Letters: Some Diné hataalii statements false

I’m writing in response to the editorial submitted last week by the Diné Hataalii Association imploring the rejection of assisted suicide bills.

While I will not dispute the validity and importance of the DHA’s mission, the beliefs of the Navajo people and the threats posed by suicide to American Indian/Alaska Native people in general, I will point out that several statements made by them with regard to HB 47/SB 308 and similar bills passed elsewhere in the U.S. are patently false.

That is, assisted suicide is not available to the general public or the mentally ill. These bills are meant to be utilized by the terminally ill, people most likely facing disease trajectories of prolonged pain and suffering who do not exhibit signs of mental illness.

Mandated documentation of each step in the process reduces the likelihood of a person being coerced.

And yes, a person’s close friends and relatives are consulted as part of the process, but are not the instrument of the process. Furthermore, assisted suicides are rarely completed in states where they are legal.

I will go on to say that I understand that suicide remains of great concern, but no matter whether this bill is passed, the DHA should work to ensure that no person would ever feel the need to use it. Where the dignities and needs of the dying are not properly addressed, the state will be happy to step in.

Keep focus on the spiritual, mental and emotional well-being of people. Work to ensure the dignity of every person, especially during times of prolonged pain and illness, and they will not wish for death.

Barbara Nichole Gray
Albuquerque, N.M.

Voter coalition keeping limited operations

Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent setbacks, the Navajo Voters Coalition has kept limited operations going.

Our members have been involved in the local, county, state, and national elections. Our Native votes mattered in the 2020 elections and a heartfelt “thank you” to all those who voted, campaigned for your candidate of choice, or worked at a voting place.

We express our condolences for the loss of our loved ones during the past year. Now, the new congressional funding includes money for tackling the coronavirus pandemic across America, along with a massive vaccine distribution to quell the spread.

On March 5, 2021, the coalition board met in Flagstaff to elect new officers and to plan forward. Mr. Tom White Jr. is the new president, Mr. Steven C. Begay is the new vice president, Ms. Joanne Peshlakai remains as the treasurer, and Mr. Denis Tsosie remains as secretary.

The Navajo Voters Coalition supports the participation of the voters in all elections and supports meaningful and ethical candidates.

The group will meet monthly to address issues like voter suppression and redistricting in Arizona.

Denny Tsosie
Navajo Voters Coalition
LeChee, Ariz.

No help for veteran, mother

My mom’s name is Mary A. Benally. She is 95 years old. My name is Edward Silversmith. I am a Vietnam and Korea veteran.

We have been asking for help on housing repair on my mom’s house. The roof is falling apart. The flooring is falling apart. The water line is leaking and falling apart. The cement sidewalk and railing are falling apart.

We ask for help from Red Lake Chapter House, they always tell us there is no money. They only help family and friends. We have not had any help from all the food giveaways, and all the national help projects in the U.S.A.

Somebody burned down my house, an arson, three years ago, but still no help. Went to Window Rock veterans office and they always tell us “No money, fill out some more forms.”

I fill out 20 to 30 forms. I do not know if they throw away all our information.

I do not know what you are talking about when you say we help our own people. Maybe just your own friends.
Thank you and God bless you!

Ed Silversmith
Red Lake, N.M.


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