Code talkers were true Americans

WINDOW ROCK, June 12, 2014

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My sincere condolences to the family and friends of Chester Nez; an era ends with his passing.

Many who call themselves Americans have never heard of the great contribution he and his 29 fellow code talkers made to the great war, but a few of us old "bilagaana" know of and appreciate the vital role they played. They were true Americans in any sense of the word.

Thank you Chester and your fellow heroes.

Retired Lt. Floyd Shirk
U.S. Navy
Joplin, Mo.

Election is about you, not candidates

What's your vote worth? A bowl of deception with a cup of empty hope and promise, a side of fried trust, lies and theft. Icing on the cake? An illusion of prosperity and progression now being served by current officials and a number of has-beens, even one old jailbird -- the deceivers. How long are we going to continue the same old song and dance?

When it comes to election time, we're like repeat offenders voting to keep kicking that same old can down the road. It seems our ignorance and stupidity outweighs our common sense as well as our sense of duty for ourselves. Anyhow it's election time, are you worthy?

Time to question your competence or incompetence. Are you an accountable, reliable, worthy constituent to vote? Will you be responsible for your actions or will you choose to be irresponsible and run? Will you be persuaded with a bowl of mutton stew? How about one of crusty Rita's fry bread -- will you share or will you be selfish -- true official?

Finally, will you jump off that cliff for Shirley, for Shelly and Jim? What about Naize? No? Then why veto to regress?

Before I send this pony express I have to challenge the validity that Shelly/Jim and others made full restitution to the people, not just an "I did." We need to see documentation primarily because their words are not trustworthy.

The truth folks, this isn't about the candidates, it's about you. After all, this is your government. These elected officials are representatives/servants elected to represent you. In other words, they work for you. You have the right to question their actions.

How you decide and how you vote will determine whether we sink or swim. Keep in mind since 2003 we've seen financial blunders losing millions and theft in the millions, which are still costing and depriving you of your needs not being met. People's needs were put on the backburner in order to develop casinos, which to date, have no benefits.

The past 11 years have left you exactly where you are. So much for prosperity and progression. Ready for another 11 years?

Michael Halona Sr.
Albuquerque, N.M.
(Hometown: Buffalo Springs, N.M.)

Top officials show ridiculous spending habits

This is the most ridiculous spending habit for the Navajo Nation president. Approving the Legislation No. 00043-14, allowing money to be taken from Health, Education and Human Services Committee to pay $200,000 for Business Unit 112007 for the Navajo Air Transportation to maintain aging aircraft fleet and jet fuel?

Sell the airplanes and use the money for more important programs for the Diné.

In the old days, if the Navajo Nation chairman needed to travel the airport was used out of Albuquerque. The expenses would be so much less to drive there and catch the plane.

There shouldn't be too many trips outside of the four sacred mountains anyhow. Now, if there is a trip to Washington to advocate for grant money, then sure fly out there. Too many people from all over the world and the USA travel to experience and explore the Navajo Nation and have to look at the Navajo ghetto just like one of the big inner cities. What a shame!

We have better projects that money could be used for like fixing roads, cleaning the trash that is just recklessly tossed on the ground, building water lines, extending power lines, improving the homes of the Diné citizens, improving the infrastructure across the nation (such as telephone and Internet), and getting rural addressing projects across the nation completed establishing the E911 system across the nation.

By doing the projects that I have mentioned jobs will be created for our families and we as a nation will be safer and more sovereign.

We as a nation say we are a sovereign nation so why are we depending on the counties and states that border the nation to provide us with our critical needs? Right now I do not think that we are sovereign due to this need to rely on the other agencies. This must change!

We need to watch the spending habits of our Navajo Nation Council. Why is any legislation being passed before the 110 chapters hear about what is on the table?

The delegates are not notifying their constituents about where the tribal money is being spent. We are supposed to have a say as to what and where the money should go.

I don't feel that it's right for the Navajo Nation Council to draft and pass legislation then tell the Diné citizens this is the legislation that passed. In looking at Naat'áj’ Nahat'á Hane' (Legislative Branch News) on the spring session I had heard nothing about any of the bills, and quite frankly, I do not like the way that the delegates are not representing their constituents honestly.

I don't feel that it is right that any member of the tribe, currently living on the reservation, should have to find out about a reform act through a non-Native newspaper, without having heard anything about it from any tribal source (e.g. tribal delegate or Navajo Times).

Kathy Anderson
Navajo, N.M.

Don't relocate principals to raise test scores

Gallup-McKinley County School District Superintendent Frank Chiapetti is allowing the turmoil simply to raise test scores among schools predominantly attended by Native American students.

Top-level staff, namely principals, at these schools are being relocated as if they are the cause of low test scores and as if test scores reflect or indicate the kind of education needed by our culturally disadvantaged children.

To my awareness, tests, for the most part, contain rote-memorized stuff, which have nothing to do with what our students need to know in coping throughout life. I wonder if Mr. Chiapetti knows or even cares what our youngsters need in life.

I am not an education scholar nor a scholar of any kind, but I am a Navajo who went through the so-called education process and managed to gain additional knowledge through the military service as well as my subsequent bouts with post-traumatic stress disorder and Agent Orange. I gained knowledge while picking up the English language.

I wonder if Mr. Chiapetti's "magicians" know how to raise scores in a cross-cultural setting. To do an effective job among our Navajo people, there is a great need to make our Navajo parents and leaders push their children to do well in school.

Navajo parents, who are not overbearing parents, constantly encourage their children to do well in school. As are the teachers and principals are against this wall of no parental support. I have seen the current young principal working with parents on this matter in their language. This is why our young bilingual principal should remain and they should involve all parents to raise test scores and bring about lasting change.

I may not know much about education, but I know about management. In management, you do not get rid of current managers (principals) to make improvements unless they are unable to learn. We should improve without destroying. After all, I don't think that Mr. Chiapetti's "magicians" will remain for long.

There should be no more relocating of principals just to raise test scores. The replacement of qualified individuals by "magicians" is a questionable idea that is not good for the children. Thank you for hearing me out and for your helpful intervention.

Johnson Benally Jr.
Crownpoint, N.M.

Looking for Jean

Ya'at'eeh. I am trying to locate Jean Yabeny. She and I went to Trinidad State Junior College back in the good old days of 1965.

It is very important to me getting in touch with her. We were very close friends while going to college.

I would greatly appreciate if Jean can get in touch with me of if anyone who knows where she might be.

I can be contacted at 719-598-3698. Reverse charges on my phone if you may.

Ronald R. Haberkorn
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Too much illegal trash dumping in Chinle

The community of Chinle is experiencing way too much illegal trash dumping. This is a very serious problem, which needs to be addressed by our local elected officials and other organizations that operate in the Chinle area.

As people drive into Chinle from the three paved roads (from west, from north and from east) and unpaved road from south, the first thing they see is trash along the road and animals eating trash. Trash is not only along the roadways, but also in remote areas, such as washes, gulleys, etc. If you ever go on top of the mesa, west of Chinle, you will see nothing but trash, which were dumped by local residents, as well as people from other chapters. As you go across the wash, east of Highway 191, you will see trash almost everywhere. I am sure this is not only in Chinle, but other areas.

Tourists come to Chinle to visit the canyon from all over the world. Is this a good image for our community? No!

What can we do to correct this? At one time we talked about creating a new supervised landfill operated by the chapter. There should either be a very small fee or get a grant so our people will not need to pay. Majority of the people are on fixed incomes and barely make it through the month. This is the reason they are doing illegal dumping.

The present transfer station is way too small for the size of the community. Only trash in bags is accepted here, large things are not allowed. This is what you see out in remote areas.

There is no talk at our local chapter about this serious health problem in our midst. This needs to be addressed immediately. I am sure they can come up with a workable solution to eliminate this serious problem. Harry Claw Chinle, Ariz. ÔRedskins' debate is a petty issue Again, the petty issue of whether the National Football League team name, the Washington Redskins, should be changed is being raised needlessly. See article titled "Diné action on ÔRedskins' pushes senators" (Navajo Times, May 29, 2014).

Navajo Nation Council Delegate Joshua Lavar Butler (Tuba City) who proclaims to be a proponent of the effort for a name change is quoted saying the Redskins name is "offensive." At Butler's urging, the Navajo Nation Council's Naabik'iyati' Committee purportedly passed a resolution by a vote of 9 to 2 on April 10, 2014, calling on the Redskins to change its name.

Let us be mindful that there are over 250,000 Navajo people. Nine individuals on the Naabik'yati' Committee do not represent the entire Navajo Nation. Not a single chapter endorsed a resolution in support of the name change nor was the subject debated by the Navajo people.

Even if it were presented as an "issue," it is certain that it would be discarded as a non-relevant issue not worthy of a debate or action, given the fact that issues of a depressed economy, lack of jobs, poverty, alcoholism, crime, domestic violence, diabetes, inadequate health care, need for safe and decent housing with utilities, need for scholarship funds, and needs of veterans are far more important and paramount.

What direct benefit would the Navajo people receive from a name change? Nothing!

First, we as Navajo people, are not "red skinned." We Navajos, as well as our other Native American brothers and sisters, our skin is brown.

Second, it is said the name is "offensive." How so? The proponents arguing offensive" have not produced an iota of evidence showing the number of Native Americans having expired because of the name Redskin." Concomitantly, there is no showing of evidence on the number of Native Americans institutionalized for emotional harm caused by the name Redskin."

The members of the U.S. Congress, particularly our own congressional delegation (Arizona, New Mexico and Utah), should not hastily or whimsically act on this petty issue.

The Native American population in the United States should join in a concerted effort to redirect the focus of our local and national leaders to the more important real issues that we Native Americans face daily, not something that is trivial.

Samuel Pete
Shiprock, N.M.

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