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Letters: We have to treasure our elderly - Navajo Times
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
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Letters: We have to treasure our elderly

I’d like to write on behalf of seniors. Yes, we do have to treasure our elderly. They raised us, paved the road for us. They are not just considered old complainers in pain. Understanding elderly is the hardest. They are not all the same. My mom used to tell me not to make fun of them or you might end up the same way or worse. Even if you don’t understand them, try. They think about not giving up on you. Elderly are smart, they are trying to find out where you stand with them. It will be a blessing when they tell you Mother Earth is your first mother and she hasn’t given up on you.

Elderly that are honest will be afraid to tell you a lie, because they can’t lie in front of the Holy People. There is always a reason why they tell you things with reasons behind such as the Four Sacred Mountains can’t be moved or dug into. Because the Four Sacred Mountains are our home, they are our stability. If we destroy them, we will destroy ourselves. My parents lived to be 102 and 103. I was born in 1945, so I understand what’s going on.

The land was the most important part of their lives. They hoped one or two of their children would take good care of the land. They used to love their land. Mom used to say, “I hope there will not be an alcoholic or druggie living here. Your dad and I went through a lot to prepare this land for you children if you deserve it.”

It’s hard to take care of good land and keep the trash out. The land goes with a prayer and a lot of early morning offerings with white corn pollen. We never like loud music, just keep it peaceful. We hope you children will respect our wishes and live here by the law. Do what you have to do to build a home legally so there won’t be any confusion. Always have your elderly’s and your neighbor’s approval. Don’t step over their grazing area.

My mother, I loved her so much, she always just smiled with love. She was a medicine woman, wove for income to feed us. Nature was her best sport. Once, as a chapter official, she always stood by me. In Mom and Dad’s hogan, the radio had to be on. They always wanted cedar and pine for their firewood because it gives good heat and doesn’t smell. Coffee on the stove in case a visitor comes. Dirt floor, so they can throw water or coffee back to Mother Earth to recycle.

My dad always wanted to play cards. Sometimes I used to think he sounded like he was playing with more than one person. They used to always say not to forget to feed the horse, sheep and sheepdog.

I’d like to say I have been to school, work, married and moved around. There is no place like home.

Winnie Henry
Canyon de Chelly, Ariz.

Where are our Arizona delegates?

What happened to the Arizona delegation? There are 24 members of the Navajo Nation Council. Council representation comes from Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. Three Arizona delegates share regions of Utah.

So if the delegates voted along state lines then Arizona would hold the majority on any issue. This makes me wonder how it is that we lost 800 Arizona jobs and $900 million in income when Arizona carries the majority on the Council. It’s disappointing to know that several Arizona delegates voted to kill 800 jobs and lose valuable income.

I imagine those self-serving delegates ran a campaign about good-paying jobs and bringing money back to their chapters for projects. The question is how were they planning to do that when they voted against keeping jobs and income?

Right now, the Navajo Nation is in budget discussions and the Council is presenting a larger budget than last year. This is terrible. Speaker Seth Damon, a New Mexico delegate, presented a Council budget that is $900,000 above last year’s budget. (Navajo Times, July 25, 2019).

I get it. Damon is from New Mexico and wants to celebrate the fact that New Mexico makes all the money now. Perhaps another performance in front of the chamber is in order. Then again, New Mexico should be proud because they protect what they have – oil, gas, coal mines, power plants, and three casinos. They kept their jobs. They protected their interests. Utah did too. They have oil, Monument Valley and recently added a Family Dollar store.

What does Arizona have left to contribute to the pot? Twin Arrows Casino. That’s it. According to Navajo Times, Canyon De Chelly farmers can’t even access stored water (Navajo Times, July 25, 2019).

Is this what our Arizona delegates intended to do, to give all the advantage to New Mexico? Why are they making it more difficult to live in the Arizona portion of the reservation?

I am a proud Arizona resident so it troubles me to know that our Arizona delegation can’t unite along state lines to protect our jobs and income. If we can’t do that then it seems we have lost valuable political capital within the chambers. That is a problem. So what is New Mexico going to do with their newfound political advantage? Well, they plan to build a $77 million public safety facility in Shiprock and a $2.5 million youth center in Crownpoint, plus continue those million-dollar water projects in New Mexico and give another $700,000 to the dysfunctional Northern Navajo Fair.

Arizona can’t even find enough money to gravel roads and keep feral cows off the highway. We can’t even chase off a suspicious white van. What is going on with the Arizona delegation?

We put them in office to make decisions that improve our quality of life, not make us more dependent. That isn’t sovereignty. That’s dependency. I guess Arizona voters were thinking that electing a self-aggrandizing Arizona president would change things for the better but that didn’t happen. He pays more attention to New Mexico.

For now, when I look at the political advantage within the chamber, I see New Mexico all over the place. I will remind the Arizona delegation that Arizona holds a 15 to 9 advantage in the chambers. Right now, we’re losing.

Jarvis Williams
Kayenta, Ariz.

Council bungled NGS closure

The Navajo Nation Council delegates have become stumbling blocks to new ideas and goals to improve our nation’s needs for prosperity and economic security.

The Navajo Nation elected Council in a perplexed limbo is a fact. In the past few years, NGS/Kayenta Mine closure deposition item came before the Navajo Nation Council to calibrate to continue employment. Hundreds of people who were managers, officers, employees, families, and observers came to witness the elected Council delegates support their purpose because their livelihoods were directly impacted. A fact.

It was disconcerting to watch the elected Council delegates trickle into the Council Chamber from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to establish a quorum. A fact. Several times, the item was annulled because it was placed at the end on the agenda or the Council lacked knowledge of the generous payments generated into the Navajo Nation capital. A fact.

Most delegates are uncomprehending about the history, the leaders who spearheaded the process as their views were for the future generations and capital gains the Navajo Nation received that transmitted into the whole Navajo Nation operation from the least to the greatest partaking. A fact.

Across the Navajo Nation are five agency jobs, BIA/grant/public school jobs, Indian Health Service, Navajo Tribe, shopping centers, Wells Fargo banks, and other small businesses that are corporations that provide employment to our people. Whereas, NGS/Kayenta Mine are two different corporations who compensate their employees and contribute revenues to the Navajo Nation capital. A fact.

Between NGS and Kayenta Mine, nearly 800 jobs will be lost and $900 million in revenue will no longer be received for Navajo Nation capital gains versus $2 million just mentioned by Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

Furthermore, the president is minimizing funds by decreasing the budget, which will not remedy the problems the Navajo Nation is facing. A fact.

The Council should be working together to seek jobs and increase revenues to make our Navajo Nation a self-determined government. The Navajo Nation law enforcement chief position was vacated because our elected delegates antagonized the department while that department is by far the most-needed 24/7 operation.

The president is considering an increased budget for the executive protection service without seeking revenues to cover the resource loss. Past leaders like Peterson Zah was responsible for the Permanent Trust Fund who demonstrated the means of economic security and Albert Hale who tried to establish the Grand Canyon Vendor Village that was shot down by the Navajo Nation Council. A fact.

The weather will change soon. Many families across the Navajo Nation relied on coal to heat their homes. These families include young to elders who are not prepared to pay high heating costs in the coming months and years will be affected significantly.

Moreover, the Navajo Nation Council made a hasty reaction to renewable energy without feasible studies of dependency in the years ahead is already exemplifying uncertainties. A fact.

The Navajo Nation Council either continues to play around, be tardy, or absent at the Council Chamber that contributes to failed opportunities for the whole Navajo Nation by being the stumbling blocks or perform their duties judiciously to uphold their promise to make our sovereign nation a better nation.

Leonard Bailey
Chilchinbeto, Ariz.

Bluff Road worse than ever

July 2019 is almost over and the Bluff Road (NR542) in Shiprock remains the roughest road. With ditch water recently overflowing onto the Bluff Road, the area around the 2nd Lane has gotten worse with deep washboard dips running all the way along the road. There is another rough portion closer to the main highway, about one-quarter mile out, where some repair work was done on the ditch.

A pipe was replaced/fixed, which required digging up part of the road, which was left wavy and unleveled. Again, there is still no road maintenance done on the Bluff Road, which is becoming rougher and rougher.

The school buses will be running again in a matter of days and the Bluff Road is not fixed. Is there any concern at least for the safety of our children who will be bussed back and forth daily, if not for the repair costs of buses? Who will step up to meet the challenge of fixing the Bluff Road? Shiprock Chapter president, Navajo Department of Transportation official or BIA Road Department official? Are we a forgotten people?

Wilford R. Joe
Shiprock, N.M.

Scammed by a ‘tenant from hell’

After all that we have been subjected to ever since Bosque Redondo, we have always remained distrustful and guarded of non-Natives who come across as being overly friendly or overbearing. As we all know, lately there are reported sightings of suspicious-looking white vans on our reservation, reports of non-Natives luring innocent, gullible children and females — leading to reports of missing family members almost on a daily basis.

We, as Navajo people, have always been subjected to predators in one form or another (e.g., car dealership, etc.). It is most disturbing, as well as alarming, that this is happening within our own communities. In light of this disturbing and alarming news, which has everyone on edge, we still continue to caution one another and remain vigilant. It is most encouraging to see everyone uniting and forming a front against this threat because our youth, whom we consider our future, are being endangered, as well as our young females. Despite all this, we get up every morning, grateful and humbled, blessed in being given another day of life and face the various adversities and challenges — in that sense, we pray for harmony, balance, and hozho.

Yet, some of us succumb to vulnerability and eventual betrayal of one form or another. Unfortunately, my predator came in the form of one of our own people … I accepted this person into my home upon which she invariably took advantage of my generosity, compassion, empathy, and vulnerability.

She moved in based on her belief that she was supposedly distantly related to my dad and I took her at her word. She further informed me she had no place else to go, so out of the kindness of my heart I gave her the benefit of my doubt. Unbeknownst to me, long story short, she left in the middle of the night on July 20, 2019, after promising to help me pay for propane, electricity, and in lieu of rent, she had initially agreed to pay my Rent-A-Center bill.

Several weeks into her stay, she began coming up with excuses. Mind you, she is employed by a medical transport company. Upon her abrupt departure, I find out from another victim of hers that there are other victims within the Teesto community, as well as Cow Springs, Sanders, etc. I’m sure those that she victimized feel the sting of her blatant betrayal, dishonesty, and lack of guilty conscience and that she continues to prey on the unsuspecting.

Since she has conned so many people besides myself — she is very well adept at talking her way into and out of anything that is to her advantage …. all traits of a con artist. However ugly and distasteful this incident is, I feel strongly obligated to expose her, so her prospective victims are forewarned and are cautious of her, especially her clients that she transports to medical appointments. Sadly, this recent unfortunate incident has only reinforced my hyper-vigilance and distrust, which is why I am informing everyone to remain vigilant and guarded due to people like her who continue to prey on our own in this bold manner with no shame nor conscientiousness whatsoever.

My immediate family is greatly relieved that she has moved off my property — they liken it to garbage that took itself out. During her stay, it’s been drama after drama — I have never met this woman nor personally know her, even though she is from North Teesto, but all I know is that her actions speak louder and contradict her words. We only communicated telephonically and she was quite the smooth talker.

What transpired has become a nightmare for me (I will not dwell on further specifics) — tenant from hell is all I can conclude. I am immensely disappointed and regretful but I need to expose her so no one else gets conned, scammed, nor duped in this manner. Her blatant disregard for exploiting her own people reflects on her personhood.

Utilizing company vehicles in moving her personal belongings further amplifies the type of person she is. No one likes being taken advantage of. I certainly wouldn’t wish this on anyone. It creates much unnecessary angst and stress. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if she skips out on her rent at Leupp NHA. Well, I certainly wish her the best with the hopes that there are no more victims in her wake.

Cheryl Todicheeney
Teesto, Ariz.

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