Where is the casino money?

WINDOW ROCK, Feb. 27, 2014

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When I proposed the Emergency Bond Financing Legislation to the Navajo Nation Council for the first Navajo-owned casino I did not intend to be taken for granted. The purpose for the legislation was to generate money for all Navajos that could benefit from the revenues from the casinos but so far I haven't seen anything yet. No detailed budget has ever been publicized and so where's the money?

The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise reports to the Navajo Nation Council are always behind closed doors in executive session, which is wrong because it is the Navajo people's money. The Navajo people do not hide their money while they are putting their hard-earned money in the slot machines so why should the enterprise hide behind closed doors?

Publication of revenue from the Navajo-owned casinos should be on a monthly basis.

Since the purchase of the Fire Rock Navajo Casino, Churchrock Chapter has not yet been allocated any revenue back to the community. A lot of promises have been made but since then has been all talk. The Navajo people keep Fire Rock Navajo Casino in business year-round just as Navajo Arts and Crafts Enterprise.

The Gaming Enterprise should've stayed focused on building the permanent Navajo casino at Superman Canyon Road by Gallup, instead of building a Navajo casino in the middle of nowhere near Flagstaff, which is not bringing in any revenue to the Navajo Nation.

The revenue that was made within five years were in the millions/billions from Fire Rock Navajo Casino and it could've been utilized to purchase computers for schools, scholarships given to our Navajo children that are seeking a higher education after high school, build housing infrastructures since the Navajo Housing Authority cannot do their jobs to build those housing infrastructure for those that have been waiting for a lifetime, pave dirt roads, and electric and water extensions to the Navajo communities instead of begging for money from the state and federal government.

The Navajo Nation casinos create a lot of frustration due to losing hard-earned money and money that the elders get from first of the month which could be spent on more important things rather than making the pawn shop, liquor stores and loan companies rich. The casinos also lead to marital problems, drinking, domestic violence, and health issues from secondhand smoke.

In conclusion, we all need to wake up and question ourselves, "Are the Navajo casinos a good choice we made?"

We all need to get together and ask this question. People need to start sending letters to their elected officials and not only at the tribal level but also at the state and federal level. We need resourceful input on how we can better manage the casino revenue for the Navajo people before it's too late.

May God bless each and everyone.

Ernest Yazzie
Churchrock, N.M.

Mine purchase opaque as coal

The non-transparency of the purchase of coal rush Navajo Mine is a huge problem. I got coal from the public coal dump and the large chunks were nothing but rocks and coal. Is our coal resource becoming a dirty coal? Is this why BHP is selling out?

This kind of coal will cost more money to process and no one is going to buy dirty coal. I thought the coal and the land belonged to the Navajo Nation. What did we really buy?

I thought when business leaves Navajo country, the business assets and buildings belong to the Navajo Nation.

BHP recently released a financial report for their investors. BHP claims loss of $25 million in coal sales. BHP was able to make up the loss in coal sales by reducing operating cost. Is this why BHP terminated 23 senior employees after the purchase of the mine?

Investors do not like revenue loss. Is this why BHP is selling out?

The loss in coal sales will result in more years to pay back the $85 million loan to NTEC. BHP is not going to give the Navajo Nation a free loan. The interest rate of this loan is going to be millions of dollars added to the loan. How much money? How are we paying for the operating cost? There's no transparency.

I am sure the problems were in the top secret due diligence studies that cost $3 million in Navajo people's money. If our money was used, why? Are the studies not released to the full studies to the council and the public? No transparency.

The $500 million insurance performance bond is going to cost us millions of dollars in interest. No one asked how much money during the performance bond Council session.

So far we spent $92.1 million for the mine purchase, to establish NTEC and due diligence studies. This is not including millions in interest money. This is not including the cost of the performance bond.

Where is our Navajo Nation attorney general and our controller? They are supposed to protect our finances, our contracts and our investments. We should tell businesses what we want, instead of waiving liabilities and our sovereign.

The people that go to the flea market are smart. Before they purchase they ask, "How much?" They stay within their budget and even negotiate to a lower price. We need leadership that will ask, "how much?"

Election is around the corner. We need to elect leaders that preserve our money for the future of our children and grandchildren. They need money to survive in their world and not live in bankrupted government. A good example is the bankrupted city of Detroit. Corrupt leadership ran the city deep into the ground.

We cannot elect childish delegates who slam their hands on the Council's desk demanding their way and vote for continued corruption, and delegates demanding not to give in to public media pressure. These type of comments are coming from senior delegates.

We need an administration, speaker of the house, and council that truly believe in government transparency, without corruption.

Sammy Ahkeah
Shiprock, N.M.

Not all elderly are respectable

In the Navajo Times article titled "Kayenta man faces life for sexual abuse of minor" (Jan. 30) by Bill Donovan, it tells how a Navajo elderly, Billy C. Young, has been found guilty by a federal jury on two counts of aggravated sexual abuse. This case was brought forth to the U.S. District Judge, Stephen M. McNamee, from Jan. 7-15.

Young is being held in custody pending his sentencing set for March 31, 2014. Conviction for aggravated sexual abuse of a minor carries a mandatory penalty of 30 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison, or a $250,000 fine or both.

Many Americans tend to believe that the elderly people are one of the most respected individuals who we should show tribute too, for their wisdom and knowledge of life. However, in this article it clearly shows the opposite revealing that some elderly people can be dangerous and abusive conducting twisted actions, in result causing pain grievance amongst families who are targeted. The article states, "The evidence at trial showed that Young molested three different girls on the Navajo Nation, all under the age of 15 years old, over a 25-year period."

This issue is extremely inappropriate, and the law must be enforcing for this act should not be tolerated on the Navajo Nation. These kinds of events really show how cruel our society can be, and we cannot just overlook many of the issues we are facing as a nation.

Crime itself is a difficult issue to resolve and to ensure safety from it, whether it's the state or our very own Navajo Nation. It is a granted fact that violence will always be in our lives, schools, and in our communities but we can help reduce them within our communities by collaborating with each other to help resolve and heal.

One plan of action is to promote more sexual assault workshops to help spread awareness to families about the sexual offenders in communities, and how to educate our children not to trust strangers, young or old.

Ashton Tso
Flagstaff, Ariz.

Please someone fix NR 546!

In Shiprock, there are two road departments, BIA Road Department and Navajo Nation Department of Transportation, which neither will claim responsibility for the maintenance of one NR 546 that runs along the bluff above the San Juan River, a two-mile stretch of road that is pitted with potholes over and over.

It is again that I voice opinions about this road which services many residents of the Mesa Farm Bluff Road area and which also serves as bus routes for two school districts (Shiprock Associated Schools and Central Consolidated Schools). Insignificant as we may be to politicians and managers in offices who do not have to travel this road, we that travel this road many times a day are important.

Currently NR 546 is not any more improved from 2012 or prior, when temporary patches on a thin layer of asphalt transpired. Another method of repair of partial breaking of old asphalt, covering with dirt, and grading only held temporarily.

The situation of a bad road was bound to have an accident happen and it did. On Feb. 5, a bus from Central Consolidated Schools ran into a small car that was trying to avoid potholes and both vehicles ran off the road. Had there been kids still on the bus that afternoon, injuries could have occurred. Many other accidents have happened over the years by people trying not to hit the potholes and not to mention unnecessary expenses as people incurred for vehicle tire repairs and other wheel repairs resulting from the bumpy, pitted road.

Is it only to appease or the appearance of some type of consideration that there was placed a counter at the entrance of the Mesa Farm Bluff Road turnoff by Highway 491 to count vehicles traveling on NR 546? Who will take responsibility to permanently fix this road?

We have a BIA roads department who, according to their mission statement still states, "The Bureau of Indian Affairs Navajo Regional Office's mission is to enhance the quality of life, facilitate economic opportunity, carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of the Navajo Nation and individual Indians."

Wilford R. Joe
Shiprock, N.M.

Ahehee, Miss Navajo!

My name is Julie Apache and I am from Church Rock, N.M. I go to school at St. Michael's Special Education. On behalf of all the Special Olympic athletes, I would like to thank Miss Navajo and all the royalties for fundraising for Special Olympics. We look forward to the Navajo Nation Spring Games. Ahe'hee!

Julie Apache
Church Rock, N.M.

You're welcome, Special Olympics!

Ya'ateeh Shiké’ dóó Shidine'é! Well, we did it! The Tip-A-Royalty event was a huge success. I am proud to say that 24 royalties from across our Navajo Nation showed their support and worked very hard refilling drinks and busing tables.

Let's not forget to mention, they all looked very beautiful doing it. All the tips we earned went directly to the Special Olympics Navajo Nation.

I would like to extend my thanks to all those who came to support our fundraiser. Your contribution and thoughts were greatly appreciated by all who participated. To put feelings into positive action is a powerful antidote for hopelessness.

Again, I truly appreciate your support and thoughtfulness. Thank you for your contributions. Ahe'hee!

Natasha Hardy
Miss Navajo Nation

Good luck to the Wildcats

Good luck in the AlA state basketball tournament. I hope you guys win and score high. Good job to the girls' basketball team for making it to the Sweet 16 in the AIA tournament.

Jermaine Lowe
Many Farms Elementary School
Many Farms, Ariz.

Godspeed, Chinle!

I just wanted to say good luck in the AIA basketball tournament. I hope the boys score much better than last time. I hope the boys practiced hard to get really good. So do your best to beat them in Phoenix. To let you know I am 9 years old and I go to school at Many Farms Public School.

Thank you for making it to the Sweet 16Êin the AIA tournament. I hope the girls score much better next time and you did great work on winning. I think the next tournament the girls will win and I hope your coach teaches you more stuff.

Tristan James
Many Farms Elementary School
Many Farms, Ariz.

Nice dunk, No. 5!

I am Terryuna Nez. I am 10 years old. Good luck Chinle out in Phoenix. I wish I could watch you guys play but I can't. I'm a fan of you guys. I really hope you guys win. Good luck Ty and the Wildcat boys and good job for making it to the AIA state tournament. So play hard, just the way you guys did against the Tuba City Warriors. Nice dunk to No. 5. Play hard too.

Good job Lady Cats for making it to the AIA Sweet 16. I hope you guys win more next year.

Terryuna Nez
Many Farms Elementary School
Many Farms, Ariz.

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