Letters: Politicians avoid issue of homeless Diné

The one issue that has not been brought up by any of the Navajo Nation presidential candidates in the 2018 elections is the homelessness of Navajos in border towns and on the Navajo Nation. More than likely this is one topic that will be avoided because of the disconnect that prevails in their personal lives.

There is practically no support in both places, especially if you are a male and without shelter. The discrimination against you is a major factor in your daily effort to try to stay alive.

There is no support, no resources and no governmental departments that specialize in the aid and assistance to get you out of the endless cycle of depression and poverty. There are a few churches, humanitarian groups and kind individuals who actually search out the homeless and serve meals, provide clean clothes, hand out blankets for nightly warmth and provide direction for job searches. In Gallup, the only one that searches for you is the brutal Gallup Police Department “Protective Custody” officers that roam the city 24/7 looking for those they deem inebriated and will not speak up for themselves.

The violence is unending. The rampant youth gangs, hostile attitudes, lack of cultural foundations and family ties and police brutality come uninvited every hour of the day. The elder abuse is apparent when they are only contacted at the beginning of the month when they get their monthly check and then abandoned again.

The robberies, murders and rapes flourish unabated. The abundant alcohol is a factor whether it is at home and they are kicked out to fend for themselves. You see this on their faces that are black and blue with limbs wrapped and bandaged. The drugs are easily accessible with methamphetamine use on the rise with the disillusioned youth along with teen pregnancy among the young female street population.

The local detoxification center in Gallup is worse than the state “Mini-Max” with the beatings that occur within the walls that are unreported, the thefts of jewelry, cell phones and money (recently $12,000 was stolen from one man and fortunately was later recovered) and the inhumane conditions that are despicable.

If there is to be an official inspection, it should be done unannounced so the NCI administration and staff cannot cover up the violations of all standards that should protect those incarcerated in there.

The unfriendly Gallup mayor is the lead character in this Wild West show as pointed out by the local media with the illegal amount of liquor licenses (over 30 by state statute) who condones this bacchanalia at the ongoing Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial “Wine Tasting” on Aug. 8 and the other events downtown and other places where alcohol is served (the downtown “walkway,” art galleries, clubs, etc.) here in “Drunk City, U.S.A.”

If Gallup is to ever establish a good neighbor policy, the leadership should support the prospect of rebuilding and supporting an Indian Center where Ke’ can be re-established among the Natives that end up in this town also called “The Indian Capital of the World.”

Mervyn Tilden
Church Rock, N.M.


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Categories: Letters