Letters: When do we stop talking and take action?
This letter is in reference to the Navajo Nation government reform listening session held at Fort Defiance Chapter on Feb. 28, 2019, sponsored by the Commission on Navajo Government Development.
These discussions have been ongoing since the late 80s. When do we stop talking and take action to have a better government for the people, by the people? The government we have was established by the federal government, mainly to decide how to handle finances from oil/mineral resources. Every aspect of government was developed by federal Indian offices. We only used our mark/thumbprints in agreement. Having been a Navajo Nation chapter official, I’m aware of many attempts to work on government reform. After the turmoil in the late 80s, the three-branch government was temporarily established until such time the Navajo population formed a meaningful system. Here we are in 2019 — still no input from the common citizen.
We, as common citizens, are constantly being dictated from the Navajo government offices/departments on daily issues. One feels like a cocoon wrapped by regulations. The tribal Council has to abide by federal government regulations. We claim “sovereignty” — how extensive are our human rights? Many of us were born at home. Now we have to provide excessive amounts of documentation to prove our existence to state offices. No recognition is given to our census office.
We are requested by state motor vehicle departments to prove our residence. We have to contact Window Rock community services to provide forms along with chapter voter registration and documents with GPS mapping. What nonsense! Many Navajo voters don’t live within the chapter voter location because of job or school access.
Again, if one attends other chapter meetings, the chapter officials have voter registration booklets, which they use to identify if you are a valid participant to discuss/vote on chapter issues. My opinion: This is wrong. Your voice/input should be validated anywhere on the Navajo Nation. Voting on the Navajo Nation is consuming in that you can only vote onsite of the chapter you’re registered in. As a state voter, many sites are established preventing long distance traveling.
Why not us? Many generations of federal, state, county and district governments have denied our basic human rights in every form. Some still fight Native nations, our existence/basic human rights. Is our Navajo Nation government playing the same game? Our original leaders knew education was important.
Many of us have attained professional status and many today are pursuing this dream. Now we have professional people to help all to make decisive changes in our government to address our daily livelihood. Let’s all work together on behalf of generations to come, those who are infants and those who are elders, today.
Yiis káá go shíí is here. Let’s get to work.
Moving Dilkon police will leave area vulnerable
Our Diné Bikeyah had its share of needed moisture this past winter and now we will see the increase of growth of vegetation for our crops and livestock for the spring and summer, which makes me reflect upon the Diné teachings concerning Changing Woman.
Each spring, Changing Woman vowed to visit her children through the Female Rain to observe how her children are upholding the Diné cultural teachings and how her legacy is being honored by her children. Unfortunately, today many of her children have not upheld her sacred teachings that aligns with the Beauty Way; instead many of her children have become passive and indulge in unhealthy practices that bring serious crimes into our communities that overwhelms our Navajo Police Department across the Navajo Nation.
Most recently, my home was broken into by a non-Indian, which caused me to want to look closer into what my legal rights are and while researching and asking questions, I was informed that the Dilkon Police Station will be relocated to Twin Arrows on April 10 because the facility is condemned.
Therefore, the southwest region of the Navajo Nation will be without law enforcement for quite some time, which will cause an increase of illegal activities upon our communities at a much higher rate and the law enforcement response time will take much longer. This caused me to question our chapter officials and our delegate, Mr. Elmer Begay. I asked whether if they were aware of the relocation of the Dilkon Police Department?
What plans are in place for emergencies? And what is being proposed by the community officials? My questions went unanswered and I discovered that a listening session is scheduled April 7 at Indian Wells Elementary School beginning at 10 a.m., hosted by the Navajo Police Department. Therefore, since I became aware of this information of our law enforcement, I’ve decided to write and share with our communities that may be impacted.
It is my hope that our Navajo Nation leaders will be responsible enough to generate a solution and become active in our southwest communities, so that we can honor and continue to uphold the sacred teachings of Changing Woman.
Shiprock vets treated others poorly at walk
I am expressing my disgust and deep disappointment regarding the rudeness and disrespect displayed towards us by the Shiprock veterans group when we arrived in Shiprock, on Thursday, March 28.
In all the years that we’ve participated in the annual Memorial Walk, coordinated by Mike Bekis, we’ve always received a warm reception throughout our stops along the way plus arrival at our destination. However, this year, the Shiprock veterans took control upon arrival and were so rude and disrespectful towards Thoreau and a group of veterans from Arizona, including the participants and supporters of the annual Memorial Walk.
We’ve never experienced this before under Mr. Bekis’ leadership at the end of our annual walk. He plans and sets up all the logistics from start to finish. We participated in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Walk that began at Thoreau Chapter on Sunday morning, March 24, with an honorable sendoff by the community, in particular the Thoreau Chapter Veterans Committee and the chapter officers. Needless to say, when our walk ended on Thursday in Shiprock, there was a lack of communication and, seemingly, Shiprock Chapter and their veterans didn’t prepare for the walkers.
There was confusion and no direction as to what was planned once the walkers and supporters of the walk arrived. The Shiprock veterans group made sure that they were the grand marshals of the parade and that no one else mattered by their actions. There was no semblance of who were supposed to be in the parade, much less who would be color guards.
Arrangements were made prior to the completion of the Memorial Walk that Thoreau/Baca Color Guards would do the honors and in this confusion, Arizona veterans were dismissed as well. This was a total lack of respect and consideration for veterans who traveled far to participate in the annual Memorial Walk. Because it was a long walk, we anticipated a friendly reception like before, but there wasn’t. Several of our walkers were hungry and we were left to fend for ourselves.
Luckily, some nice folks took several walkers and fed them at local eateries and some walkers, like us, took care of ourselves, as we felt unwelcomed upon arriving. While we were taking care of ourselves at local businesses, I was buying coffee for a gentleman walker who asked me to buy him a cup of coffee because he didn’t have any money and participated in the walk.
The only store located at the Fruitland junction (where we bought coffee), the owner made us feel less welcomed and said, “Are you trying to steal a cup of coffee?” This was a very sad ordeal for anyone to be treated by a business like that.
Despite the bad experience we had with Shiprock veterans, I will continue to support the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Walk that was organized and originated by several Vietnam veterans nine years ago because I know they deserve to be recognized and welcomed home for their honorable service. Thank you.
NHA has put a bad name on itself
In the Navajo Times article titled “NHA starts massive repair campaign” by Cindy Yurth (March 7, 2019), she reports that Navajo Housing Authority’s public information officer, Christian Bigwater, stated that NHA has several units sitting vacant or abandoned, due to damage, or religious beliefs, like a death within the house.
Recently, with families that could be housed, NHA has begun hiring over 250 temporary maintenance technicians to make over 300 rental units fit for living conditions. More than 170 temporary workers have flipped over 149 housing units on the Navajo Reservation, and work still needs to be done, and temporary workers need to be hired to complete the renovations.
Although I agree with Bigwater up to a point, I cannot accept his overall conclusion that renovating housing units will make families move into NHA housings.
Over the years, NHA has put a bad name on itself, using the people’s money for so-called conferences out of state and such. It seems that they have been caught red-handed and are trying to make things right at the last moment. Bigwater states that, “Once the homes are renovated, NHA is moving as quickly as possible to fill them so they won’t become damaged again.” With how NHA members act towards us people? Or how we read about them in the newspaper?
We are going to need a second opinion on where we want to spend our money for shelter. I don’t think the abandoned homes should be renovated, but should be demolished instead because NHA is just wasting money on homes and payroll. It’s a fact that what NHA did before, mismanaging funds that resulted in delays and cost overruns.
For sure, it will happen again and affect us by taking our money and getting no repairs after NHA has the money.
Demolish the vacant and damaged homes, because we don’t deserve them. NHA is just taking us for chumps by thinking if they renovate the homes that maybe we will forgive them.
Keep your money. We don’t want to deal with two-faced people.
(Hometown: Chinle, Ariz.)
We do not respect prayers anymore
Do you ever think about all the problems we, the people, face every day?
\There are some people who just do not care what happens until a loved one departs this earthly life. But there are a few people who do care. They are praying whenever crisis takes place and they want to know why it happened. This latter group of people is decreasing and these people are not given credit. They are prayer warriors. Recently some leaders are beginning to ask why these national disasters are increasing such as severe earthquakes and hurricanes/tornadoes inflicting major damage, severe snowstorms, heavy rain causing severe flooding, more crimes, shootings — and the Navajo people are no exception.
And the list goes on asking them in return, What’s causing all these disasters? They’re not quite sure. So I let them know God is trying to get our attention. We all are not listening. Matter of fact, we have no room for God anymore. We do not respect prayers anymore. There is no fear of God anymore. Whenever a person, family, government, church, or nation forgets God, they are asking for disaster. Furthermore, whoever forsakes the laws of God, they begin to do wicked things.
Where there is no vision, the people perish. But he that keepeth the law, happy is he. I would like to recommend reading a book titled, “This Present Darkness” by Frank Perretti. This book reflects exactly what’s happening to the Navajo society and around the world, especially in the new leadership, the rise of progressiveness and radical politicians, they are slowly coming in through elections. Once elected, they begin to implement their destructive philosophies that will destroy the precious freedom we have in America. It sounds good on the surface but filled with destructive forces.
For example, open-door immigration with no restrictions. So, whatever happens in life, there is a lesson to be learned, which has negative or positive results. When the righteous rejoices, there is great glory, but when wickedness arises, eventually they hide themselves. Another point to remember is whenever one covers his sins, he will not prosper, but whoever confesses will experience mercy and happiness.
Are we ready to repent of all our sins or will we continue to cover them? There is a choice to be made individually or a nation. God have mercy on us.
Pastor Milt Shirleson
Window Rock, Ariz.
NGS can run on liquefied natural gas
You know, the Navajo Generating Station could run on liquefied natural gas. While it’s not a long-path combustion fuel like coal it still can be adapted to the combustion assembly.
Also, it earns you money to clean up after coal. Now you have to figure out what pipeline you can get access to and if they can handle the tons per hour rate you need.
1. Liquefied natural gas has less BTU.
2. Liquefied natural gas can’t run on high-pressure turbo blowers.
3. Liquefied natural gas does not require FGD scrubbers.
4. Liquefied natural gas is less corrosive to any boiler assembly.
Put the plant into storage mode until you can get a competent liquefied natural gas system worked out. The plant isn’t destroyed. Something to think about and plan on.
Edgar John Decker
Looking for names for family genealogy
My parents’ collected genealogy list is not complete. I would trade what I have collected with any of my relatives, if they would help me collect additional names for my file. Once I compile this information I will make it available to relatives. My father was John Billie and my mother was Ethel S. Russell. They both lived between Leupp, Arizona, on the north side and Canyon Diablo on the south side most of their lives. My father’s grandfather moved from Rough Rock west into Diné Bito country.
I understand that the main party separated into two groups. One group moved south and the other group moved on into northwestern Navajo land. My mother’s father’s name was Sades Greezy Na and my grandmother’s name was Johnnie Bima. I do have the names of this family.
I do, however, need additional information about Juan Russell’s family. I do know that there are some family members that lived around Tuba City. I also do not have all the information about Johnnie Russell’s family as well.
Joseph City, Ariz.