Letters: Thanks for sympathy

Thank you for the support and comfort you provided. We appreciate your thoughtful donations in memory of Emery Boyd. We are grateful for family and friends like you at this time of sorrow. We appreciate having you with us at this difficult time in our lives. May God bless you as you have blessed us. Thank you.

Roberta Boyd and family
Rabbitbrush, N.M.

‘Obnoxious shenanigans’ happening

There are obvious obnoxious shenanigans happening in the Diné Nation that somehow keep getting ignored decade after decade by everyone we look to for leadership.

The number one example of this idiocy is telling our children, “Go to school, earn a degree, then come back to help your people.” Are we to believe that there are more jobs on the reservation than we can handle? The thought is a mind-numbing joke. Right? What our tribal leaders should be telling our children is, “Go out into the world and enjoy the wonderful world of capitalism and get wealthy. Don’t come back to the reservation and this world of socialism we’ve created, where tribal and federal governments own and control everything.”

The absolute truth is that over 84 percent of all jobs on the reservation are government jobs in one form or another. The Navajo Nation has no economy and our educational system is just a money-making racket for outside interest and a propaganda machine for America’s demise.

Our tribal leaders, more than anything else, are part of the problem. They refuse to accept the fact that the Diné Nation is beyond over-regulated. In the Diné Nation our Diné are subject to over 10,000 rules, regulations, policies and codes (law), while the rest of the population of the United States are subject to less than 4,000 of these control factors.

Too much control by big government is the root of all the problems our Dine’ have to deal with. Some of us would really like to know where any government program has ever solved one of our problems. We ask this because there is no evidence of that ever happening at any time in Diné history.

Has anyone ever wondered why we don’t have an economy? Has anyone ever wondered why our educational system is failing our children? The sooner we can answer these questions the better for all Diné.

These shackles of government control cannot continually be ignored. These chains of government overreach affect every area of our lives and it is not healthy if we want to survive as a people. Any form of government that functions to control lives is an oppressor. Like it or not, that is a factual nightmare we need to wake up from. Every issue destructive to Diné life needs to be discussed and debated in an open form in a non-hostile setting.

Maybe at least we can agree to identify some realistic directions for our children’s future.

Wally Brown
Page, Ariz.

Article did not tell the whole story

In an article in the Navajo Times about my son, Tyrone Robert Tom, on Sept. 5, 2019 (“Man arrested in stabbing of store clerk”), my son was not fired from the police department. He resigned.

I don’t know what happened on Aug. 24, 2019. My daughter-in-law Tracy Tom’s mom, Vangie, called us at 4 a.m. and told us that my son Tyrone got arrested and Tracy and baby are at the ER at Kayenta Hospital. My husband and I went to the ER to check on my granddaughter Nizhonie and Tracy. There’s no bruise or redness on my grandchild’s face. Yes! We saw bruises on Tracy’s face. They were both discharged so we went to Tracy’s mom’s house where we saw the baby and Tracy.

I know what my son done that night is wrong. It’s his post-traumatic stress disorder mixed with alcohol that triggered all that anger. Nobody said anything about my son serving the country as a Marine where he did three tours of duty in Iraq and served the Navajo Nation as a police officer and that he got hurt on the job doing his duty where he was kicked in the face by a defendant that he was arresting with his nose broken and his eye socket fractured.

All the good things he’s done for the Kayenta Police Department, the task forces he went to training for, the presentations that he did for the schools, and the lives that he saved when there was accidents and shootings going on, and the man he saved from a burning house …that’s my son.

My husband, my children and all the extended family stand behind him to support with prayer ceremonies. We are doing everything we can to help him. We have four veterans from this household: Two Navy and two Marines.

My oldest son, Duane N. Tom, is also a Marine for four years, re-enlisting as a New Mexico National Guard. He also did three tours in Iraq and is a wounded warrior. He got wounded serving in Iraq. He also went through a lot dealing with PTSD and drinking was a way to cope, to numb the past trauma.

We, as a family, stood beside them and are proud of their service. That’s how much we love them. My husband and I and all our extended family are standing by them with prayer and support. Nobody understands what they went through while serving overseas.

He also has flashbacks about shootings he encountered while in Iraq serving our country and how they put their lives on the line day and night. So is a police officer. They are out there every day and night to protect the community.

I thought the Navajo Nation was going to support my son and stand by him. As a veteran, he’s crying out for help. They just made it worse by dragging his name through the mud by putting that article in the paper without knowing the facts.

This incident should highlight how limited resources are for veterans on the Navajo Nation that’s affected by PTSD. My son is living with trauma.

Your article missed the opportunity to shed light on this important issue that also affects the rest of the veterans in the United States and how the Navajo Nation Police Department either ignored or bluntly did not know how to handle such an issue.

Dorothy Watson
Blue Star Mother
Kayenta, Ariz.

Our experience at the fair

This note is to highlight our visit to the 73rd Navajo Nation Fair. In past years we quit going to the fair as it was very disorganized, especially the parade. This year, 2019, our family decided to try again and we ventured out of Albuquerque. We were very fortunate to have a room at the Quality Inn for two nights.

The general manager and her staff, hotel and restaurant were outstanding and very well trained. They were all very up front, cordial and made us feel very welcome. The staff were very well attentive, not only to our family but to all patrons that came to Quality Inn complex. The room and food were great. Thank you to the general manager.

We ventured out to the fair grounds. We were again very pleased with how well the grounds appeared and we again felt very comfortable. The rodeo was great. The maintenance personnel hired to make sure the grounds were free of discarded trash were seen out among the visitors picking up trash. That was good. Too bad people do not clean up after themselves, but throw trash on the ground.

There were trash bins located throughout the fairground, but still yet people saw fit to not utilize the bins. Everyone, I am sure, were taught to respect Mother Earth as this is where we walk, live and grow our food so we can survive. Majority of the people remember what teachings they have received, but there are ones who have simply forgot the teachings they received. These are the ones who make it bad for the rest of us.

The security was great and they did their utmost efforts in providing security. The men and women security were very upfront, cordial and again met our needs. We saw them talking and joking around with the people. Laughter is good medicine. Thank you to the main security office.

The fair parade was very well organized and we had a lot of fun observing the parade and the participants who entertained the many Dineh and other visitors along the parade route. We walked away with three bags full of goodies the participants gave.

The second night we went to the evening performance. The moderator was outstanding and kept the audience entertained. Thank you, James, for your talent and always being cordial and up front with the audience. The cultural groups performing for this year’s fair were also very professional and talented.

Before the evening performance, we met and had a very good visit with Mr. Jonathan Hale. We expressed our gratitude to him for all the work that went into the planning, organizing and coordinating the 73rd Navajo Nation Fair. He expressed his pleasure and welcomed the feedback on what our observations were. He asked us for continued support.

Thank you to the fair manager, coordinators and all others involved in the planning, organizing and coordinating this year’s fair. The 73rd Navajo Nation Fair was a success as what we saw and experienced.

Everything was all to the positive, except for the following. We needed some assistance when we were in dire need. We flagged down a Navajo Police vehicle with two officers inside. We explained the assistance we needed from them, if at all possible. The officers quickly let us down by stating, “We are assigned to patrol the fair and we don’t give that type of assistance.

” We suggested maybe they could use their radio and alert officers in the area of where we needed the assistance. We were again denied and told to call the dispatcher in Window Rock. The officers simply overlooked and probably don’t remember their slogan of, “To protect and serve.”

Having been in the criminal justice field for 37 and a half years, eight years in uniform and 29 and a half years as a federal agent, I was really dismayed by the officer’s attitude. All during the time of being at the fair, not once did we see police officers walking around and directly communicating with the many visitors at the fair. We just saw them in their units driving around. There again, the officers are not practicing “community policing.” No wonder the general public does not trust law enforcement officers.

The basic reason is community people do not know the officers, as they are glued to the inside of their police vehicles. Police officers need to stop and get out of their units and meet the people on a one-on-one basis. We were at the evening performance on Saturday night enjoying the cultural event.

Right in the middle of the cultural performance, the president and vice president and their wives showed up. They started to toss trinkets and other things into the crowd. With spectators hollering, attempting to catch what articles being tossed amongst them, this severely caused a disruption of what was going on within the performance ground. My daughter made several attempts to call the rudeness to the president and his wife’s attention, but they both ignored her and continued to toss articles into the crowd. My daughter was able to get the attention of the vice president.

The vice president was kind enough to stop and listen to what my daughter had to say about the rudeness and disruption caused by the president and his wife. The vice president politely listened and after that, he said, I will call this to the attention of the president. If this was not enough, right in the middle of the cultural performance, the president and his wife stood right in front of where we were all sitting.

My daughter politely asked the president and his wife to move as they were blocking our view and we could not see the performance. The president just laughed about what was said. The president and his wife did not offer any type of apologies about their rudeness, behavior and the interruption they caused.

I am sure the president will not tolerate nor appreciate disruptions right in the middle of his speech or whatever he was doing. He needs to practice what he preaches and set positive examples. I started thinking about whether the president was aware of protocols involved in a throw or giveaway. The Dineh and other tribes’ culture and teaching on being generous by giving were one way. The teaching is if you are to give anything to another, article(s) to be given are given from the heart and with meaning. I saw what the president and his wife were tossing out into the crowd was meaningless as what they were throwing into the crowd was probably not purchased by them solely. The articles are probably purchased utilizing Navajo tribal funds.

This writer is a member of the Navajo Nation and has a census number. I have and will continue to vote in the Navajo tribal elections. I am 79 years old and my wife is 76 years old and she is an Ojibwa from North Dakota. We both practice the aspects of Ke’, respect, compassion, being considerate of others, and are actively involved in the teachings to our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Thank you all my relatives for reading this. May the Creator bless all of you.

Frank Adakai
Albuquerque, N.M.

Be vigilant, protect your art

I am making this effort in contacting you as a means of sharing my personal experience as the 2019 Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial poster artist. I am a Diné/Hopi woman from the community of northwest New Mexico in Tótah, New Mexico, and I am a citizen of the eastern region of Navajoland from the area of Dzilnaodithle, Huerfano, New Mexico.

I am a Navajo woman painter and an alumnus of the University of New Mexico, where I earned a master’s in education with emphasis in Indian education and work in the San Juan Valley community as a cultural and art educator. I am sharing this information with the public as a means of educating the Navajo community of artists to be vigilant and to protect your art. In 2018, when I entered my artwork to the annual Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial event, my only efforts were to exhibit my work in the gallery, but then I learned that one of my pieces was chosen for the 2019 poster.

I was surprised to say the least. The first time I ever viewed the official GITC poster was on the day I arrived to the event on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. I found the poster had my art image on it, but no credit to the artist. No artist name or title of the work printed anywhere on the poster.

As a Navajo/Hopi woman artist, I was not credited with the art on the poster and that is a great disrespect in my view. My experience as the poster artist continues to be problematic and will continue to be a stressful ordeal for me. I would advise that no artist should be subject to this kind of negligence and disrespect.

As a lifelong New Mexico artist I know I have been taken advantage of. My artwork is important to me and I put my full efforts, experience and education, the creative way into what I do. From my 20 or so years as a professional female artist I know my art was taken advantage of, as was I.

At the time I found out my work was going to the on the 2019 poster I was not given any other information about the process. There was not contract or stipulations presented for me to view and review, I was not asked for my input on the plans for the poster. And I did not approve of my art being used on any other Ceremonial products to be marketed and sold. This is a serious matter, I am a professional artist, and I know what I deserve and am aware when I am being taken for a ride.

The fact that I was not made aware that my art would also be on T-shirts, pins, wine labels, etc., and other items I am not aware of is despicable. To this day I am so unsettled by how my work has been exploited for the gain of an event that does not respect the indigenous artist.

I have many questions for the board: Why do you as an organization have no contracts of paper explanations available for the artist to view and approve? Why was I not made aware that my art would not just be on the poster but on all the various items you created and sold? Why do you as a board not know how to conduct your efforts with the artist, after all it’s been 98 years of efforts? Why are you keeping the artist out of the circle and dialogue in this whole experience?

Even in the official GITC booklet there is no explanation of the artwork in the publication. I will admit that I did not know much about the Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial event, but I have a plethora of experience in the area of such events and realize that there is no justice in what you are doing to the artist you claim to be supporting. Pleading ignorance is not an excuse. Please get woke up and respect the Southwest Navajo, Hopi, Pueblo, Zuni, and Apache artists in the future.

Venaya Yazzie
Huerfano, N.M.