Thanks to all who helped fight Assayii Lake Fire

WINDOW ROCK, June 26, 2014

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O n behalf of Apache County, I would like to express my appreciation to all the dedicated firefighters, first responders, command operation personnel, law enforcement officers and most importantly to all the volunteers and Diné people throughout Navajoland, the state of Arizona and New Mexico.

I sincerely thank all of those who answered to call for help during the Assayii Lake Fire. Like many, I was able to witness the collaboration and joint efforts of Diné people and communities working together. Each one of you preformed your duties with expertise and professionalism to help protect our homeland and serve those in need.

I honor those courageous men and women who devoted long hours throughout the day and night to help contain the fire.

I would like to mention individuals who worked to contain the Assayii Lake Fire and recognize Bea Day, incident commander, Southwest Area Incident Command Team 3; Harold Brown, facilities unit; Rose Whitehair, incident commander, Navajo Nation Emergency Operations Section; including the surrounding chapters Ð Crystal, Red Lake, Fort Defiance, Naschitti, and Sheep Springs Ð and all the Navajo Nation departments and divisions.

I also like to acknowledge all of the Apache County personnel, law enforcement officers, and District II staff, who assisted with dust abatement, providing available trash bins and a portable metal storage building.

Finally, thank you to all of the individuals who donated items to the responders and families affected by the fire. Your heartfelt contributions played a huge factor and we appreciate every donation made to the Assayii Lake Fire.

There are many individuals that I might have not mentioned, however, I appreciate everyone's hard work and dedication.

Tom M. White Jr.,
Chairman, Apache County Board of Supervisors;
Apache County District II Supervisor

Shelly's comments about fire disheartening

I found it very disturbing for our Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly to go and take an aerial overview of the Assayii Lake Fire damage and just brush it off as nothing. Our elders lost everything in that fire, memories that they have held precious to their hearts, and for him to come and just state that it isn't that big of a fire is very shameful towards these elders.

I feel that he seems to declare things that don't involve him personally. This incident has brought the people together to help and offer condolences to their fellow Diné and for him to just look at it as if nothing is very disheartening.

Nothing will come from a leader who does not take the well-being of his constituents more seriously, for it is an elected official who has to take the issues presented to him/her to find solutions to restore the balance, rather than just ignore the problem and continue to ignore the public's pleas.

Yes, I may be a young individual but I feel that what I have been saying has to be said. In my time of observing this tribal government I found that every politician that has been elected has done nothing but lie to the people to gain the immortal seat of being a leader and the hunger to have power.

The individual who is elected this fall must remember this is just a privilege to hold this title but it has to be taken seriously and they cannot ignore the voices of the people who got them the title.

Like the late Michael Jackson used to say about corruption in his song, "They Don't Care About Us." These lyrics have a resounding effect on our current situations with all our elected officials because if it doesn't affect them they simply ignore the voices and pleas of the people who are suffering under the weight of a corrupt government.

In conclusion, the voices of the people have to be more important rather than ignored. Simply put, these voices were given to us to use by the holy people to communicate with each other, yet is has been used primarily to put each other down or to turn each other on one another.

Our ancestors did not trek on the Long Walk so one day we would all forget the very core of our values as being Diné. Their sacrifices did not pave the way for all of us to simply ignore and brush off the misfortunes of others.

President Shelly, shame on you for your remarks on this fire.

Jay Ross Slivers
Lukachukai, Ariz.

Vote during Navajo Nation elections

Navajo people, Election Day is looming and this is your chance to let your voice be heard and elect the best person to represent and lead the Navajo Nation.

Primary election will start Aug. 26. More information can be found at your local chapter house and the on the web by searching for Navajo Nation election primaries.

This year there are 17 Navajo members running for the Navajo Nation's highest office and it is up to you to choose the best person qualified to lead our nation. Evaluate the person based on his or her views on environment, education, natural resources, fiscal responsibility, and their history.

During forums ask them questions and evaluate their answers. Remember always to think outside the box and ask the hard questions such as their stance on the fiasco known as SB2109 or what their plans are for building an economy on a reservation where unemployment is the highest in the United States.

Do not be mesmerized by titles such as "state senator," "lawyer," "CEO" or gender. Be concerned with what you consider the best leader and be sure to evaluate the entire person.

I urge all eligible people young and old to vote this year and let their voices be heard in Window Rock. Ensure you check your voter's registration, take a little time off work, check out your candidate, and make your choice. Do not be afraid to ask the Navajo Nation Election office for help Ð they are paid to help you. If you do not vote, your voice, opinions, and what you believe are not represented.

"Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason." - Author Unknown.

Sean Alvin Begaye
Fort Bliss, Texas

Diné doing well at the pro level

I don't know how many people follow the professional rodeo circuits, namely the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and Women's Professional Rodeo Association. I do, it's interesting to me like people follow other major and local sports.

I follow this quite closely and check all the results weekly since we have pro rodeo contestants from the Navajo Nation in the PRCA and WPRA. I am very excited and pleased to report the latest results based on the respective websites.

Over the weekend, June 18-21, our Navajo Nation pro rodeo participants have done well. For example, Delveccio Kaye won the Santa Fe PRCA Rodeo, taking first place in bareback riding with 83 points and racked up $1,906. He also placed in his event at Alamosa, Colo., for fourth place with 72 points and won $197. So he had a good weekend with a $2,103 win.

This is unprecedented since they say "bareback bronc riding is a dying breed." This I believe is because the event is so demanding physically on the contestants' body and arm. Delveccio is setting the pace for our nation in participating at the highest level and winning in a jarring event.

The team-roping duo of Erich Rogers, Round Rock, Ariz., and Cory Petska, Lexington, Okla., is beginning to pick up their winning ways again. They just won Santa Fe Pro Rodeo over the weekend. The first place win was worth over $3,179 apiece including go-rounds.

With this win they are ranked No. 4 in the current PRCA world standings in heading and heeling at $33,484 and $33,831 won, respectively. They were doing extremely well before Rogers' knee injury and laid out for several months due to surgery as reported in the Navajo Times in a previous June issue.

WPRA professional barrel racer Kassidy Dennison of Tohatchi, N.M., I believe, is blazing hot on the pro rodeo circuit, all over the Southwest and Northwest regions. For example, she won third with a 17.35 at Pleasant Grove, Utah, over the weekend and $2,037, and at Santa Fe she took eighth place with a 17.48 and $278. Her weekend win is an impressive $2,315.

With her past weekend wins, she should move to No. 12 in the WPRA world standings with $33,688 won thus far. No one has ever reached this level from the Navajo Nation in professional barrel racing. If she maintains this consistency since the Houston pro rodeo in March 2014, where she did quite well, I believe she will be at the PRCA National Finals Rodeo representing WPRA.

For sure Rogers and Petska will be at the NFR in team roping. Best of wishes to all the professional rodeo contestants from the Navajo Nation.

Eugene Charley
Kayenta, Ariz.

Presidential forum motivates student

Yá'át'ééh, shidine'é. Shi é’ Erica Rose McCormick yinishyé. çd—on'é nishlin’g’’ 'é’ Tach’’n’ nishli. Naasht'ézh’ Bit'ahnii 'é’ básh’shch’’n. Ashiih’ 'é’ dashicheii nááhá. Naashgali dine'é 'é’ dashinal’. 'Ak—t'éego 'é’ 'asdzan’ nishli. Tód’néeshzhee' dee' naashá.

I am a 2014 graduate of Monument Valley High School and a Gates Millennium Scholar. I will be attending the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in the fall to major in psychology and business.

They say power is in a young mind. With the illumination of that young mind, time is the only obstacle in front of that young naat'aanii. At the Navajo Nation Presidential Forum held in Tuba City on Monday, June 23, I not only witnessed the illumination in a handful of these naat'aaniis but I received the chance to understand how and why these young naat'aaniis chose to embrace their intellect to enhance their nation - the Navajo Nation.

As I spoke with four particular leaders, I not only gained more excitement to fulfill my duty to my people, I also saw myself as the little ch'izi rez kid that these leaders once were. I could only speculate as to what these leaders envisioned when they were my age, how much drive, diligence, and hope they all had and are still holding onto. It may not be in the realm of politics, but I literally cannot sleep at night because of the excitement I feel when I reflect upon returning to Dinetah as Dr. McCormick.

Thank you, Carrie Martin (Navajo Nation presidential candidate representing the Bodaway/Gap Chapter), Chris Deschene (Navajo Nation presidential candidate representing the LeChee Chapter), Carlyle Begay (Arizona state senator), and Candace Begody (editor of the Navajo Times) for tackling every obstacle to achieve what you have.

You have motivated young college students like me to do the same.

Erica McCormick
Kayenta, Ariz.

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