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Letters | Problems we need to address

After reading the Navajo Times, everyone, including myself, see dozens of jobs listed. There are some problems we all need to address.

First, all the jobs listed are only for the Window Rock area. This means interested Navajo people from across the Navajo Nation will need to move to Window Rock.

Anyone that has tried to move to Window Rock lately have found there is no housing in the area, including the Fort Defiance area.

Second, none of the jobs posted show the salary. Tribal government jobs need to show the salaries or at least the salary range. These are two major reasons the Navajo people will not pursue jobs in Window Rock.

We also have to remember that two-thirds of the Navajo people live off the reservation. Why? Because of good paying jobs and housing.

Businesses and companies off the reservation are very competitive. They pay top dollar for good employees and they treat them well. The tribal government is competing against those companies by trying to get some of those cream-of-the-crop employees.

The current salaries being offered on Navajo Nation are not even close to being competitive.

Because the Navajo Nation doesn’t have a growing economy this makes it hard to obtain basic goods and services. This is another reason Navajos move off the reservation to border communities or the cities.

This is why 225,000 of our Navajo people don’t reside on the Navajo Nation.

The upcoming candidates for president have a huge task to work with the Navajo Nation Council to start to make economic development happen.

For starters, the Nation has to become business friendly and embrace economic development if they are going to truly help the people. The current laws and policies of the Navajo Nation just don’t support/promote a healthy business economy in 2022.

Marie Rose
Shiprock, N.M.

Our ongoing relationship with states

For this week’s letter I wanted to offer my thoughts on Navajo Nation’s ongoing relationship with Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.

All three states share significant portions of the Navajo Nation. And all three states share a state-tribal relationship that is vital for all Navajo Nation residents.

The following is an example of the state-tribal relationship and how the Navajo Nation is not taking care of itself.

A recent article from The Guardian, titled “As drought shrivels Lake Powell, millions face power crises,” discusses the declining water levels of Lake Powell and its impact on the decline of hydropower.

Author Peter Yeung writes that Lake Powell’s water level is at 28% of 24 million acre-feet capacity and that if the water level drops another 32 feet then the dam will no longer be able to generate power.

The impact will be felt by Navajo residents in the form of increased utility bills as NTUA gathers 40% of its power by hydropower.

According to Yeung, “The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, which sources 40% of its energy from hydropower, estimates its operating costs will rise by $4.5 million this year, which will pass onto its 43,000 residential and commercial customers.”

That means Navajo residents will see an increase in their utility bills.

Yeung points out that the water flow will continue to drop as extreme drought in the Southwest is ongoing and the discussions of what to do next are slow in responding. Yeung also writes that the multi-billion-dollar agriculture business plays a major role as it accounts for 79% of the use while others say it is the “municipal consumption” in the desert region.

The Navajo Nation needs to take steps to protect themselves from these types of impacts.

There remains the uncontrolled growth of the Phoenix Metro area and the agricultural fields in the desert. The regions south of the Navajo Nation told us to shut down the 2,100-megawatt power plant, which was a source of low cost, reliable energy.

Then the state of Arizona took the 24,000 acre-feet water certificate back so the Navajo Nation couldn’t use it.

Now, with rising utility bills and declining water flow of which 79% is used to farm in the desert and the remaining for municipal use in the desert, the Navajo Nation leadership has yet to tell our neighbors to the south that their uncontrolled growth is negatively impacting the Navajo Nation.

First, Navajo Nation leadership allowed the state-owned entity, SRP, to dictate to the Navajo Nation that our energy contribution was not necessary anymore only because they were already building natural gas plants in the Valley. A move to secure jobs in the Valley for non-Navajos while at the same time hurting the Navajo Nation economy.

Navajo Nation leadership should have protected jobs. Navajo Nation lost 900 jobs.

Second, Navajo Nation leadership did not allow for federal intervention during the attempted acquisition of NGS, which led to the failure of the negotiations between NTEC and NGS owners.

Navajo Nation leadership should have maintained the ability to generate low-cost, reliable power.

The Navajo Nation is now in a weakened state, whose leadership has led us to increased federal reliance. I don’t think this is where we envisioned the once mighty Navajo Nation to be, but that is where we are.

Now, we’re going to find out that our NTUA bills will increase because of the choices made to purchase hydropower instead of pursuing a deal to purchase low-cost, reliable power from our own coal-fired generating plant.

The state of New Mexico has plans to shut down the Four Corners Power Plant and Navajo Mine, but they aren’t doing the same for the oil activity in the southeast corner of the state. In fact, they want to generate a hydrogen hub there while at the same time working to take valuable jobs and opportunities from the Navajo Nation.

The Navajo Nation needs to protect itself from those that want to hurt our economy and take our jobs. Navajo Nation leadership needs to take a stronger stance with our state neighbors, activists and offers in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

The first step is to protect our ability to use our natural resources and maintain valuable jobs that feed our economy. Then use those resources to benefit our Navajo residents.

Jarvis Williams
Kayenta, Ariz.

Learn more about Section 184

On Wednesday, July 13, 2022, a gentleman approached my vehicle at a rally and asked me to point out Debra Yazzie, who is a candidate for the Shiprock Council delegate.

I pointed her out and said you should meet her.

He stated that he was turned down for a home-site lease in Shiprock, where he lived for many years. The reason given was he was not from Shiprock.

I wondered if the law on home-site leases needed to be amended.

It is my understanding that a survey was conducted and housing was the number one priority.

Most Native Americans (I prefer American Indians) seem not to be familiar with the Section 184 Home Loan Guarantee Program.

To learn more about this program, google USDHUD NPONAP. Click on Northern Plains Office of Native American Program. On the right side, click on 184 Home Loan Guarantee Program.

Read all the articles on the left side then click on ”contact us” and click on “Section 184 staff directory – Room 4108.”

I hope this information will help members of federally recognized tribes of United States of America. Thank you and be safe.

Nancy Todea
Shiprock, N.M.

Don’t understand Zah’s endorsement

I don’t understand why Mr. Zah is recommending Biden’s people like Mark Kelly. Is he turning a blind eye, following blindly?

Does he not live in the U.S. of A? Or on the rez?

With all the screw-ups that’s going on, I think he should be saying let’s think about selecting new people that will do right for the people, not buying votes for freebies.

Ernest Jones
Chinle, Ariz.

My 3rd issue of the Navajo Times

I just received my third issue of the Navajo Times. I am a new (non-Native) subscriber. I picked up a copy of your paper when I traveled to New Mexico in 2017. I kept the copy and decided to subscribe for several reasons: I have Navajo friends, I have deep respect for the Navajo culture, I have rage and sorrow for ages of injustices and cruelties toward the Navajo, and all tribes, who suffered, and continue to suffer, through greed, domination, and this country’s ongoing struggle with inclusion of anyone “other/outside.” I read the Times to learn about Navajo day-to-day life in real time, to hear the stories from your own tongues.

I hope to gain a more informed view of the Navajo, and to grow the compassion, admiration, and deep regard that I already have for your people.

Phyllis Price
Blacksburg, Va.

Candidates’ outright lies and deceptions

This commentary is from simple observations driven by curiosity. The inquiry is once elected into public office, why is it our “highly-educated” candidates cannot fulfill their promises of an enhanced social order?

The candidates’ outright lies and deceptions or disengaged voters seem to not impact their political underperformance.

Candidates being new to public service is no excuse for not being familiar with the nature of our chaotic social structure. Like everything else these days, Navajo politics is an objective game of comparison and competition. Our history reveals, if political promises fail, what plays out is for personal gain.

Social media and newspapers indicate our reservation political candidates proclaim experience and possess credentials from the outside world. As assumed, in public health, human services, education, law, business-public administration, environmental issues, technical trades, or other proficiencies.

Such pursuits and challenges require mental endurance, memorializing, standards and practices, and logic. These endeavors are fine-tuned with related job experiences, monitored by obedience-driven licenses, ethics and codes. Candidates transformed their efforts into “an education of learning and earning” their livelihood within the dominant society.

Apparently from political standpoint of the dominant society, success depends on “taming the nature of the beast.”

Figuratively, taming is feeding the problem more money and the nature of the beast is the characteristics and function of their society.

It includes suppressive responses to social issues, environmental concerns and other self-inflicted wounds. All achieved with a mental and logical viewpoint and standardized techniques.

Their thought process is of an attitude of superiority, inferiority, or an odd sense of equality. There seems no room for individuality and creativity, especially uniqueness of self.

It seems ruthless and lazy to settle social issues to use conclusions from historic cases as templates. Like everything else within their social systems, collective emotional concerns quashed with standardized practices using plagiarized information and rigid procedures of law and order. They are proud of their “justice and equality for all.”

Now consider our reservation presidential candidates with their admission in their quests for information and knowledge from the dominant society, proven successful with their certificates of obedience to the outside world.

They claim to possess the tools, information, knowledge, and experience to serve as our servants. And our usual response to the initial question – “the candidates have the wrong tools, possess contradictory information and knowledge, and most lack experience as reservations servants, thus considered unqualified.” Jeez! Yadilah!

For our Indigenous society there is no beast to tame. Nature is our environment from earth to sky, exploited and desecrated by overlords.

As a society we seem equated to an abused, damaged, frightened child, yearning to be nurtured. Included are our few abandoned, hungry, spoiled brats. And the fortunate with latest electronic gadgetry to further enhance their laziness and mute communication.

Our policies of law and order seemed unenforceable. Our household trash littered everywhere. Our homeland is roughly 50 years behind the times.

Yet as we cling to our precious “resilience” deeply entrenched in our “learned” selfish ways, we are surviving. Our once proud culture and tradition slowly fades. Sadly, even a pandemic did not wake us to social change. Perhaps these are profound after-effects from our horrific history?

We, the Indigenous, have lost our instincts and foresight in choosing right tribal leaders. We seem to always choose candidates that are mirror images of ourselves, as in character and outlook.

Maybe we have become too gullible due to our laziness to conduct background checks on candidates. Whatever the case, we should not blame our aspiring candidates for our poor decision-making skills and non-participation in our election process. Obviously, the fault is ours, the voting public.

Still our curiosity yearns, as to who is the “serious tire-kicker?”

More than ever, there is a need to consider and participate in our society to heal and reconcile, thus we can communicate our innovations to our new chosen leaders for a brave new world. Why not begin now?

Robert L. Hosteen
Beclabito, N.M.


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