Letters: We need a real naat’áanii

On Aug. 13, the Navajo Times ran an ad from a group called “Navajos for Trump.” I asked myself, why on earth are these Diné supporting Trump? Is he a fit leader?

In the book “Navajo Nation Peacemaking,” former Navajo Nation Chief Justice Robert Yazzie describes the complex role and characteristics of naat’áanii, leaders in Diné culture. Diné people have traditionally relied on naat’áanii.

According to Yazzie, naat’áanii are strong leaders chosen for their wisdom, integrity, good character, and respect. Does President Trump possess the qualities of a naat’áanii?

  • Wisdom — Republican Trump predicted the COVID-19 pandemic would “disappear like a miracle.” Five months and 165,000 deaths later, he still insisted the pandemic would just “disappear.” This is not wisdom; it is ignorance.
  • Integrity — Republican Trump has told the American people over 19,000 lies.
  • Character — Republican Trump has abused the office of the presidency to enrich himself and his family.
  • Respect — Republican Trump has lost the respect of most Americans because of his racist statements that have driven us apart instead of bringing us together.

Now Trump’s attacking the Post Office and threatening every post office on the Diné Nation. The post office is the hub of our town of Teec Nos Pos. I pick up my prescription medicine at the post office and receive my weekly newspaper and letters at the post office.

I send my grandchildren cards and gifts through our little post office. I often run into neighbors and friends at the post office and I vote at the post office.

Why is Trump attacking our post offices? In a fraudulent attempt to get re-elected by suppressing our vote? Is that the action of a naat’áanii? Does it show good character? Integrity? Respect for our reservation communities?

Trump is not a naat’áanii!

America needs a real naat’áanii. I am voting for Joe Biden, a naat’áanii with the wisdom, integrity, character, and respect to lead us to a better day.

John Watts
Teec Nos Pos, Ariz.

What hemp producer does not want you to know

San Juan River Farm Board President Dineh Benally does not want people to know: Dineh put his illegal hemp operation in place for several years. He devised the scheme with the help of some elected officials.

Dineh ran for the farm board to find where all the farm plots are he can use. His intention was to control all the farm board members to carry out his illegal operation and use hemp products and legal marijuana business to finance his scheme.

He got the Oriental people involved. They have knowledge to cultivate the hemp and use their financial support.

Shiprock Chapter membership addresses the issue of hemp in a duly called chapter meeting. Membership voted against hemp cultivation. Dineh ignored the resolution. He refused to abide by all the regulations, laws and ethics laws.

Dineh threatens the farmers to use their farm plots or face the consequences of losing their farm plots. Dineh muscled in on farm plots that are in probate hearing. The going rate is $1,000 to use the farm plots. Farmers do not know he makes a lot of money.

Dineh has greenhouses surrounding five schools in Shiprock. The atrocious smell of hemp is there. The smell of hemp is 24/7 inside and outside my house. My grandson’s allergy got worse. The kids are going to smell the hemp and some have breathing problems. Schools will open up next month.

Dineh does not tell you they have to install very expensive equipment in the greenhouses to control the smell. This is the regulation he’s ignoring.

Dineh did not tell he removed a board member from the San Juan River Farm Board. He has no authority to remove elected officials. He violated Navajo Nation ethics laws.

Dineh bragged he runs two companies — Native American Agriculture Company and Navajo Gold Company. Now he claims there are no such companies, just to dismiss his civil lawsuit.

Dineh does not tell you his application for a hemp license to the U.S. Department of Agriculture was disapproved. He tells the public he has a license.

Dineh does not tell you lots of trucking activity after midnight is transporting his illegal goods. Most of the trucks are unmarked.

Dineh does not tell you in the corner of these greenhouses are restricted areas off limit to employees, very secret area.

There was an incident where some young males took plants from the greenhouse and were running away from the greenhouse. Dineh’s security shot at these boys.

Dineh does not tell people he has boys younger than 12 years old working at his greenhouses as security.

These are some of the messes from the illegal hemp operation. Shiprock used to be the capital of dried steam corn. There are true farmers who run with the big dogs, they will deliver hay and farm goods to the people of the Navajo Nation this year.

This illegal hemp operation is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They have laws in place for non-licensed operation. These greenhouses are on federal land, and the federal law enforcement has jurisdiction on Indian Country.

So what are we waiting on?

Sammy Ahkeah
Shiprock, N.M.


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