Upset that U.S. flag not included

WINDOW ROCK,Aug. 14, 2014

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I was very distraught by the disrespect shown to the people when the Navajo Nation disregarded the time honored practice to display the U.S. flag at an official meeting called by the Navajo Nation. The only flags presented were the Navajo Nation, the state of Arizona and the flag of Israel.

The U.S. flag has great significance for many of us. My sons, father-in-law, other family members, friends, colleagues, and many others deserving of respect that comes with defending and having defended the United States, the people, their communities and families and the freedom we are blessed with are represented by the U.S. flag.

As a former law enforcement officer, elected public official, employee of the Navajo Nation, the state of Arizona and the U.S. government, I took an oath to protect the United States, as did family, friends, colleagues and many others. Many of them lost their lives in the service of their country, many families lost loved ones serving this country, and many were injured or had loved ones injured as a result of their commitment to the people.

Blatant disregard of this was disheartening to say the least. Public officials represent the people. Public officials made promises before they took office to make certain they knew what would be expected of them, these oaths were made before the people they represent. It was unfortunate that Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly and his office ignored the oaths they made.

Since this is an election year we need to carefully consider the ability, the integrity, and the commitment of the people that are asking for our votes. We need to make certain that we elect and hire people that will not undermine the integrity of the people. One person that comes to mind is Chris Deschene. He is a veteran. While this may sound like a political speech, it is not. I am trying to say be careful who you elect. Protect the Navajo people's government, freedoms, sovereignty, and resources by making certain the person that receives your political support will put the interests of the people before their own, that they respect the people, our governments and the future of the people.

Be certain that the person you vote for will not compromise or undermine the integrity of the Navajo people or our government. Support the person that will not put the Navajo Nation in a position that is questioned by the federal government or the people.

Kent Graymountain
Tuba City, Ariz.

Letter writers deceived into believing a lie

When terror came upon this country and we were deliberately attacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001, I was moved to learn about the Middle East area and this ideology of radical Islam, because all of the hijackers were Arab Muslims.

Sept. 11 should have been a wake-up call to all Americans, however, it doesn't appear that we have learned anything from history.

I vividly remember the footage I saw on the news. Palestinian Arabs cheering and celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers, meanwhile our true friend and ally Israel was grieving with us.

Fast-forward 12 years to today. I'm stunned at what I've been reading in the Navajo Times because people are deceived into believing a lie rather than searching the truth for themselves. Sadly, there is a sense of apathy directed at the nation of Israel.

I will provide you two answers: 1) There's an increasing amount of anti-Semitism on the college campus which seems designed to provide students with a one-sided view of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Instructors are indoctrinating students in antagonism towards Israel; 2) The liberal media is much to blame because they are very biased against Israel. There is no fair reporting and footages are "one-sided" to promote their pro-Arab propaganda.

This is an opportunity to share what I have uncovered. I'm going to be "politically incorrect" when I make this statement: "There never has been a Palestine and never has been a Palestinian people."

The people referred to as Palestinians are Arab people who are from the neighboring Arabic countries of Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq who read, write, subtract, speak, think, worship and live Arabic. There is no Palestinian language period.

These Arabs were migrant workers who came to Israel looking for work in the mid-19th century and the Jewish landowners hired them. Much like the migrant Mexicans who come to this country looking for work. The migrant Arab workers remained in Israel because they were displaced by their own Arab people.

Much of history has been ignored. In AD 135, the Roman Emperor Hadrian removed the name "Judea" and renamed it Palaestina. Hadrian was outraged at the Jewish nation and wanted to erase the name Judea and any Jewish presence. He coined up Palaestina because it was a reference to the Philistines who were ancient enemies of Israel. The name was eventually shortened to Palestine.

During World War II the Arabs aligned themselves with Germany against England. When World War II ended the name Palestine was revived under the British Mandate of Palestine. The British violated the mandate under the League of Nations unilaterally granting most of the land to the Arabs and downsizing Israel.

There has been suffering on both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict. If you want to protest don't protest the only ally and friend we have in the Middle East, but protest Hamas. There is no difference between Hamas, Fatah, ISIS, Al-Qaeda and the 9/11 hijackers. They are terrorists sharing the same radical ideology.

You also have to realize that the Gaza Arabs voted Hamas in as their elected leaders knowing that they were a terrorist organization. Hamas is responsible for all the casualties and destruction in Gaza. Israel has always wanted peace but during every cease fire, Hamas has fired rockets into Israel.

There are more pressing issues on the Navajo Reservation to focus on. Our Navajo people are still without water and electricity in the Bennett Freeze. Our Navajo people are still suffering and without water due to the contamination caused by uranium mining. The list goes on and on.

I'm aware that there may be some who will disagree, but I recall what a wise Navajo judge wrote in a letter to the Navajo Times: "You can disagree, but disagree respectfully."

Don't resort to name calling because there is already too much violence and hatred in this world.

Valli M. Crank
Tuba City/Cameron, Ariz.

Feature more articles written by Diné

I found myself very confused after reading the article, "Five years later, town still reeling from '09 artifact raids" (July 31, 2014).

I live in Monument Valley, Utah, and am Diné. I occasionally shop in Blanding, Utah (the town referenced in Alysa Landry's article). I feel that this article was very biased in the case of Dr. Redd and the other 23 people that were indicted in the case. The way Landry wrote the article it sounded as though she was defending Dr. Redd and the white "victims" -- excuse me -- citizens of Blanding.

In the article, there were only a couple of sentences explaining that ancestral Puebloan ruins and artifacts are sacred. They are sacred and are not to be taken and sold. It was wrong that those people dug up ancestral Puebloan artifacts and sold them.

It is unfortunate that three people killed themselves that were involved in this case. However, it was their choice to do that. They had a choice to kill themselves just as the two people in the case who killed themselves made the choice to dig up artifacts and sell them. The author of this article wrote it as if she was in support of the Blanding citizens that were "terrorized" by the U.S. government. Well, citizens of Blanding, "Welcome to what it feels like to be an American Indian."

After having read the article, I decided to research the author, Alysa Landry, to see who she was and what her background is because I found it hard to believe that a Diné person would write such a slanted, biased, pro-white article defending the white citizens of Blanding. My results: I found Ms. Landry's LinkedIn profile and saw that she is a white female according to her bio picture and that she had attended Brigham Young University for her bachelor's degree.

It all clicked, I had found my answer ... it is common knowledge that Blanding is a predominantly Mormon community and BYU is a Mormon university. It all began to make sense.

Navajo Times, as a Diné citizen, I would like to read more articles written by Diné people because after all, the title of your newspaper is the Navajo Times. The racist attitudes of Blanding and of border towns surrounding the Navajo Nation has seeped its way into an article of a newspaper written for Diné people.

We, as Diné people, deal with enough racism and discrimination and it does not need to be in a Diné newspaper. If I wanted to read discriminative articles with racist undertones against Diné people I would read the Farmington Daily Times, but, oh wait, Landry has written for that newspaper as well. Please feature more pro-Diné articles written by Diné people. Ahéhee'.

Jessica Banks
Monument Valley, Utah

Surprised at tone of Zah's guest column

First the usual disclaimer -- the views in this letter are my personal thoughts and not those of any present or former employer or client.

I was surprised at the tone of Peterson Zah's guest column in the July 31, 2014, Navajo Times which attacked the Navajo Nation Supreme Court over its June 20, 2014, opinion in the Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company case and also attacked Louis Denetsosie, Paul Frye and Harrison Tsosie ("Navajo Supreme Court abuses its power").

Zah is one of the great Navajo leaders over the last half-century and perhaps the only Navajo Nation chairman or president during this period who had substantial and long-lasting achievements during this period and whose personal integrity was unquestioned, so when he lashes out at the Supreme Court (which, as he notes, his first administration created) and lawyers he worked with in the past like Denetsosie and Frye, his comments are certainly worth reading and thinking about.

It is certainly unusual for a court to find it lacks jurisdiction over a complaint Ñ as the Supreme Court did Ñ and then make substantive rulings on issues raised by the pleadings. (Of course since the court found jurisdiction over the counterclaim, the remand of the counterclaim back to the district court to hear the counterclaim is not unusual and makes sense.)

Given the dilemma the court and Navajo Nation faced with two groups each claiming to be the legitimate leaders of NNOG, and given the strictures of the Navajo Sovereign Immunity Act such that there was no apparent way to achieve a quick resolution of the dispute, it is not surprising that the Supreme Court fashioned a remedy which would let some group be "in charge" of NNOG and thus be able to protect its business and assets and be responsible for running the corporation. (After all NNOG is not some private entity, but rather is owned by the Navajo Nation on behalf of the Diné people.)

And it ought to be remembered that the Supreme Court acted only after having implored the two factions to meet and work out their differences in a way that permitted NNOG to operate in the best interests of the Navajo Nation and the Diné people and that advice and direction was ignored.

That the Supreme Court (like Council Delegate Leonard Tsosie) recognized that corporate procedures for removal of directors needed to be complied with should certainly not be a surprise to Zah or anyone else, since this is generally true in all American jurisdictions. So instead of running off to federal District Court, the "shareholder representatives" would have been well advised to consider if there really were valid grounds to remove the members of the NNOG Board and, if so, pursue that removal in a proper legal mannerÑan option still open to them.

Finally, Zah is a great man and a great Navajo leader. But sometimes great men and great leaders make great mistakes. This is one of those times.

Lawrence A. Ruzow
Flagstaff, Ariz.

School board members become dysfunctional

I would like to praise the author of the letter of the week about the elected school board in last week's Navajo Times ("Don't pick school board members who have been around 'for years,'" by Kern Collymore). It is long overdue and it really hits the prime spot for most school board members.

It is absolutely true most of them become dysfunctional after the second term or so. And some are elected with no knowledge of education and its school policies and applicable mandates intended to improve our children's education. And that is the reason the reservation schools are falling farther and farther behind.

Some of them are afforded training opportunities off the reservation with the intent of educating them on these important mandates and instead they make it a paid vacation by taking joy and party out of it. They return empty-handed and only a few benefit.

It's embarrassing to see our elected officials do these types of nonsense. They don't realize the value of the precious dollars spent on them and get nothing in return. They need to be changed often like diapers. They gain wealth using our children, which I think is naive, insane and unacceptable.

Finally, it's sad to see them being controlled by the principals and administrators. They tend to get geared into administrative functions, right or wrong. The end result is usually terminating good teachers and support staff caused by the principal. They need to stick to their legislative functions.

Presently, term limit for the president and tribal Council is being placed before voters in the coming election. It would have been nice if the school board members were included.

I would like to urge the voters and parents to elect new action oriented people who are willing to learn about the current school policies and mandates so the schools in their district can start getting passing grades with the "No Child Left Behind" legislation.

Vern Charleston
Farmington, N.M.

Grand Canyon is a unique place

Today I learned about the proposal for the Grand Canyon Escalade on the Navajo Reservation. Although I live 2,000 miles away, I am deeply concerned.

Over the past 50 years I have backpacked in the Grand Canyon several times, always being careful to leave no trace of where I had been. The Grand Canyon is one of nature's unique places on our small earth. It is profoundly beautiful and sacred to me.

I recognize the right of the Navajo Nation to do as it sees fit within the reservation but I do ask that it seriously consider how a gondola would desecrate the Grand Canyon. This one-and-only canyon is a gift to all the peoples of the world and this larger view should be taken in our care of it.

I understand the project has been tabled for a year. May the tabling continue forever.

John Schieber
Holland, Pa.

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