Prez needs 'attitude adjustment'

FROM THE READERS, Jan. 26 2012

Text size: A A A

The conduct the president demonstrated in public recently at a meeting about public safety at Nageezi is a paramount concern with respect to the professional code of conduct ("Prez, delegate face-off at Nageezi meeting," Jan. 19, 2012).

I honestly think he needs medical attention so the integrity and respect at the presidential level can be restored.

His shouting confrontation with his own council delegate shows he is in the wrong business. The shouting confrontation is uncalled for. It shows he is unfit for the job and he's due for an attitude adjustment.

The kind of conduct he demonstrated belongs in the cage. Does he want to be in the cage in the Ultimate Fighting Championship? He might succeed.

This is not the first time his conduct was revealed publicly. I remember he dared the former chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee to a fistfight over some budget issues in the early 2000's. I thought that was plain childish. The council members back in the day know it.

The other issue I would like to comment on is the public safety director. There has to be a reason the president is protecting the director.

The director is reported to pose a danger to the public with the Division of Public Safety issued handgun. He is also running from the law in the Phoenix Metro area. How can he be trusted to head the public safety division?

Mr. Prez, are you waiting for tragedy to occur before you take action to replace the director? There's too much at stake. I urge you to take action now.

There is an unprecedented need for public safety for residents along Highway 550 due to the number of fatalities in the past. The San Juan County Commission has provided a police substation a couple of years ago and all that are lacking law enforcement personnel. Thanks to Mr. Ervin Chavez for taking the lead for the substation.

Vern Charleston
Shiprock, N.M.

Nageezi meeting a muddle

The meeting among President Shelly, chapter leaders and county/state police force at Nageezi was a sham ("Prez, delegate face-off at Nageezi meeting," Jan. 19, 2012).

Everyone, including the press, the county and the guests did not notice, says the Navajo Times, whether Shelly was angry.

So what? It appears that the media is part of this problem. Atzee/Zee.

What was it that these leaders were to meet about? Yazzie should have been considered enough first to ask to speak and Shelly should have allowed people the time to have the floor (microphone).

The talks were hurried and muddled so that Shelly took advantage of it and chose not to provide the community a good reason for not removing the police chief. And he should have. The community requests it.

There was no order in this meeting and no goals were set and the community went away without a plan of better consumer services of police protection, etc. What a sham.

Navajo Nation leaders cannot see eye to eye and cannot stand each other for more than 30 minutes in a forum in one room. That goes for Mrs. Benally as well. She makes a clown of herself and Navajos do not respect that.

This forum is an example of what causes a Diné; much concern about the future of the Navajo people.

Yael Begaye
Tucson, Ariz.

Blame on reporter is misplaced

This letter is in response to the article printed by Cindy Yurth: "Diné; College official sentenced for DUI" (Jan. 12, 2012).

Good job! Thank you Cindy for reporting unsavory actions like driving under the influence of people who live on Dinetah. Too many times we read or hear about someone getting seriously hurt or killed because of drinking and driving.

According to the court notes (, Diné; College Interim Dean of Academics Abraham Bitok was found guilty by a judge and punishment was rendered forth.

Thank you Cindy for reporting on this DUI because now, as a parent, I am rethinking should I send my child to Diné; College since they seem to take very lightly Mr. Bitok's DUI and allow him to continue to drive college vehicles and don't bother to see when he is going to treatment, as mandated by the judge.

Doesn't Diné; College have insurance they have on vehicles and stringent guidelines?

Yes, Diné; College looks like a hopeful, sad foster child that seeks and wants the attention of an attentive, loving parent but no one wants to make corrections of issue a plan of action so that its image can develop into the kind of learning institute where parents proudly encourage their children to attend.

Nonetheless, I agree with (Anjeanette Beyale, Letters: "DUI article counter to children's teachings," Jan. 19, 2012) that DC was created to help Navajo students and those who want a better life through education is important and very much needed.

However, do we really need a person with a DUI leading our children when they seem to thumb their nose at United State laws and judicial orders?

I don't see how sharing this illegal act was Cindy's fault at all. If you want to place blame, then do so upon the shoulders of Mr. Bitok because he made a decision to drink and drive that day.

Yes, everyone makes mistakes in their lives. In fact, one of the most spoken about individuals in Navajo culture made mistakes a lot, but Navajos used him as a learning tool of how not to behave. His name was coyote (mai). Children will tell you stories about his antics and bad behavior. So, Ms. Beyale, we do talk about bad behavior and it is a learning lesson.

I'm sure Mr. Bitok is a good person. He just made a bad decision and is now paying for it in the public realm, as well as in the court system.

Therefore, I appreciate Navajo Times and reporter Cindy Yurth for sharing this information because Mr. Bitok is a public official being paid by Navajo funds, and exists on Navajo land, among Navajo people, and in legal terms, he is our guest who agreed to behave according to our Navajo code of conduct, and according to the tenets listed on Diné; College's Web site ("Sa'ah Naaghai bik'eh Hozhoo").

Finally, it was not Yurth who made Tsaile or Diné; College look bad, as suggested in Ms. Beyale's letter. Tsaile is still a beautiful forest land with majestic mountains and clear, sweet water from various springs that helps sustain life and people continue to enjoy the lakes with family and friends.

Diné; College still educates hundreds of Navajo students despite trying to recover from positive and negative antics ongoing.

So, don't blame Cindy Yurth for reporting on an event that could impact people on the highways and on Dinetah, or accuse her of making Bitok look bad. For, the only person who made Abraham Bitok look "bad" is Abraham Bitok.

Jackie Kee
Seba Dalkai, Ariz.

We must understand changes around us

According to the mystical mathematics of the Mayan people, this year is supposed to be the point in time when "plumed serpent" returns to reality.

Coincidentally, it is also the year of the dragon to the Chinese people.

So what does this mean to we, the people?

These days are filled with change and we have to understand how these changes are affecting us. For instance, it is an election year for the United States and we have to see how we are going to be affected by the global consequences that arise from the leaders of the American people.

Newt Gingrich, for example, believes, as stated in his Ph.D. dissertation, that colonialism and imperialism are natural ways that nations are and have enriched themselves.

This sends alarms to a lot of people because if he were president all the government-to-government relations would fail on deaf ears.

The glaring example is that if viewed with a certain pair of lenses our "Navajo Nation" has always been seen as an energy colony.

The other GOP candidate, Mitt Romney, once a visionary representative of what might have been called the "New Republican Party" has slid into the heart of conservatism (i.e., greatly limited spending on low to middle class voters).

More interesting is his spiritual faith. The historical narrative of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-Day Saints is directly counter to the oral histories of a lot of the indigenous peoples of this hemisphere.

The idea of Lamanites and Mennonites, what LDS people believe pre-historic peoples are named and which we, the "Indians" are supposedly descended from, directly de-humanizes all the 572 federally recognized indigenous peoples.

I know there are LDS Navajos out there, but I stand firm with the reasoned facts of our existence and hope that the people start thinking about how politics are going to shape the coming decades.

The past two decades after Bill Clinton's presidency to now has seen the full expression of the power and wealth a "Super Power of the World" can wield, and the bare facts when we look at the state of the Native nations is that the treaties and expressed federal agreements between the U.S. and Native nations has left the Native peoples mired in a vast array of social ills.

Not saying that government structures are the end all and be all of how to shape human societies, but if we take a look at the pillars of what should have been progression to a greater society we see that the Native peoples have systematically, due to entrenched institutional racism been left out of the opportunity to be and express our collective humanity.

We only have to look and listen to our relatives of what is happening to the people. People are denied healthcare, people are hungry, and people are in despair. Our leaders were stealing millions from the people.

And now the only answer they have to help the people is to either gamble, and/or tear at the earth and sell the resources. Fundamentally, this is wrong, and the consequence is the global climate change.

The people, not the thieves that call themselves our leaders, have to begin to take action on understanding what the world is becoming.

Mario Atencio
Torreon, N.M.

Veteran's needs ignored

I need your help and support, my people. I presented my complaint to the commander of the Western Navajo Agency (veterans organization). He first told me that what these people did was totally wrong and not right and told me to come to the LeChee veteran's meeting on Dec. 21, 2011.

When I presented my case there in public, his response there was to "get more support and to love your comrades for what they did was not wrong."

I truly believed the Western Navajo Agency commander was going to support me but when it came down to the nitty-gritty nothing happened. After he labeled politicians as politicians I came to conclude he also is a politician.

Here is my complaint and what I presented to Navajo Department of Veteran Affairs:

With all due respect, improvements have to be made to our infant organization. I registered with Western Navajo Agency veterans in 2001 under Coppermine veterans. I was let down by this organization in 2004 when my housing paperwork was lost at the agency office as I was on the verge of attaining a veteran's home.

The Besh Hageed Bindaazbah, B.B., group started in January 2010 and I transferred to this organization in June 2011 because I realized our records did not transfer automatically.

I am the ninth member. I was never informed by this group's activities until I was informed they had funds for veterans that are from Coppermine Chapter.

We do not own a home and are living in a one-bedroom loaner home that was built in 1968 and doesn't have electricity or plumbing, with my wife and three children (ages 6, 4 and 4 months).

We asked for a restroom addition from our chapter. We were denied aid from our chapter for lack of funding but were informed that the B.B. was given $60,000 and had funding in several accounts that have not been used over five years, and several B.B. members have received aid more than once with over $1,000 or more within the past 18 months.

I asked for aid from B.B. but they informed me they didn't have funding also. From here I was curious what happened to all the funding and asked for the minutes.

Only $9,000 was accounted for in the minutes, which I dropped off at the chapter house also on the records they gave me, because our chapter had no record of our group's activities.

From here I met resistance and was accused of attempting on derailing the group's goal of helping all veterans and was told that this information was confidential also.

I am not asking the veterans who already received funding to return the funding they received but I am asking that changes need to occur for future veterans.

1. There are veterans who have homes off the reservation. I cannot verify if they own their homes or rent. They received funding for their second homes on the reservation.

2. We did not have a place to put in a complaint. B.B. was angry that I did not go through the chain of command. We need a whistleblower office or an open door policy with our veteran leaders at the agency and Window Rock.

3. There is no transparency in our organization. The B.B. and the leaders say it is not necessary and believe that there doesn't need to be because it prevents certain veterans from receiving financial aid in the future.

4. There is intimidation and retaliation involved when a veteran starts asking questions. Makes it worse if people are or related to chapter officials, pastors or medicine men within the community, it increases the fear for veterans to speak up.

5. Only the veterans with home-site leases are receiving aid for their second homes in B.B. Our leaders seriously fought off the federal poverty guideline but refused to remove the requirements for the home-site lease.

It appears they stopped so that only the few, the leaders, would benefit from it but not the rest of us. (Most of our community members received powerlines and restroom additions without having homesite leases.)

I am disappointed with all these leaders. I am beginning to think the days of true integrity are now gone, where people had empathy for one another is a thing of the past.

Since there is much talk about the Veteran's Act, these issues need to be also addressed in that act. Thank you for taking the time to read this very disappointed veteran's letter who served his country honorably.

Chris Benally
Coppermine, Ariz.

Back to top ^