Tuesday, May 11, 2021
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Letters: Thrilled to see Indigenous people in Cabinet

President Joe Biden made groundbreaking history when he nominated the first-ever Native American to the presidential Cabinet. As you know, her name is Deb Haaland.

As a young Native woman, I take this victory personally. Secretary of the Interior Haaland’s confirmation will be greatly beneficial to those who have been fighting for the environment and water.

I especially look forward to the Secretary correcting the federal government’s relationship with public lands. She was a champion of the 30×30 Resolution to Save Nature while in Congress, so I expect that she will recognize the incredible biodiversity and healing potential that Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments have for our un-well earth.

Secretary Haaland isn’t the only victory we have to celebrate this spring. President Biden’s Cabinet is the most diverse and experienced group of individuals that we’ve seen throughout history. Not even 70 years have passed since we Native Americans were allowed to vote, let alone witness an educated, brilliant, indigenous environmental activist that cares about what happens to our land rise to the U.S Cabinet. She is inspiring for the generations of Native Americans and women all across the country to come.

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney cast a vote on the wrong side of history when he did not support her confirmation. As a member of the Senate Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, he should recognize that Utah’s public lands play a major role in mitigating climate change and work with Haaland to ensure that Utah’s deserts and mountains are part of the Biden administration’s 30×30 initiative to protect nature, an initiative that Haaland is uniquely positioned to champion.

I support you, Deb Haaland, and your efforts in preserving our beautiful landscapes and oceans. We only have one earth. This earth is our home as living creatures. We need to take care of it for those that come after us, generation after generation.

I look forward to seeing the milestones that President Joe Biden and Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland accomplish through the years for our country, and I am thrilled to see our indigenous people in the office because it’s long overdue.

Ahe’hee! May you always walk in beauty.

Alexis Jade Smith
Montezuma Creek, Utah

Diné Bizaad should never be used on another planet

The capital of the Navajo Nation in Window Rock sometimes doesn’t inform the public across the rez when an important matter comes up. Such as the latest subject of the Perseverance rover collecting data and making discoveries by NASA’s program and using our very own sacred ceremonial words to name landmarks and features on planet Mars.

The Diné Bizaad should never be used on another planet, period!

By all means, this should not ever have happened in the first place by saying OK to use sacred words that’s used in Navajo ceremonial prayers that’s used by the medicine men across the Navajo Nation.

We, as Navajo (Diné), have come a long way, along with other Native Americans across Indian Country. We are the inhabitants of the Holy People that were brought and put every one of us here on Mother Earth centuries ago as being the First Americans.

Our language and cultural way of life was given to us by the Holy People. The words used in Navajo prayers by a medicine man are very sacred. Our elders before us have come with and carrying on the traditional and cultural ways of life with prayers. They taught us to say prayers to the Holy People using our own language.

As I was growing up, I have heard traditional people in certain types of ceremonial events at a bijii, squaw dance, or fire dance. They would point out and say, “You do not talk about the heavenly objects like stars, Mars or other planets, or anything that is existing beyond the skies.”

They say, “Don’t bother it, everything up there belongs to the Gods (our heavenly Father Sky, the air we breathe in, our Grandpa the Air, and our Father the Sun).”

Five-fingered human beings shall never go beyond the white skies and dark clouds that were ordered by the Holy People when our people were put on earth. It was pointed out by the Creators, the Holy People, only the sacred bird, an eagle, can go into Heaven beyond the white clouds. This is why eagle feathers and plumes are used in certain types of ceremonies.

If a human being does go beyond into the vast blue skies by spaceship, like NASA is doing, the whole world will automatically get sick. Then, too, the law that was set by the Holy People will be broken. This is not the first time spaceship crews have been sent into space to do special missions. Other countries are doing likewise besides USA.

Because of visiting other planets, the world we live in today is not going right. A lot of bad and negative things are happening such as the COVID-19 pandemic, losing lives across the globe, bombings, shootings occurring all over the world, disasters popping up here and there like flooding by heavy rainfall, tornadoes destroying things to pieces, riots and attacking the U.S. Capitol in DC that occurred in January 2021, and the list goes on and on.

Here on our rez, we have problems, too, like some of us are not teaching our children and grandchildren our Native language and our people abusing alcohol, which we all know is not new at all. It’s one of the major problems we face every day.

It’s sad that some of our young people are using drugs. Drinking habits and doing drugs can create mass problems of all kinds, it can ruin lives and it can kill. If you’re involved with either one, stay away from it. Always be on the bright side of things and enjoy life being clean.

The top Navajo Nation officials in Window Rock need to listen and work together with the Navajo Medicine Man Association before jumping to conclusions in making any quick agreements with the article I’ve written about, and most of all, the Navajo people will know what’s going on firsthand before final decisions are made.

All of the Navajo people and the Navajo governmental officials in Window Rock should go directly to the Navajo Medicine Man Association office if they’re not certain on a particular ceremony or have a general question on a traditional/cultural type information.

It is said that the Hataalii are the keepers of Navajo knowledge. They are traditional leaders, historians, storytellers, and they are keepers of Navajo ceremonies related to yadilhxil, cross-culture communication, linguistics, songs, prayers, and cultural wisdom. They are also experts on ancient Navajo cultural astronomical knowledge and practices.

The members of the MMA are our leaders, our guidance, and protectors, as we move on with our own ways of traditional life with prayers to our sacred Holy People.

I wrote a letter to the editor a year ago or so to the Navajo Times explaining practitioner Larry Manygoats, who pointed out the Navajo translation for COVID-19 is Doo Yit’iinii Naalniih Ch’osh. Top officials of the Navajo Nation and Indian Health Service got together and named COVID-19 “Pneumonia-19,” which is not the proper name that was given.

The MMA wanted to change the Navajo name for the virus, but it never happened. With not bothering to change the name correctly, many lives have been lost up to now.

Again, if you’re in doubt of anything or have a simple question in regards to ceremonial or traditional way of things, get some information and advice to do things correctly from the Navajo Medicine Man Association.

Dan Todachine
Mariano Lake, N.M.


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