Sunday, July 12, 2020
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Letters: Let public haul coal for heating

The now closed Black Mesa and Peabody Coal Mine (company) should leave the public coal delivery open so the public can still haul coal out in their personal vehicles, especially in the winter time. Coal is totally a better source of heat used in a woodstove.

Firewood does not burn as long as coal does. Therefore, there is not enough heat to warm up our homes, hogans and dwellings.

Coal was readily available, it was cheaper than firewood and chapter houses provided coal cards.

Some of us can’t afford to get firewood, and have no vehicle to haul wood and no chainsaws.

We all knew this was coming. The dismal tide back in 2004, but there was no planning stage set.

Now the coalmines are shutting down and some of us are left out in the cold. Re-open the coalmines?

Larry Smith
Gray Mountain, Ariz.

NTEC took big risk with Nation’s company

The latest news on Navajo Transitional Energy Company not getting the Wyoming or Montana permits and bonds is alarming. It was clear from the beginning that NTEC CEO Moseley was taking a big risk with the Navajo Nation’s company.

More alarming is that NTEC board of directors allowed this purchase to proceed. The writing is on the wall for NTEC because the state regulators in both Montana and Wyoming are not giving in to the company. They want more assurance that NTEC will not leave the state taxpayers holding the bag if NTEC goes under. All the mines are bleeding in the Powder River basin.

It’s time now to have Navajo Nation leadership make a serious change. That change needs to start with the board of directors. This is a Navajo company and there are other professional Navajos that can step in and lead NTEC in the direction that the Navajo people want.

We have also heard rumors that the CEO has made racial statements towards the various chapters and chapter officials as they request support. This behavior should never be allowed.

Yet the board of directors continues to allow the CEO to not come before the people and explain his actions and comments.

Navajo Mine employees have also stated that support for the local chapters has almost all gone away since everything is now located out of Gillette, Wyoming.

President Nez has clearly stated the direction he wants the enterprises to move, which is in a green direction. Yet NTEC board of directors and CEO continue to move toward fossil fuel growth and development.

The president’s office has taken steps to get the new energy agenda moving. NTEC management has been nowhere around to support the president’s effort. Now the Navajo people are requesting and demanding change to NTEC management.

Now is the time for that change with President Nez’s energy agenda.

Paul C. Scott
Shiprock, N.M.

We are still being dehumanized

Twenty years ago, I was the first Native American hired at ESPN The Magazine.

Twenty years ago, ESPN The Magazine was the first national publication to run a story on the Indian mascot issue in sports — ironically it was the Super Bowl special issue.
Twenty years ago, I didn’t think this would still be an issue.

A few days ago, I watched the movie “Jojo Rabbit.” The premise of the film is a boy who believes in Nazi ideology during the last year of World War II. He is told that Jews had horns, tails like devils and ate small Nazi children.

Along the way he begins to learn that Jews are human — and the fact that we the viewers start to feel for this shamelessly Nazi boy feels absurd. Yet it’s absolutely necessary. Jojo is told that Jews are human, but because we must be reminded of how easy it is for children to be indoctrinated into hate.

I left the theater feeling this is what’s happening to Native Americans, too. We were and are still being dehumanized — thought to be savages — not human.

This weekend was the NFL Super Bowl. The Kansas City football team brought thousands of their fans to Florida and those thousands brought their hateful, dehumanizing “Indian” chant and tomahawk chop.

And not only that, but some fans came with face paint, red-painted faces and wearing headdresses — believing this is honoring Native Americans.

I wonder what their children think? Daddy looks silly. Daddy is cool. I want to be like Daddy.

It’s been 20 years since I first pitched my story to ESPN. Who would’ve thought this issue is still alive.

While writing this and thinking about this weekend makes my stomach sick and my heart hurt for all the children who will witness this mockery of my people. Why? Because they won’t know what’s right from wrong.

Twenty years from now, I hope our grandchildren will finally know what’s right.

Eugene Tapahe
Provo, Utah


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