Take a realistic approach to power plant

FROM THE READERS, February 9, 2012

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Hada Asidi, an independent organization consisting of Navajo grassroots and former Navajo Nation leaders, was formed in 2007. The organization's primary interest is to address violations relative to human rights of the Navajo people, as a sort of quality control for the people.

An example is a 2011 Hada Asidi action that supported a 2010 Navajo Nation Supreme Court decision that forced the Navajo Nation Council to re-establish the government reform commission.

Presently a prevailing interest of the Hada Asidi is the environmental issues of the Navajo Generating Station and Peabody, which are addressed in a manner somewhat misleading. Hada Asidi has chosen to make this public statement in hopes to better inform the Navajo people in a logical sense of the matter.

The Mohave Generating Station ceased operations in 2005 by influences of the Grand Canyon Trust, the Sierra Club, and other environmentalists that included several of our Navajo environmental activists.

The SC is presently taking the lead with interest centered on NGS, with intentions similar to what brought Mohave down.

There is gross misleading information instigated by the GCT and SC toward our Navajo activists and general Navajo public which Hada Asidi will attempt to clarify with this statement.

Since Hada Asidi became active on the issues of NGS and Peabody in the past three years, we question many areas in how the GCT and SC are pushing this issue on the Navajo Reservation, which we find to be serious in respect to Navajo economy.

In the process we've also realized that GCT and SC are funded by the wealthy and by that GCT and SC in turn provide financial support to the Navajo activists' operational expenses as well as fund their salaries in some cases.

Unfortunately our Navajo members involved do not realize they are only being used to that extent. The notion of health risks is only a small part of GCT and SC interest.

The wealth's main interest that the GCT and SC act on is to minimize or eliminate haze pollution in places like the Grand Canyon National Park, not so much the health or economics of the Navajo people.

However there seemed to be some logic to the Mohave shutdown at the time, although it was obvious that the majority of the pollution that Mohave was accused of was coming from Las Veg as and Los Angeles, where the wind normally blows to the northeast, still the case today.

The notion concocted by GCT and SC that has our Navajo members believe and act on are that NGS should also be shut down and immediately thereafter implement alternative energy as solar, wind power, hydro-electricity, etc., which is totally unrealistic.

While it is true cleaner energy is a necessity of the future it cannot be attained on the reservation in the manner suggested by GCT and SC where time involved at replacing NGS with alternative energy will take many years.

Therefore if NGS were to shut down then Peabody shuts down. Then the Navajo Nation government will partially close. Some or most of the chapters will be affected as well. So it won't be just NGS that will shut down, there will be a major domino effect. Take some time and think about that.

Realistically alternative energy has to be thoroughly planned, budgeted, personnel to be trained, and so forth. At this point in time there is much that has to be done in just preparing for the alternative energy idea.

We've expressed in times past that although there are millions of acres of land on the Navajo Reservation that could be used for solar/turbine farming, the properties are leased by people for their various needs. A good example is the Iyanbito Chapter where the community recently denied a solar farm idea.

Hada Asidi's recommendation is that all concerned take a realistic position to keep NGS operating while at the same time prepare for alternative energy implementation, which as a minimum should be to match NGS output of 2250 megawatts; implement an acceptable energy policy; locate land for solar/wind turbine farms; install transmission lines for solar/wind turbines to match NGS output; budget for all associated costs; train personnel for alternative energy technology, and so forth.

In reference to environmental issues at NGS and Peabody, why is the federal EPA and activists taking action to penalize corporations operating on the Navajo Reservation? It is Navajo EPA that has all the authority to act in the capacity to penalize Peabody for violations in their mining area.

Navajo EPA under a sovereign nation is vested to act in whatever manner to resolve environmental issues on the Navajo Reservation, not the federal EPA or any other activists taking control as such.

Reality is conditions are such that mankind has advanced so great in technology that it has affected the world and human environment, including Navajo, that it has damaged or helped world and human conditions. Diabetes is an example to human health, especially among the Navajos but in spite humans are living longer today as compared to 50 years ago.

The real issues as we've realized are the commitments made at the onset of the mining are not kept. The gullible residents of the Black Mesa community were caused to believe their community and individual homes would be upgraded with good passable roads, electricity and water connected to each home, jobs available to all employable members, and so forth.

As it is after 40 years of mining the original community conditions remain the same as when the promises were made to the good people of Black Mesa. All that it would take to remedy the problem is to simply make the promises a reality. That is whether the promises were written or verbal, the tribal leadership to just simply do it.

That is instead of the usual 50-50 concept during budget sessions, give additional to the community that gave up so much for the benefit of the nation, make up for lost time and get the Black Mesa community comparable to the best.

There is much more that Hada Asidi wants to address but because of allowed newspaper space the many other issues will be addressed by Hada,Asidi at a later time.

Milton Bluehouse
Hada Asidi President
Ganado, Ariz.

Eddy Arthur
Hada Asidi member
Many Farms, Ariz.

Tulley Haswood
Hada Asidi member
Rock Springs, N.M.

Where's the boss in credit card abuse?

The issue with the tribal P-Card has been troubling me and decided I should comment on it ("P-card abuse empties tribal office's budget," Jan. 26, 2010). It just gives the tribe another black eye.

Where was the boss? The boss might be in the scam just as well - $157,000 is way too much for a single person to swindle.

I thought it was only the council delegates that were self-serving with tribal money. I have always been critical about these career employees. Fire them all or retire them.

I would say the tribe should get rid of these kind of disloyal employees. If my memory serves right the department of personnel management policy manual requires removal. I urge the boss to exercise his/her right to take action against the employee.

There are a lot of our people out there wanting to start a business. For me I was not able to get a small business loan about five years ago and for someone to deplete a tribal account is beyond reasonable limits and unacceptable.

With this latest development, I would like to know if I can qualify for a tribal P-Card so I can pay off my house, which has a balance of about $175,000?

Vern Charleston
Shiprock, N.M.

Is Diné language instruction lip service?

I'm concerned of past coverage of articles written in the Gallup Independent, Farmington Daily Times and the Navajo Times about conferences held regarding teaching Diné language.

At no time have I ever seen the different organizations relate to how our language should be taught and with conferences I've attended in the past I have not seen any progress nor any results of Diné language teaching.

I still consider myself an instructor with Dr. Jennie DeGroat and Dr. Martha Many Grey Horses at the Navajo Language Immersion Program, Indian Education Program, Albuquerque, and instructed and assisted numerous high school students within the program.

My question is why do we have Navajo language conferences and workshops and cry, "We are losing our Diné language." And at the same time, it's exclusively for Diné teachers or professional linguists and outsiders?

Registration fees are outrageously high, deadline too early, discounts for members or students only, and no on-site registration.

I reviewed the agenda and bonafide instructors/teachers presenting superb presentations on Diné language teachings and philosophies. Thus, the majority of presentations are rehash teaching techniques incorporated decades ago but, not practiced in the classrooms and only a few schools on the Navajo Reservation.

Yes indeed, we need all the resources and methods to teach Diné language to get our Diné youth to regain their mother tongue and speak their ancestral heritage language.

That being so, are we "really" teaching Diné language from our hearts and mind? Is it only lip service to benefit only a few teachers and professionals to add to their collection of accolades and prestige?

Another concern is that "most" Diné language instructors have dominant English mindsets and schools spend so much money paying for Diné language teachers' salaries but are not held accountable for teaching/staying in the language. How are students supposed to learn Diné language? Yadiila.

What happened to unity of Diné language teachers, parents, linguists, and community members to change policies, certifications of Diné language teachers, one curriculum - one voice, and K'e?

We don't teach K'e in the Navajo Reservation schools. Perhaps that's the reason why Diné students are not catching onto Diné language.

Our Navajo tribal leaders in Window Rock and on the reservation, they do not comprehend the imperativeness of stabilizing Diné language nor rejuvenating Dinee language to its original form when our great leaders excelled and fought for their people with Diné language against the ana'i/white men's policies and genocidal thinking.

I am sad, frustrated, and angry due to our way of teaching Diné language and not working all in one voice and fist. Diné language teachers need to have only one organization and work from one agenda or format.

Share Dine language materials/resources and promote unity with one another and work together as one team, tribe.

Speak Diné language at home, worksites, tribal events, media, schools, chapter meetings, council chambers, and encourage and praise one another everywhere. Walk the talk!

Ronald M. Kinsel
Lukachukai, Ariz.

Throw Hopi leaders out of office

On Nov. 30, 2011, the Shingoitewa Tribal Council approved H-099-2011 by a vote of 12 to 0. This resolution terminated attorney Robert J. Lyttle's contract "which shall be effective on December 31, 2011." Chairman Shingoitewa on travel came home and threw a fit.

As a result Chairman Shingoitewa and his cronies worked up a resolution that would amend H-099-2011 by extending the contract of Mr. Lyttle for an additional 180 days beginning Jan. 1, 2012. This failed by one vote and Shingoitewa took it out on his Council.

Finally, just before Christmas, on Dec. 23, 2011, a secret special session of Council was called and H-005-2012 was approved by a vote of 8 to 5. This resolution amended H-099-2011 and extended the services of Mr. Lyttle until the position of the Hopi Tribal general counsel is filled with a 30-day transition period.

It also authorized the following attorneys to continue to work, Monette, Cisneros and Claire.

Finally this resolution authorized payments for legal fees as follows: water rights litigation/settlement and related matters no less than $35,000 per month and all other general counsel services at no less than $45,000 per month from the Morgan Keegan Unallocated Working Capital No. 3. For a 12-month period, this amounts to $960,000.

This final secret action of the Shingoitewa Council gave a Christmas present to the chairman and his attorneys at the expense of the Hopi people.

What is most unusual is that under the leadership of Shingoitewa the Council has authorized expenditures from Hopi Trust Funds. Over a million dollars from the Morgan Keegan fund for attorneys, $1,809,690 from the Qwelty Settlement Fund and $2,198,562 from the Peabody land settlement fund to increase the projected revenue of $17,735,499 so that the fiscal year 2012 budget would be met of $19,777,218.

This means that $5,008,352 will be spent in 2012 from the tribe's investment accounts, which up to now have been left alone so that they will earn millions of dollars from interest.

One of the most important assets of the tribe is its investments. When a tribe begins to expend revenue from its investments, it is living beyond its income and will go broke. This is now happening under the direction of Shingoitewa and Mr. Lyttle with the help of his council. These are facts that no one can deny.

The question for the Hopi Sinom is this: What shall we do about this? To me there is only one option. Throw Shingoitewa and Mr. Lyttle out of office and remove those representatives who support them. We have the power as the sinom to do this but we need leaders.

The Hopi tradition is that when the Kikmongwi is misbehaving and making bad decisions, the Kaletdagah corrects him. This has now taken place with the tribal government.

It is now the obligation of us, who have served in the military to correct the situation. I am convinced that if we do not lead, nobody else will.

Caleb H. Johnson
Kykotsmovi, Ariz.

Road repairs at last

Based on the premise, "The Bureau of Indian Affairs Navajo Regional Office's mission is to enhance the quality of life, facilitate economic opportunity, carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of the Navajo Nation and individual Indians," I want to address an ongoing issue of road maintenance on Navajo Nation roads.

One specifically affects many Shiprock residents' quality of life and BIA's responsibility to protect and improve trust assets of the Navajo Nation and individual Indians. Many people's quality of life have been distressed by costly expenses of tires and other vehicle repairs resulting from dodging and hitting potholes on Navajo Route 546 as well as pent-up frustrations of not getting answers from any responsible road department.

The following is an excerpt of my letter to Omar Bradley, director of the Navajo Regional Office, Bureau of Indian Affairs in Gallup.

"(I am a) registered voter residing in Shiprock ... My request for your assistance relates to road repair on one road that has been in disrepair for several years, the road in reference is located 2 miles west of Hwy 491 N, the Bluff Farm Road.

"I have repeatedly visited the office of the BIA Transportation Roads Department in Shiprock ... and talked with Robert Montoya, manager. He speaks of how limited his budget is for material, equipment, and personnel to do any sort of repair. In the meantime, the residents of the Bluff Farm Road area are traveling many times a day to and from their homes. Additionally buses from Central Consolidated Schools and Shiprock Associated School use that same road to transport students throughout the whole school year(s).

"It is with great respect that I submit my request for your intervention to fix this road. All around us, there are improvements done on roads, but not on this DinÄ people's road. Are we not aboriginal and should be counted as deserving of improvement?"

Since my letter the BIA Roads Department crew from Farmington came to work on our road, NR546, by patching the great number of potholes that have accumulated over the years.

According to the BIA Transportation Department Indian Reservation Roads codes, our potholes can be classified as severe: "Patch is deteriorated enough to reduce a vehicle's speed or a new pothole that has not been repaired."

I want to thank this crew for doing a good job in a timely manner. The repairs are temporary, but acceptable for now.

To have a responsibility passed onto others is bureaucracy malady. Previously, my frustrations stemmed from unsatisfactory responses of BIA Roads Department in Shiprock and the Navajo Nation Department of Transportation in Shiprock. Both departments exist in name only with no material, no equipment, and no crews to work on any local roads, with too many bosses getting paid for having futile meetings.

Wilford R. Joe
Shiprock, N.M.

Build planned parks, sidewalks

This letter concerns the continuing reports of Navajo Housing Authority housing units in Navajo, N.M., that have poor building insulation. What a bunch of nincompoops do we have at the NHA's Production Division?

As a former NHA Production Division director, the production team took the weather conditions and design of houses at every housing location for Mutual Help and Public Rental units into serious consideration. We examined all pre-construction designs with a Department of Housing and Urban Development architect, to determine and evaluate all housing projects and construction costs.

Cold weather conditions within the proposed sites and location of the houses, types of building material and types of insulation to best serve the needs of cold weather areas were top priority.

With the reported problems at the Navajo NHA housing project, where are the bragged-about efficiencies and experts of the NHA?

Included in the former designs of the housing projects, rights-of-way for electricity, water and sewer, streets and access roads were part of the planned amenities.

All NHA projects do not currently have the amenities such as sidewalks and municipal parks within the housing areas, due to the U.S. government's restrictions of development funds. With the reported millions of HUD funds the NHA receives every year, these amenities should be included in their proposed modernization proposals.

Wilbur J. Nez
Window Rock, Ariz.

Clarify facts on Utah fund

The article by Bill Donovan on the management of the Utah Navajo Trust Fund ("Shelly fights proposal for management of Utah trust," Jan. 12, 2012) was very informative but also included the usual reporting errors on this subject, i.e., saying the oil royalties come from the "Utah portion of the reservation," a large region from the Four Corners westward almost to Page.

In fact the 37 and one-half percent royalties come from the approximately 17 wells located on the Aneth Extension - north of Aneth, Utah.

All other royalty money derived from oil wells outside this sector go to the coffers of the Navajo Nation government. So to say otherwise is misinformation for readers and casts quite a different light on the subject. Sam Goodman
Salt Lake City, Utah

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