Letters: T’áá hwó’ ají t’éego

Am I a victim or survivor? Both. I’ve been victim to abuse (sexual, physical, emotional) and survived unimaginable traumas.

I’ve tried to keep it secret because telling people makes them feel uncomfortable. Imagine how I felt to actually experience it and then judged because I made it known. Then to be told it never happened, or worse, that I asked for it.

I see why women keep these things secret. There’s little benefit. The only benefit is that maybe, and it’s a big maybe, maybe someone reading your experiences will be brave enough to tell their story, too.

And stories are incredibly important, because stories are how we learn. Growing up on the rez, that’s how I learned. There needs to be stories of what women go through, especially Native women because we go through a lot.

When I finally told my family of my sexual abuse, a lot of my female relatives and friends told me similar stories that happened to them.

But why did they wait until it happened to me for them to share their stories? I wish I heard them long ago so maybe I could have guarded myself better. I wish I’d known to not trust every person I met. That even relatives can be evil. To watch for certain red flags in men and women. But we live in a culture that silences the victims and survivors, and believes the louder voices of those that abuse.

Our culture rewards the silence, anything to not pay attention to the snakes in the grass. Why? Aren’t our Native women important enough to protect? Imagine if it was your mother, sister, aunt, and finally your grandmother. Isn’t she important enough to protect?

It all starts with listening. Listening to these uncomfortable stories. Don’t encourage silence. Encourage listening and sharing of these uncomfortable stories. From these stories we can learn. Perhaps by telling these stories, maybe those snakes will learn that they are not in control anymore, that we are the victims and survivors and that we see them.

Crystal Kelly Ignacio, Colo.
(Hometown: Leupp, Ariz.)

Save Mother Earth

Moved back to Shiprock in 2011 and was pleasantly surprised that Shiprock Transfer/Compactor Station took in recyclable items. Now it only accepts cardboards. Most of us buy items contained in plastic like water bottles.

Our grocery items are bagged in plastic bags. Thankfully, City Markets have a bin for used plastic bags to be recycled.

Aluminum cans are taken to the recycling place.

While cruising through the internet in April, I came across a video about saving earth and watched it. I’d like to share the website of the inventions and hope our leaders can do more for our people living in the rural areas using inventions shown such as items 1 and 21 (https://www.yahoo.com/news/22-inventions-could-save-earth-192517499.html).

Kudos to the people picking up litter shown on Page 9 of the Navajo Times dated April 22, 2021, and everyone who picks up trash. We need to save Mother Earth, not defile her.

Nancy Todea
Shiprock, N.M.


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