Monday, October 2, 2023

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Letters | Where is the powerful voice?

In 2017, while working with Peabody’s Kayenta Mine, I was involved with a project to provide water to the families within the Kayenta Mine Lease area. The project was titled, Manymules Waterline Project. It was a five-phase project to deliver water to over 100 family homes. The Navajo Nation, Navajo Area Indian Health Service, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, Kayenta Chapter and Peabody Western Coal Company were partners in the project.

Over $25 million was set aside to complete the waterline project. At the time of the Kayenta Mine closure in August 2019, the project had completed Phase I and was prepared to deliver water to over 40 homes. In fact, the homeowners were going through training on their newly installed waterline in 2019 when my job ended.

However, as I understand it those homes still do not have use of that water. It has been four years. No running water. Further, Phase II was fully funded. No movement on Phase II.

My concern in writing this letter is to ask the Nez Administration, “Why are the installed waterlines for those homes on Black Mesa not in operation?” And “Why Phase II has not commenced when it is fully funded or could be funded by ARPA?” Further, “Why is this not a priority for the Nez Administration?”

We have to remember that President Nez has the largest voice to move large organizations like IHS and NTUA. Residents feel like they have no voice, no one advocating for them to have their water turned on.

Those residents want answers but most of all they want running water into their homes. Much talk from political leaders has been made regarding the lack of running water in homes and the impact COVID-19 has had on those homes with no running water.

So, where are they now? Where is the powerful voice from tribal leadership?

It should not take a letter to the Navajo Times during election season to ask the elected leader with the biggest voice, “What is the problem?”

President Nez needs to know that those residents from Black Mesa need his help. Those residents should have the use of running water in their homes by now, but they do not.

It has been four years! You are failing them, Mr. President.

Jarvis Williams
Kayenta, AZ

Sheepherder to educated man

My aunt, Peggy Russell, passed away recently. I was at her funeral. I was not able to say a few words because I was called away.

I decided that I would give my message to the Russell family and to my friends by use of the Navajo Times.

It was in 1950 when I left the Navajo reservation with my uncle, Rudolph Russell, and his family for Salt Lake City. That movement changed my life from a simple sheepherder to an educated man.

My uncle and aunt and family members helped me to serve the Navajo people for some 30 years.

Thank you, uncle and aunt and family for all your help and your association.

In my book, all Russells, my relatives, are the salt of the earth.

Harold, you did such a good job with your mother’s funeral arrangement. In addition, for what it’s worth, you were a good boss for us in the BIA. Thank you.

Bahe Billy
Joseph City, AZ

Good planning

Days or hours before the election, suddenly, there is an explosion of Nez Administration funding initiatives for departments and projects using ARPA monies.

Nygren can’t compete with President Nez’s political “philanthropic” spending!

The Nez Administration’s credibility has been sufficiently low. I say Nez because I only read or heard about his vice president when he was chasing Trump all over the country.

In the previous campaign, Vice President Lizer was highlighted for his 28 years of experience in marketing and business development. There was a promise of an explosion of Navajo Nation business and economic development.

The real entrepreneurs are our Diné selling at the flea markets or along the roadside. The border town businesses are booming because of the Diné dollar.

The current administration is using ARRPA as political power. After seven-plus years of stalemate, Nez now appears to have political savvy by spending chips wisely at key decision points by aggressively doling out funds as incentives to exert power over voters.

They have guaranteed that a dependent voter is a dependable vote. “You scratch my back, and I will scratch yours” mentality is illuminating the Navajo Nation president’s office now.

It is frightening that some voters may be uninformed, misled, and/or manipulated to believe that they have to vote for Nez because they believe Nez gave money to people. Thanks to Congress, ARPA is paying for water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure development in our Navajo Nation, and Republicans are clawing to get back unspent-misspent ARPA funds. I hope Navajo Nation spent ARPA funds wisely!

I heard a lady speaking on KTNN several times. This lady is asking voters to vote for Nez again. She said, “President Nez has been in Navajo Nation leadership already and knows what to do, naashnish.

“When a new person is elected, that person will not know what to do; it will take him/her a long time to learn the job, and that will limit progress.”

Nez sure does; he knows how to get on TV and extend his hand for donations! Yeah, Nez may have greater affinity with some career politicians and may or should have a little more familiarity with some policy areas after seven-plus years in office.

Please vote for change, action, progress, and hope. Our Navajo Nation has many issues that need immediate attention, and we can’t wait for another four years for another rude awakening!

Marilyn Decker
Nazlini, AZ


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