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Letters | Quit wasting resources on only a select few

I recently looked in the paper and read about an effort by some tribal Council delegates to change Navajo Nation marriage law.

This seems very interesting in that the Navajo Nation has so many problems to deal with that some Council delegates have so much spare time that they can focus so much attention and time on changing a law that has been a longstanding effective tradition for our nation (Navajo Marriage Law 2005).

I hear and read about so many Navajo people needing housing, needing assistance, needing health care, needing jobs, needing utilities, needing educational assistance, needing protection for their children, needing assistance for consequences from domestic violence, help with substance abuse, help for effects of child neglect and abuse, just to name a few.

And what is the Navajo Nation Council doing about any of these needs? Except to allocate funds for themselves to the tune of millions of dollars for each delegate and spending valuable Navajo resources and time on changing Navajo marriage law.

I cannot even image how much Navajo Nation resources were applied in developing this proposed law. There must have been hundreds of legal hours spent doing work on this, not to mention the amount of research involved.

All this being done while longstanding issues affecting every individual Navajo has been neglected. I also wonder how many Navajos this proposed change in Navajo Nation marriage law would benefit and how this proposed law would alleviate the needs I have listed?

As I see it, every Navajo will be affected by this proposed change while thousands of Navajos will remain in desperate and critical need of every day essentials.

I would suggest this wasted work be put away and instead strongly address those long outstanding issues that have plagued our Navajo people for so long and get some meaningful results done.

Quit wasting our Navajo resources on only a select few, but address the needs of the majority.

Frustrated and disappointed.

Kobe Samuel
Thoreau, N.M.

We should respect one another

Some of us do not promise our relatives certain things, due to the fact there usually are obstacles that come to reside in the horizon.

Why do we criticize our Dineh tribal presidency? To me, our Dineh tribal president is doing a great job. If what we see any actions our Dineh tribal president ran on and he is not accomplishing it, then we should run for Dineh tribal president ourselves.

I am sure being a Dineh tribal president is a tough job. It’s probably like most jobs. We first see the fun that goes with the job. When we get on the wagon, we notice it’s not fun and easy, as we had first seen.

Sure, there were our predecessors who were our Dineh tribal presidents. There weren’t any obstacles like we now have…COVID-19. COVID-19 hit the whole United States. As we know, it hit our Dineh Nation.

Thanks to U.S. President Biden, from this came Hardship Assistance. Most Dineh indigenous received this Hardship Assistance. Never has a Dineh tribal president as Jonathan Nez helped our Dineh in different city areas.

And never has a Dineh tribal president as Jonathan Nez partnered with another person who was registered to another party. Yes!

Democrats are strong among our Dineh Nation. I’m sure because of this we have a U.S. president who is president. Democrats always fight for what is right and strong. We see this in our Dineh tribal government.

We should remember our grassroots. We have clans. We are told, “Respect your clans, don’t marry into your own clan, do not marry into another culture, it’ll cost you your livelihood. Pray to our holy fire, holy water, and both earth and heaven are holy, including the four directions.”

Then we were even told, “Respect your elders, even those that are handicap. If you don’t respect them you might go in their direction.”

With this, we should respect one another. Indigenous are loving people. Therefore, we should learn teachings of our Dineh Nation culture.

Pray for one another, so that we grow a strong, healthy prosperous life for one another. Whatever belief we instill in ourselves and family, may we all walk in beauty. God bless you all.

Dean Benally
Phoenix, Ariz.

Blacklisting arts group does not serve public interest

On April 4, gallupARTS was informed by Bob Zollinger, publisher of the Gallup Independent, that the paper would no longer provide news coverage about or run PSAs for its community events and programs, including ART123 Gallery.

In text messages, Mr. Zollinger stated, “My position is with ART123 buying ads from them (the Gallup Journey and Gallup Sun) and not us our news columns are off limits to ART123 until I see a change.”

He further stated, “It is not a quid pro quo but if we are not good enough for a paid ad from ART123 then we are not good enough for its announcements.”

These are alarming and incredibly disconcerting declarations. As the community’s newspaper of record, the Independent is entrusted to provide fair, unbiased, honest coverage of matters of concern and importance to the people of Gallup and the surrounding area without consideration for its own interests — and certainly not on a quid pro quo basis, as Zollinger himself acknowledges is inappropriate, yet, in fact, is precisely demanding.

What is newsworthy does not depend on whether the Independent is paid to report it.

The gallupARTS is a small nonprofit that manages on a shoestring budget. As was explained at great length to Mr. Zollinger, our organization literally does not have an advertising budget. The only time gallupARTS can afford paid advertising is in conjunction with specific grant-funded or contracted projects for which it is identified as a permissible cost and an approved budget item.

We at gallupARTS spend $1,500 per year at most on advertising. We sincerely value all of our local media partnerships, and, while we unfortunately have never had enough money to purchase radio spots, we do our best to honor those partnerships by advertising across outlets when we have the opportunity.

Contrary to what Mr. Zollinger may claim, it is not true that gallupARTS does not purchase advertising in the Independent. Mr. Zollinger cited the one and only ad gallupARTS has taken out this year (a half-page ad in the Journey) as evidence of a pattern of discrimination, yet the last time gallupARTS had funding for advertising (in December 2021) it took out a full-page ad in the Independent.

The Independent’s attempt to extract a few hundred dollars from gallupARTS comes at the expense of community members and local artists. gallupARTS provides a wide variety of free learning and enrichment opportunities for kids, families and adults that also serve to promote and support area artists.

Blacklisting gallupARTS disserves the community and debases the function of a newspaper as a steward of the public interest.

The gallupARTS operates with integrity and strictly upholds its mission of public service and commitment to the public good. We will not pay to play in any endeavor so antithetical to those values.

Suzanne Hammons, President
Orlando Walker, Vice President
Carol Sarath, Secretary/Interim Treasurer
Dana Aldis, board of directors
Martin O’Malley, board of directors
Gallup, N.M.


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