Friday, January 24, 2020
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Letters: Same old thing, same old rhetoric

I probably won’t be voting this year in the tribal election. It’s the same old thing and the same old rhetoric. I have no confidence in the current administration and I have no confidence in the current candidates, too.

There are just numerous corruptions ongoing with the current leaders. Too many ma’iis.

The only time they remember us is only during election time. We’re always duped into voting for them and after they win we’re pushed aside.

When will there be some changes? There needs to be term limits for councilman/women, the main ma’iis that’s out for themselves.

Now they want raises. They are greedy and a lot of us live in dilapidated homes with no running water or electricity, especially our elderly. They just want to feed their greed and make life easier for themselves.

They look to the permanent funds for economic solutions when they have no ideas or solutions themselves.

All the 24 Council delegates need to be voted out and put new people in there starting with the speaker.

Casinos are no help, they are just eyesores along the highways. Their only payout is getting addicted to gambling, losing self-respect, domestic violence, drinking, and financial problems. They are just axis of evil.

J.R. Sanders
Thoreau, N.M.

A closer look at ‘wealth of a nation’

The “wealth of a nation” as voiced by our presidential candidates, as part of their platform, needs to be further unraveled for a closer look.

Their perceived wealth accomplished through socio-economic development and improvements. They encompassed revenue-generating ventures as in job creation (employment) through public service, construction of veterans’ housing, services for health care for elders, creating tourism, revenues produced from fines of white-collar crimes, and addressing other possible marketing strategies.

The use of our capital assets for fulfillment of a vision of what supposedly will be our socio-economic recovery is easier said than done. This monumental undertaking involves complete uprooting of established mindsets, habits, routines, and converting to a collective one-mindedness.

One candidate even generally stated, “Look at us, some families have a hard time with cooperation and compromise as they squabble over grazing permits and home-site leases!”

If this political initiative is to be a shared experience, who and how many of us are willing to focus and sacrifice for the greater good? And as with social experiments that hinder people from achieving their intention is the fear of the unknown.

Yes, this socio-economic recovery supposedly is a healing initiative, is challenging and demands basic virtues and commitments if it is to work. These qualities are communication, intuition, trust, competence, common sense, cooperation, enforcement, prevention and foresight, to state a few. And to further enhance an endeavor, perhaps some decency, common courtesy, civility, integrity, and patience.

However, there are critical and fundamental flaws with this political sales pitch. First, the concept of “wealth” for most citizens is possession of money, employment, fine-threaded clothing, food abundance, and access to other materialistic consumables.

They totally ignore the basics — having a strong stable culture, original ideas, cooperation, health, and spiritual well-being.

Second, the candidates presented their case as though our communities have healthy, physically able, cooperative, law-abiding, and willing citizens.

Thirdly is the oversight of the continued onslaught on our very existence, which short-circuits “the wealth of a nation.”

How can we take pleasure and enjoy social prosperity when we continue to ignore our deeply rooted, worsening, decaying social health factors, which paralyze us with fear?

To illustrate, about a century and half ago our ancestors were released from captivity at Fort Sumner. To this day their courageous endurance of an oppressive, deadly experience continues to haunt us.

And possibly an average of a fifth to a fourth of our population possesses disarrayed thought processes, including impaired physical conditions and functions. The symptoms from the “atrocities of captivity and thereafter, convenience” are what drive us to become so-called “civilized” in this push-and-shove, make-believe world.

Across our communities, we see the destructive effects of alcoholism, drug and substance abuse addiction, teen suicide, child/elderly abuse and neglect, sexual harassment, white-collar crimes, the parasitic tricks of assimilation, and other craziness.

Moreover, through heredity and environmental toxic contamination there is diabetes, variable personality disorders, uranium radiation exposures, physical-mental disabilities, etc.

And the political dilemma. There is the usual — “I want! I want this! I want that!” — from politicians who deal with monetary-related legislations. They react like juveniles in the playground bullying and beating each other up.

If they do not have it their way, they become parasitic. The “I want!” should be outlawed in politics, for it becomes a breeding ground for self-service to the temptations of greed, the elusive crime of opportunity.

The “wealth of a nation” depends on the “health of a nation.” Such a shame, how soon we forget to instruct our innate cultural wisdom and prayers — “In beauty, I walk. I am! I am healthy! I am that I am!” — and if we are truly committed to our social situational adjustment, the motivation begins with family. We seem to only move when something drastic impacts our daily life and, in our case, the apparent devastation of our Native world.

Well, we are in the midst of it — this is it!

Robert L. Hosteen
Beclabito, N.M.

Disappointed in coverage of presidents’ daughter

The coverage of Kara, the president’s daughter, is disappointing (“Is Karis back, through the back door?” Aug. 23, 2018).

The secret call to find out about her current employment is juvenile, small-minded and ill focused. The article reminded me of the National Enquirer, which sensationalizes scandal — people love a good scandal.

It’s time to grow and mature and do something different like transcending. Think outside the box. Why do these things happen? Do people choose to have an illness that wreaks havoc?

She has a right to work even if she may have a health issue. It’s sad when our community paper uses incidents like this to toxic shame one of our own. Like in the old days when the settlers would scarlet letter a person and the community would expose, ridicule, and judge the shamed person.

I hear the other side about this person wasting the opportunity and the irresponsibility and the use of presidential power. What is more important to you? This type of loser thinking? Or the need for compassion? What does the Bible say about self-righteousness? This type of attitude will come back to bite you and then you or your loved ones will be wearing the scarlet letter.

Why can’t the paper educate people about the disease of alcoholism and the denial of the problem that blocks a person to get help and the problem of finding appropriate culturally relative treatment?

I am still fuming that the Times did not print my article commenting on the domestic violence and its correlation with the bipolar disorder. This would have been more valuable than the scandalous article that is probably politically motivated anyway.

I dare your paper to print this.

Sharon Manuelito
Window Rock Ariz.

Questions about Miss Navajo pageant

The 2017 Miss Navajo pageant was a hoax. Many folks still talk about the event as a sore topic and of how injustice was grossly displayed without scrutiny.

I can still recall the events that unfolded when the winner was announced. The crowd’s reaction was one of bewilderment and shock, followed by critical comments made about the winner. There was no room for debate, as most people came to the same conclusion as I did. How does one who was among the last to finish, drop the carcass or, ak’iiz, during butchering, and still win the title?

Most have agreed that was an automatic disqualification of the contestant and as was mentioned in a letter to the editor of Navajo Times in September of 2017.

Yet, with another year and a new Miss Navajo pageant on the brink, this is a reminder of how ugly politics is and the willing to do anything at the cost of hurting others can take place and continues to play a role in every institution of our Navajo government.

To begin with, a scoring rubric and committee is put in place to ensure the impartiality of judging all contestants. Sadly, this was not the case because relatives are known to be a part of the judging, which questions the validity of the scores.

Further to date, cumulative scores were never returned to contestants for self-evaluation and improvement. Rumors are such that the tally sheets are missing or have been stolen. Sounds like a cover-up, but here is what made the 2017 Miss Navajo pageant seem so conspicuous.

Recap: If the ability to speak Navajo was among the categories that yielded high points, then the obvious true fluent speakers like Walker, Rockbridge, and Yazzie should have all had an equal chance at the title. Yet Walker was only honorably mentioned and Rockbridge came in second runner-up.

Next was the butchering category, which was the highlight of all events and puts the contestant in the lead, because in the past the first to butcher always won the pageant, no doubt.

Here again, Nez and Gorman didn’t render any points although they finished way ahead of time and with such precision. Then most obviously was Yazzie, who was first runner-up. Being selected for best essay and best butcher, winning two out of the five categories?

One would have already predicted that she won, yet fell short of also wining the title. The winner on the other hand, was not selected for best essay, photogenic, congeniality, nor best butcher, but still wins the pageant. How is that justified?

This only comes down to one conclusion and is reasonable to say that it did not matter how skilled or talented the other contestants were because there was already a winner.

Therefore, the Miss Navajo pageant has become an event in which its foundational principles in integrity, high moral character, true skills and talent, and transparency – none of which were a part of the scoring system.

If that is indeed what the Miss Navajo pageant has become, then that one person who held the title represented just that. So “congratulations” to the cousin that aided, and to all who were involved, because in contrary a true Miss Navajo is one of moral character, beauty, elegance, is drug free, has speaking abilities that can connect to her audience, shows respect, and has a talent of singing.

Although time has passed, I would recommend that an investigation be conducted. Our current president, Russell Begaye, the Rules and Ethics Committee, or the Naabik’iyati’ Committee, needs to be informed of what took place.

Also, to the former contestants and families, please do not let this rest, because it is never too late to find out the truth and you are certainly the heroes of our Navajo Nation. Hopefully this next administration will be transparent.

Marisa Yazzie
Shiprock, N.M.

Nation lacks environmental ethics

I am here today to express my concerns about environmental issues on the Navajo Nation. I’m an environmentalist and currently an advocate for the Shiprock pinnacle and have spent three years trying to advocate for change.

My concerns are with the lack of environmental ethics here in the Navajo Nation. We have problems with littering, geo-vandalism, botanic vandalism, overhunting, tourist bad behavior, tourist encroachment, and excessive animal slaughter. Consequently, all these environmental injustices go against the logic of environmental ethics.

Currently, Navajo Tourism, Navajo Forestry, Navajo Parks and Recreation, Navajo Fish and Wildlife, and Navajo EPA all have a passive approach to the natural world. Most chapters and their leadership are also passive as well. They aren’t basing any policies on environmental ethics.

These organizations are using pseudoscientific premises and poor environmental reasoning. Environmental ethics looks into the ethical relationship of human beings to the environment and uses logical principals for justice and sustainability. Therefore, these are the reasons why we have uncontrollable environmental issues here on the Navajo Nation due to self-serving biases that continue to plague our tribe.

I have raised these environmental issues with these tribal organizations. I advocated for the Diné Natural Law and environmental ethics. The reason I brought up natural law is because it relates to environmental ethics and it gives intrinsic value to the natural world.

I did get a very radical response from the public information officer of Navajo Tourism. She told me to take Diné Natural Law to the Department of Interior and that it has no meaning. Therefore, this should be a concern to the National Academy of Sciences and to Navajo people on how the Navajo Nation is poorly constructed in ethics and environmentalism.

What is even frustrating for me is how the Shiprock pinnacle is being promoted by non-Native tourism agencies and our tribal tourism while it is an underrepresented site, which is in large part of having environmental issues there at the site. It follows that these organizations shouldn’t promote underrepresented sites because no tribal entity is there to pick up the littering and monitor the site.

With the presidential election going on, I haven’t heard a strong environmental premise from any of the candidates. Most are concerned with economic ideologies that will never work due to the objections of grazing permittees. They’re wasting their time.

What I hope to happen within the Navajo Nation is to revive Diné Natural Law and create strong laws based on environmental ethics. People should be held accountable for exploiting the natural world here on the Navajo Nation.

All leaders should know better and do better. We have to be autonomous on the Navajo Nation because nobody does their job. We are at the very critical moment by creating an unsustainable planet. The Navajo Nation should be involved with the Paris climate agreement and other environmental agreements as well. We need to think for the next thousands of years for a sustainable biodiversity here on the Navajo Nation.

We should be respecting the natural world as ends in themselves. Thus, maybe the tribe should let us pantheists take over and do the environmental job since they undermine the credibility of environmentalism. Elah’kwah/Ahe’ehe.

Pesancio Anthony Lasiloo
Two Grey Hills, N.M.
and Los Angeles, Calif.


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