Martin brings Bennett Freeze, the Confluence into campaign

By Krista Allen
Western Agency Bureau

MOENKOPI, Ariz., June 12, 2014

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As the granddaughter of one of the most influential figures in Western Navajo, Mary Martin embodies much of what makes the confluence of the Little Colorado and Colorado rivers special.

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See video excerpts from the presidential candidates' appearance at the Navajo Nation candidates' forum June 23 in Tuba City.

“I love my grandma,” said Carrie Lynn Martin, the only woman running for the highest office in Diné Bikéyah. “She inspired me. She’s the one person who inspired me to run. She’s just out there. She wants so much for her people."

Having grown up in the former Bennett Freeze, Martin knows about troubles that the Diné face. She has great power, wit and intelligence, and is one of the finest young executives at Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort.

Her 18-month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has set her high moral standards, and her education at Dixie State College of Utah together with Arizona State University have opened up a great mind.

“I started thinking about the social concerns of our people,” said Martin in an interview with the Navajo Times on Sunday afternoon. “In order for things to progress in our lives, we need to be more outspoken about our concerns and solutions of how we can resolve (them)."

As she continues to campaign, the mania surrounding her potential presidential primary candidacy is heating up.

Although she hasn’t formally announced her candidacy, Martin’s using Facebook and other social networking sites such as Twitter to target voters online, especially the younger population.

Martin could not have come into the ring at a better time, particularly since she’s battling against 16 men who have might have a lengthy political résumé and much more experience than she does.

Like her grandmother, she is a longtime, unbending Confluence conservative who is in opposition to the Navajo Nation’s proposal to build a multimillion-dollar there.

“I’m against the location,” said Martin. “If they want to start a resort, they need to put it closer to the road, not where it’s a sacred area. They’ve different phases that they have and those phases are going to run right into my family’s (grazing area). We don’t want that. It’s (an area) that we want to keep clean, pristine, and sacred."

At a fundraising event last month in Tónaneesdizí, President Ben Shelly reportedly said that the proposed resort “is not going to happen” because of lawsuits.

Martin, the former Miss Indian Dixie (2001-2002), is a strong advocate for a number of causes including education, protecting sacred areas, young leadership and preserving the Navajo language and culture.

“I believe and I know that Navajo is a powerful language,” said Martin, who reads, writes and speaks fluent Diné Bizaad. “When I say my prayers in Navajo, the spirit of it is so much different than if I were to say my prayers in English."

There are many other causes she supports but for the most part, she’s a strong advocate for women.

Martin says women are very dear to her because she was raised by her grandmother in Bodaway-Gap in the heart of the former Bennett Freeze.

“My grandmother always tells her grandchildren, ‘You are my heart.’ I believe that,” she said. “It should be the other way around, too. The elderly are our hearts. They carry those traditions and the passion of being Diné that we don’t have."

Perhaps being a woman president would likely bring massive changes to the Navajo Nation. She would even likely give rise to a whole new fashion sense with her sister’s clothing designs.

“I’m not into fashion,” she said. “I’m just going to be me, a business professional. I’m not into designer clothes or anything that’s expensive."

All in all, Martin is a humble person, which could be why Shelly is intimidated by a woman who’s ready to lead the Navajo Nation.

“I’m capable of doing it,” said Martin. “I have the love for the people and the land. I am Diné. I know the importance of being able to progress in an outside world. I love being Navajo. I know who I am and I know where I come from - I’m ready to lead."

Born on Oct. 3, 1976, to Darlene Martin and Raymond Dickson, Martin is Naasht’ézhí Tábaahá (Zuni-Edgewater Clan), born for Ma’ii Deeshgíízhíníí (Coyote Pass-Jemez Clan). Her maternal grandparents are Honágháahnii (He-Who-Walks-Around-One People Clan), and her paternal grandparents are Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water Clan).

She’s unmarried and doesn’t have children.

“Someday, I want to be married and I want to have children who are full Navajo,” she said. “I want them to know their language, and I want them to know their culture. I want them to have opportunities here on Navajo."

With the support of her family, the 37-year-old will be on the hustle at communities throughout the Navajo Nation including events, flea markets, and the presidential forums.

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