serves nothing but greed and extreme radicalism. This is still government and trust land. We shouldn’t need a grazing consent to do anything. They need to recognize they are finite and are here temporarily. A grazing permit works like a lease. It doesn’t mean they own the land. This permit is a primitive atrocity. It shouldn’t determine our destiny. I think the Council, the president and BIA need to reform/reconfigure grazing rights. We can’t keep living like this forever. I’m beginning to realize livestock have more rights than the natural world and individuals. We need to get out of this radical grazing society we are in and have an equitable appropriation.

Pesancio Anthony Lasiloo
Two Grey Hills, N.M.

Vote yes to continue county jails

There is an important ballot question coming to Navajo County voters on Aug. 27. The Board of Supervisors is asking voters to approve a one-third-cent sales tax to continue the county jail system. This is in response to the closure of Navajo Generating Station, Kayenta Mine and Cholla Power Plant. The increase in sales tax is expected to generate $5.3 million per year for the next 20 years.

I believe it is a necessary response in order to maintain adequate public services for the residents of Navajo County. A one-third cent tax increase amounts to 33 cents on a $100 purchase. Small amount to pay for continued public safety services.

What does the Navajo Nation do in response to the closure of Navajo Generating Station and Kayenta Mine? They generate legislation (0073 and 0098) to kill oil production, a power plant and a coal mine in New Mexico. They want to kill more of your jobs and lose more revenue.

Then in numerous trips, they travel to D.C., with their hand out asking for more money from federal government. Does not make sense.

Further, Speaker Damon wants to increase the Council budget. We should be embarrassed and infuriated.

Navajo County has reduced valuable public safety positions already and will continue to reduce another 20-25 percent if the ballot is not passed, but in order to maintain a decent level of public safety, the County Board of Supervisors are bringing a solution to voters.

They are not foolishly increasing their budget without any solution like the Navajo Nation Council. Navajo County Board of Supervisors is being responsible and has the best interest of their residents in mind.

This Council is being negligent and irresponsibly rewarding themselves by increasing their budget while losing jobs and revenue then watching as the rest of us suffer with no jobs and reduced services.

What kind of leaders did we elect? Surely, we didn’t put them in office to do what they’re doing. Who are they listening to?

We need more jobs. We need better public safety, better leadership. Vote yes on Prop 421.

Remove Legislation 0073-19 and Legislation 0098-19.

Jarvis Williams
Kayenta, Ariz.

Find a way to save NGS

To every chapter community, please send in a resolution to our leadership to immediately stop the process to do away with employment at Navajo Generating Station in Page, Arizona, and the mine at Kayenta.

Due care is not being used by our leadership’s decision. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered related to shutting down the plant and coal mine.

Please take into consideration our children’s future. The employment at stake will cause major harm to many families and to us as a tribe.

Clean energy has not really proven itself yet. Our tribe does not have money to start laying solar panels and windmills across our land.

Our late president Leonard Haskie used to phrase “patience” and “assessing a problem from every angle” before making a decision. Our current Council and president need to listen first and read the editorials every week.

Who is really behind this process to shut down our resources to live? Is there money under the table coming into Window Rock?

Years back, we had been taken with cheap royalties for our oil, gas and coal until President Zah put a stop to it.

So, please, keep our people employed by stopping the process to shut down our mine and power plant with your resolution to our leadership. Keep our late president Haskie’s words in mind.

Clean energy needs to be discussed carefully. Our elderly’s words were “There are two sides to every thing: good and bad.”

Care about the future of our kids as you care about your family at home.

To our tribal leadership, our Navajo people need good paying employment here at home and the best in retirement pay. Our umbilical cords are buried here on our tribal land.

To our tribal Council, do away with paying yourselves for every meeting you attend and donate some of your time to the tribe.

We are the children of our mother that wrestled a Spaniard into the canyon at Canyon De Chelly. We have been to Hweeldii. Please think back and use it to decide.

Bobby Watchman
Sheep Springs, N.M.

St. Michaels school to hold reunion

I have previously read school reunion announcements in the Navajo Times for some Bureau of Indian Affairs off-reservation boarding schools such as Intermountain in Utah, Riverside in California, Chemawa in Oregon, and Phoenix.

These off-reservation boarding schools were closed over 50 or more years ago, but their former students still get together every spring and summer. I salute them for their firm dedication in getting together in their 80s perhaps.

Since I was a student at St. Michaels Indian School during the 1950s, I would like to announce a school reunion planning to be held at St. Michaels Indian School on Friday, Sept. 6, in the school gym from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

This school reunion will be held in collaboration with the school personnel, Renee Tsinnie, who oversees alumni relations. She will give a tour of the school campus buildings where changes have been made. Our last school reunion was held at St. Michaels Indian School on Sept. 24-26, 2010.

The purpose of the meeting is strictly to socialize with one another, especially with classmates and/or dorm mates. Mic will be available for anyone to talk about their life experience since he or she left school.

My life experience is a simple one since I left in 1957. I applied the concept and the old adage saying, “When opportunity presents itself, do not reject it, but accept it wholeheartedly,” which I have done with most of my job offers.

A month after my graduation from the University of Denver in Denver, the Navajo Nation Public Service Division called me to offer me a job as a tribal welfare worker in Fort Defiance Agency.

Do not be too surprised if you do not recognize me with all my old-age symptoms like big ears, large nose, white hair, with a cane, not able to hear right and can’t remember names and places.

Not long ago, I had a chance to visit with my former dorm mate friend, Herbert Yazhe, who was waiting to see his dentist. He kept looking at me and I kept looking at him to see who he was and I was afraid to go up to him and asked if he was so-and-so until they called his name and certainly I wanted to visit with him which I did. He was in a hurry but we did exchange some information with a pleasant smile.

At other times, I have met with some of you at some stores in Gallup, so let’s all get together and get reacquainted before its too late like some of our former students who recently left this world: Lee Mitchell and his brother, Leo Mitchell, and their uncle, Carl Jones, from Mexican Springs.

Others include: Mike Allison Jr. in Tohatchi, and Thomas Notah Sr. in St. Michaels. We pray that their spirits rest in peace.

It would be nice if you could bring school annual book and I will bring the 1957 annual book for viewing but do not take it with you — “just kidding”. Let’s all expect to have a good and wonderful time. Bring your spouse and/or a friend. Registration fee of $30 will be collected to be donated to St. Michaels Indian School.

If you get a chance to read about this school reunion planning, please call me at 505-870-0998 or email me at applejones1938@yahoo.com.

Since I know where some of you former students live in the Navajo community chapters, I would like to designate some of you to help with recruitment and contacting students as follows:

Anthony and Patricia Harvey will contact students in Lukachukai and Crystal chapters; Edison Jones and David Charley will recruit in Mexican Springs, Coyote Canyon, and Tohatchi chapters; Stanley Martinez and Samuel Woody will contact students in Chinle and Many Farms chapters; Elvira Hickson and Paul Lincoln will recruit in St. Michaels, Fort Defiance, and Hunters Point chapters; Lenora Beecher will contact students in Laguna and Acoma Pueblos; Lloyd Polacca and Delbert Fritz will contact students in Polacca, Arizona; Joe Stesbistay and John Bowannie will recruit students in Zuni and Cochiti Pueblos; Justin Sorrelman and Lucy Zahaunnie will contact students in Phoenix; Rosalie and Alice Kellywood will contact students in Albuquerque; Virginia Knoki will contact students in Denver, and Mitizie McCormick will contact students in Pauma Valley, California; Richard Analla and Marie Upshaw will contact students in Gallup; and Richard Mike will recruit in Kayenta.

Recruiters, please do your best in contacting students for the 50s and 60s school reunion.

Irvin Jones
Gallup, N.M.

Consult the people on energy policy

For months, the Navajo Nation Council has debated the fate of a proposed 2019 Navajo Nation Energy Policy. The latest move on July 17 by the Council referred the legislation back to the Resources and Development Committee.

That move is the latest misstep in a series of efforts to deny one fundamental voice into a policy that will affect over 300,000 Navajo people. Bill sponsor Elmer Begay failed to bring the proposed 2019 Navajo Nation Energy Policy directly to the Navajo people for consultation and input.

The beauty of the 2013 Energy Policy is that the Navajo people were given an opportunity to have their say on the legislation. Now the proposed 2019 version of the Energy Policy, which calls to rescind the 2013 Energy Policy, fails to incorporate the thoughts and views of the Navajo people.

Rather, the Honorable Begay only sought recommendations from a small selected group of people who have a singular view for the future. For the 2013 Energy Policy authors and (leaders) began collecting the opinions of Diné, which took three years to write before voted and being signed into law.

Granted since 2013, the view of energy development has changed with the push to support renewable forms of energy. The Navajo Nation would shortchange itself by failing to seek the thoughts and input of the Navajo people who’d be affected by a sweeping change in energy policy.

For generations, the Navajo Nation has been blessed with natural resources such as oil, gas, coal, helium, and rare earth metals. The extraction industry has served Navajo well and has been the bedrock of the Navajo Nation general budget, a source of revenue that benefits all the people.

With the addition of renewable energy, the Navajo Nation only increases its potential wealth. However, Navajo can’t move forward and singularly embrace renewables without a responsible transition plan, especially since the funding of critical programs and services that help our Navajo people are currently generated by the extraction of natural resources. It’s only fair to ask the Navajo people what they think about their services being potentially reduced or even eliminated.

In addition, supporters of changing the Energy Policy are sharing limited opinions of Navajo traditional philosophy that fits their argument. They say we need to leave the earth as it is. Meanwhile, another traditional view exists that says our Mother will always care for her people.

Natural resources come from our Mother Earth and are given to her people to improve their quality of life. Not everyone shares the beliefs of the outside non-Navajo people who proudly chant “Keep it in the ground.” They may never understand Navajo motherhood in relation to her people.

Opinions can vary among our Navajo people, but without consulting them we will never know what they think about a policy change that directly affects them. Our nation has more than 300,000 people with more than 170,000 people living on the Navajo Nation.

Yet, the 2019 Energy Policy would be written by a dozen people a majority of whom weren’t elected by anyone. This means 110 Navajo chapter communities and their members would not have a voice in the creation of a policy that could further limit the energy capacity of the Navajo Nation.

Nonetheless, some will agree that renewable energy should be embraced. This is not a disagreeable point. The question is: How we will get from here to there without a sound energy road map?

The truth behind the proposed 2019 Energy Policy is that there is no plan. Nothing for the Navajo people to even consider. When you don’t have a plan for the people of the Navajo Nation to consider, then the policy essentially does not have any resemblance of the values of 300,000 Navajo people.

The proposed 2019 Energy Policy would simply be a backroom deal void of input from Diné.

Anthony Peterman
Kayenta, Ariz.



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