Police stand by while men cut up car

FROM THE READERS, March 29, 2012

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O n April 11, 2011, I made claim to a 1957 four-door Ford Fairlane that had been sitting near my uncle's house for years.

Like many cars across the reservation it was abandoned and left at the edge of a ditch.

It certainly had potential. Rust had taken over where yellow paint once covered the car.

How or why the car came to its end there I will never know. However, I do know the car was manufactured in San Diego.

I was in the process of researching and saving to rebuild the car. In a matter of two days all of what I had saved and worked for was taken away from me.

This sad story not only has to do with a yellow Ford Fairlane but with the injustice that happens across the reservation as well.

On March 15, 2012, I received a call from my uncle who is an avid mechanic and the designated expert I turn to anytime I have mechanical difficulties.

I answered with a simple, "Hello."

He replied with, "I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry."

I was confused and asked, "Why? What's wrong?"

He said my nephew had come home early for the weekend and said he noticed people near my uncle's house where my '57 Ford Fairlane sat. My uncle immediately went over and found two men had cut up my car. They were attempting to take the metal off the car.

My uncle asked what they were doing and one man explained that they were taking the metal off the car and that the car was "just sitting there."

Both men failed to make contact with anyone in my family to simply ask if the car belonged to anyone or if they could take the metal off the car.

The two unidentified men eventually left. After their quick retreat my uncle salvaged what he could and took it to my grandmother's house.

The next day my uncle found the same two men continuing to dismember the car. He then threatened to call the police. Surprisingly, the two men did not object and continued working.

Not long after, a Navajo Nation Police officer who identified herself as Sgt. Six arrived. My uncle explained that the car belonged to me and they had no right to come and take it apart.

She advised my uncle that they had every right because, "This is Navajo land and it belongs to all Navajos and to her."

Not once did Officer Six listen to my uncle nor did she take his statement. He tried to explain that what they were doing was wrong.

She also stated that if the car was on our land it should be fenced in. That statement has caused me to question Officer Six's observation abilities. In order to gain access to the car she had to pass a gate and a fence.

One gate, which the two men unchained, passed directly in front of my uncle's house. They then had to go through another fence to get to the car.

My grandmother and her siblings are heirs of a vast amount of grazing right land in Ganado. The nearby school, chapter, and BIA officials have advised and assisted in fencing off the land to avoid livestock from wandering on the roads or school grounds.

My uncle watched helpless as the men dissected my car. When they were done taking only the metal they wanted they left the frame of car at the bottom of the ditch.

At one point Officer Six began socializing and laughing with the female who sat in the truck the men came in. My uncle and I are convinced that Officer Six knew the family.

This ordeal has left my family with a very uneasy, violated feeling. The statements Office Six made gave us a new outlook on our law enforcement.

Are all objects located on the reservation up for grabs? Not only are our worldly possessions fair game but will law enforcement stand idly by and assist and protect those who wish to take your possessions?

How can I feel safe and confident in our nation's law enforcement who watched two men take my car and left the frame at the bottom of a ditch?

The car is not the point of my story, it's the principle. If Officer Six took the time to take my uncle's statement and remained neutral in the situation she would have learned that I claimed that car last year.

I don't understand her logic in the matter and it frightens me to know that we as Diné people may no longer have a say and that we'll have to conform to whatever NNPD says or thinks.

I don't feel comfortable leaving any decision in the hands of individuals who take advantage of the authority they're given.

Lucia L. Williams
Ganado, Ariz.

Editor's note: A copy of this letter was given to the Navajo Nation Police for comment. As of press time Wednesday no response had been received.

Outside forces want Diné to waive water claims

The following opinion expressed is solely my own and not that of my employer.

We as the Diné as with all indigenous people are blessed by our creator to be stewards of Mother Earth. The Creator has placed a great responsibility upon us to protect the earth, the water, the sky, and all living things great and small.

What a blessing and what a great responsibility we have.

Indigenous people make up less than one percent of the population of the United States, but they own 40 percent of the nation's coal reserves.

They also own 65 percent of the uranium reserves in the United States, unmeasured ounces of gold, silver, cadmium, copper, zinc and manganese, and billions of board feet of timber, all still untouched.

They own oil, billions of cubic feet of natural gas. They guard 20 percent of the nation's fresh water and millions of acres of pristine real estate.

Indian reservations constitute one of the least-known repositories of natural resources on the continent, at a time when the United States seems to be running out of practically everything.

The pressure of tribal governments to begin selling off these resources has never been greater.

Local, state and federal politicians, mining companies will use deceitful means, acting like they are your best friend, telling you it's in your best interest and even using people against their own to get what they want. In their world everything has a price.

The latest pressure being put on the Navajo and Hopi is the act, SB 2109, introduced by Sen. Jon Kyl, "Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Agreement." Kyl has stated that he wants this act passed before he retires.

Kyl represents the federal government, the state of Arizona and Tucson/Phoenix, but not the Navajo Nation. That tells you it's for his own personal satisfaction and that for all the years spent in the Senate he can say he actually did something for Tucson, Phoenix and Arizona.

The goal of the agreement should be to establish the rights of the Navajo Nation to the water necessary to create a permanent homeland.

In 2001, the Arizona Supreme Court held that "Indian Tribes in Arizona have reserved rights to the water necessary to create a permanent homeland, and that claims for water need not be based solely on the practicably irrigable acreage." (In re: The General Adjudication of All Rights to Use Water in Gila River System and Source. 35 P. 3d68, 76; Ariz. 2001).

The Navajo Nation needs to seek adequate allocations to fulfill its promise to future generations. It is obligated to honor that responsibility by making sure that the agreement guarantees future generations access to the water they will need to pass on to succeeding generations.

Take the Great Law of the Iroquois Nation and think seven generations ahead (a couple hundred years) into the future and decide whether the decision you make today would benefit your children seven generations into the future.

It only takes a few minutes to read and keep up with current events locally, nationally and internationally.

An article in 24/7 Wall Street, the 10 biggest cities that are running out of water, four are in the Southwest (Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson and Los Angeles) and they get a major portion of water from the Colorado River.

Another article in a local paper stated that Flagstaff will be out of water by the year 2050. In 2011 Texas went through the worst drought in history and has not yet recovered. Ranchers had to slaughter their cattle because there was no water for them.

And in Reuters Special Report: The world's greatest rainforest (the Amazon) is thirsty and tributaries to the Amazon River are drying up from months of drought.

On March 22, 2012, World Water Day, the U.S. State Department released a statement: "Drought, floods and lack of fresh water may cause significant global instability and conflict in the coming decades, as developing countries scramble to meet demands from exploding populations while dealing with the effects of climate change."

So these are the reasons the pressure mounts for the Navajo Nation to sign the agreement. All these exterior forces want to protect their future rights to water but leave the tribes dry.

Even countries like China has gone to great extent to purchase large tracts of land along the Nile River in Egypt so they could have water rights.

Corporations are buying up land and water rights in South America. Fresh water is going to be the new gold and the Navajo Nation is going to be giving it away?

In the letter from Mr. Byron Huskon, March 15, 2012, outlines the possible fair market value of the Navajo water to be worth between $200 million per year (if leased) and $700 million per year (if sold outright).

That means if there is no agreement like the "Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Agreement" then the Navajo Nation has the power to control the lease or sale for as long as they want.

If you own the water you have power. Imagine $700 million per year for 100 years. What bargaining power the Navajos will have.

But, if the agreement is signed then there is a one time payment of $80 plus or minus million for the construction of a water line to a few communities and that is it for the next 100 years.

If the agreement is not signed it simply means everyone must go back to the table to work out an agreement that is acceptable to all the people. This is regardless of the bullying, threats, deceit, whining and sniveling by the local, state and federal politicians.

Thank you for taking a few minutes to read my opinion.

Gary B. Louis
Flagstaff, Ariz.

Council easily swayed by water attorney

Mr. Stanley Pollack, and the Navajo Nation water attorneys stated numerous times: "This is a process in negotiation" at the special session during the Navajo-Hopi Lower Little Colorado River settlement (S 2109) report.

I was dismayed at how easily the majority of Council delegates were swayed by Mr. Pollack's words. Just minutes before they grilled the water attorneys asking pertinent questions regarding S2109 stipulations.

There was a PowerPoint presentation with numerous maps and dollar figures that consisted of "bell and whistles" to market the S2109 to our Council delegates. And it appears they were sold.

Mr. Pollack then informed the Council delegates that Senator Jon Kyl is our champion to approve this settlement. It was stated, "Who knows when the next champion will appear on the horizon." I waited for our elected leaders to ask and discuss thoroughly: What are the costs of agreeing to this settlement for our people and the future implications? What does it mean to lose our Indian water rights forever, the laws that say we have first priority to the use of the water on our land?

During his answering session, Mr. Pollack stated that waivers are part of any old Indian water rights agreement and that it has always been done this way. The Council delegates were pacified with this answer. You have to wonder: if our water rights are truly insignificant, why then does the settlement contain numerous waivers?

There are many parts to the S2109 that are troubling and require thorough examination and discussion. I will focus on Sec 105, pertaining to the "Navajo Nation giving up the right to sue past and present claims for injury to water rights and injury to water quality for Navajo land and land of the Navajo Nation outside of the state, whether held in fee or held in trust by the U.S. on behalf of the Navajo Nation arising from time immemorial through the LCR enforceability date."

The Navajo and Hopi tribes will be getting N-Aquifer according to this settlement. This is the ground water that will be pumped into the homes for human consumption. I agree that our Native people deserve to have running water, but I have several concerns for the following reasons: 1. U.S. EPA surveyed 226 water sources and 90 of these were contaminated with uranium and above the safe drinking water level. The uranium levels found in contaminated water sources ranged from 33 to 1.131 ug/L, with the highest concentration being 38 times the safe drinking water level (US EPA 2004). 2. Navajo Generating Station has been accumulating coal combustion waste in holding ponds for the last 40 years. CCW consists of chromium, lead, mercury, arsenic and many more hazards in concentrated forms. These poisonous ponds are not regulated by NN EPA nor US EPA.

There is no monitoring outside of the company to ensure CCW is not leaking into the ground. This is a disaster waiting to happen. The Navajo Nation does not require the companies to have insurance or bonds to address any spills now or in the future. 3. NGS has pumped millions of gallons of water for the last 40 years. It is depleting the water table as indicated by the appearance of fissures and drying up of springs and ponds. What data does the water settlement rely on to verify that there is enough water from the N-aquifer for this century and beyond? Any data from the Office of Surface Mining is gathered by collecting samples outside the vicinity of the impacted landscape, obviously because their interests lie in continuing coal mining. 4. On the western part of the reservation, CDC and EPA have published studies that state water wells are contaminated with high levels of uranium. 5. (DHHS, NIH, 1992) have published studies that say, American Indians in New Mexico and Arizona have incidence rates for stomach, uterine, cervix, primary liver, and gallbladder cancers that are higher than rates for the general U.S. population and for all races. American Indians have the highest gallbladder cancer incidence rate of any racial group. 6. Local news reports say Navajo residents in northwestern Leupp and southeastern Cameron chapters who were found to be drinking uranium and arsenic contaminated water. This community also has a high rate of cancer.

There are many consequences with the S2109 as written. This is only one of many found throughout the settlement. Our leaders should be asking what are the implications of giving up (waivers) in this settlement.

Instead, Council delegates like Mr. Bates asked the audience, "What do you want?"

My response to him is that we, the constituents, want our leaders/Council delegates to request for funds for an independent study to determine if the aquifer that we will be using in this settlement is safe and free of hazardous contaminants. This needs to be one of the determining factors for making sound decisions regarding S2109.

And for Mr. Pollack, we, the community members, reserve our right to sue the companies, the government and any entity responsible for damage to our water, past, present, future and for time immemorial.

After all, access to safe drinking water is a human right and needs to be upheld in any water settlement that our tribal government agrees to.

Adella Begaye
Chinle, Ariz.

Appalled water hearing held in Hawaii

I am appalled at the fact that an oversight hearing sponsored by the U.S. Senate on Indian Affairs was conducted in Honolulu on March 15 promoting the negotiation and implementation of water settlements on Indian lands.

How could an important issue involving U.S. Senate Bill 2109 that affects the Navajo Nation be discussed in Hawaii and with witnesses and panelists not representing our Navajo Nation and the Arizona tribes?

How could this be fair representation, especially when the witnesses were non-Navajos trying to represent the largest tribe, the Navajo Nation, in the U.S.?

Witnesses at the hearing in Panel 1 included David Hayes (deputy secretary of the U.S. Interior), Mike Conner (commissioner of Bureau of Reclamation), and Del Laverdure (deputy assistant-secretary of Indian Affairs).

In Panel 2 was John Echohawk (executive director of Native American Rights Fund) and Maria O?Brien (chair of Legal Committee, Western States Water Council).

Panel 3 included Judith Royster (co-director of Native American Law Center, University of Tulsa College of Tulsa) and Michael Bogert (senior counsel of Crowell & Morning of Washington, D.C.).

Please note John Echohawk (panel 2) is the brother of Larry Echohawk (secretary of U.S. Interior) - the two siblings are ironically representing parties at both ends of the table.

We live at the base of the largest rivers in the Southwest (Colorado River and San Juan River) where 140 miles of the shores of Lake Powell are located on our Navajo Nation (including the Grand Canyon), yet we are unjustly deprived of our water rights.

We need to rise up to oppose the U.S. Senate legislation sponsored by senators Jon Kyl and John McCain, because the legislation will be devastating to our future.

President Ben Shelly, Harrison Tsosie and Stanley Pollack need to stop supporting this legislation, which includes the Navajo Generating Station, Black Mesa Mine, and etc.

How could so many different issues be included in one agreement? To undermine our intelligence?

This legislation, according to Pollack (non-Native attorney for the Navajo Nation), is only an introduction to Congress, and will need the support and approval of Navajo Nation Council soon.

How could Mr. Pollack represent the Navajo Nation as his client (including the people in all agencies) and support Kyl all the way to Congress, yet the Navajo Nation Council and the people were not informed of the legislation?

How could a copy of the U.S. legislation not be available to the Navajo Nation speaker and the Council delegates prior to the special session on March 23? This is a clear violation of the state bar, for not disclosing important information to the clients.

In conclusion, this is an urgent message to Kyl, McCain, and other sponsors. We are a nation within a nation that will rise up and be restored by God, as told by many mentors.

We will be a prosperous nation and you can no longer take advantage of an indigenous people with rich natural resources, so be honest and fair!

Jennifer Taliman
Window Rock, Ariz.

Where are our leaders?

Where are our leaders on Navajo Nation? Wake up! The government is stealing water resources from the tribe!

Why do our political leaders close their doors and ignore open discussion (as in the old days) before signing away water rights?

Mr. Kyl's water proposal is a shame. For us to get surface water (Little Colorado), Kyl proposes the Hopi and Navajo tribes to support the coal mine operation?

I say no! No! We are entitled to surface water period with no strings attached.

Come on people, rally and let our leaders know that we are not in agreement with Kyl's proposal.

Rita Mizell
Phoenix, Ariz.

Forget about the Confluence pipe dream

I wish to comment on two noteworthy items covered in the March 22, 2012, issue of the Navajo Times.

First, "Chairman: Time has come for a constitution." Second, Mr. Willie Longreed's excellently researched and timely "Struggle, confusion over Confluence project."

As a long-time concerned citizen of the Dineh Nation I remain intensely concerned about the daily goings-on of our inept Dineh Nation form of government headed by mostly do-nothing elected leaders who continue to rely on age-old ways of trying to function effectively by simply voting on retractable resolutions - until an opportunity to desecrate our rez environment appears so that a few dollars can be added to severely limited Dineh coffers.

Then, and only then, will the leaders get on their puny soapboxes to advocate for inadequately researched ideas and impromptu "let's make a quick and easy deal" schemes.

The Confluence scheme is a true con (controversial, confounding, contrary to common sense) deal.

Mr. Longreed correctly states "The Fulcrum Group considers this area as a 'gold mine.' At the expense of the people's traditions and culture, they will enrich themselves with money. The money will be invested as stocks in far away cities."

As a 68-year-old retired university professor I have hiked every trail (during the past four months) in the Grand Canyon south of the Colorado River including the Beamer Trail leading to the Confluence from Tanner Beach. I have lived for weeks at a time in the canyon bottom.

The Colorado River-Little Colorado Confluence is a unique part of the Grand Canyon. Pristine. Place of solitude. A unique place to pray to my Creator-God who goes by the name Sahaa naghai Bik'e hoozhoon (One Who Avoids Old Age Sovereign Peace-Maker).

In the absence of a much-needed Dineh Nation constitution, what can we as the Dineh do to have a say in what is to become of the uniquely endowed rez Confluence locale? Nothing.

We are a people completely removed from any involvement and denied any kind of electorate governmental input. Because the speaker of the Council is the most important person in the Dineh Nation government the prez is mainly a puppet figure who poses for the media and speaks up every once in a while.

I'd like to see evidence of initiatives actually formulated by the prez.

I say forget about the pipe dream of tourists flocking to the Confluence. They are doing that already - those who are physically tough enough to hike the close to 40-mile round trip hike down the Tanner Trail.

The last thing the Confluence pipe dream needs is a casino because the present Dineh Nation governmental officials would almost gladly vote to meet there instead of congregating at the traditional annual committee meetings "held" during the National Rodeo Finals week in Las Vegas.

Problem: there are no rodeo grounds at the Con.

Tacheeni Scott
Flagstaff, Ariz.

Shocked at silent apology

You are invited. I have reserved the space in front of the U.S. Capitol for Dec. 19, 2012.

Every citizen, immigrant, tribal member, member of Congress, and president (present, former and aspiring) is invited to join me for a public reading of the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill, H.R. 3326.

I am not an elected official, I do not lead an organization nor do I work solely for a specific group or company. I am merely the son of an American woman of Dutch heritage (Wooden Shoe People) and a Navajo man (Tó'aheedlíinii dóó Tódích'íi'nii)) who is living on our reservation, and trying to understand the complexities of our country's history regarding race, culture and faith so that I can help forge a path of healing and reconciliation for our people.

What do Native America, the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill, and reconciliation have to do with each other? And why am I inviting you to join me in reading this document publically?

I am doing so because pages 45 and 46 contain sub-section 8113 titled "Apology to Native Peoples of the United States."

I was shocked, confused, embarrassed and ashamed when I learned that the U.S. government had issued an apology to its Native American citizens, but did very little to publicize it, and even seemed intent on burying it in a 67-page Defense Department appropriations bill.

The White House issued a press release regarding the signing of this bill, but it made no mention of the enclosed apology.

Sub-sections 8113 was not read publically until six months later, in May of 2010, when Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., read it in a small ceremony with only a handful of Native American leaders present.

I was shocked. Was this how more than 500 years of disenfranchisement, boarding schools, broken treaties, stolen lands, war, and, for some tribes, genocide, were supposed to end? With a silent apology?

I was confused. What went on behind the scenes? What kinds of deals were made? Did anyone really think that a compromise, which resulted in our government issuing an apology, but not speaking about it would solve anything? What are the next steps?

I was embarrassed. My mother is the descendant of immigrants from the Netherlands. I share in the heritage of the immigrants to this land. I know my ancestors were wrong for the way they treated their indigenous hosts, and I have devoted much of my life to restoring those relationships.

And this apology, slipped into the middle of a DOD appropriations bill, was an embarrassment to any serious reconciliation efforts.

I was ashamed. For generations, Native American tribes have been treated like children and told by the U.S. government that we cannot participate fully as citizens.

We did not completely receive the right to vote until 1948. Our tribal leaders are not allowed to have full, sovereign relationships with the U.S. government and instead have been regulated to dealing with the BIA where we can be governed without being represented.

And now we have even been apologized to without actually being spoken to.

This apology is evidence that when it comes to the treatment of the indigenous hosts of this land by the U.S. government, there is still no respect, no dignity, no relationship, and therefore, no reconciliation.

Ultimately, this conversation is about us, you and me, the citizens of this country, the inhabitants of this land. It is about our histories, individually and shared.

It is about the children of the indigenous hosts of this land who have been here for centuries, even eons, seeking to live in harmony with each other and creation.

It is about the ancestors of the first Europeans who immigrated here, seeking to form a "more perfect union." And it is about the generations of immigrants, both documented and un-documented, who have made the pilgrimage here, from all corners of the earth, in search of a better life.

Therefore, I have reserved the space in front of the U.S. Capitol, for Dec. 19, 2012, to publically read H.R. 3326.

If you are Native American, I invite you to stand and read the 45 pages preceding the apology with me. Through it, I hope to highlight the painful yet invisible history that our communities have had with the government and the citizens of the United States of America.

If you are an immigrant or the descendant of immigrants to this country, you are also invited.

I hope to have the apology portion of this bill translated into as many Native American languages as possible so that it can be read, by our guests, directly to the indigenous hosts of this land.

Through this I hope to remind our country, our leaders and even the world, that when you sincerely apologize, this is what you do. You bend over backwards to communicate as clearly and as humbly as possible to your intended audience.

Until December I intend to do everything I can to publicize this event and I am beginning with this article. So please, consider yourself invited.

You may R.S.V.P. on my website, www.wirelesshogan.com.

Mark Charles
Fort Defiance, Ariz.

We should receive Ariz. TV news

With all the elections coming up and the politicians out to get our votes and our Diné population having to choose among these politicians, it is a well informed voter to cast their vote for who may represent them well in the Navajo Nation, state or the U.S. government.

I live in Chinle and have to watch the news, the politicians, and the weather from New Mexico on TV. Why? The main reason I am concerned is that I do not know who is in our Arizona government, what is happening in the Arizona government that may affect me and my family, and I do not vote in New Mexico.

Each election year we have politicians coming on to the rez seeking our votes and we know nothing about them but on Arizona television they have all the hopefuls running for office and what their platforms are and here we sit watching the New Mexico news. Are we not a part of Arizona?

Television here on the rez is the main source of news and information and those of us that live in Chinle are missing what is important to us.

Our Diné senators and house representatives may have information for us but cannot reach the voters on the Arizona side of our nation and this can be a reason for some of us being ignorant of Arizona laws or availability of some programs that may be of value to some.

I have always wondered how this decision on which state television we, in the Chinle/Many Farms area, should watch.

This to me is not my choice and is being forced on me and my family and others that would chose to watch our Arizona television channels.

Lloyd Yazzie
Chinle, Ariz.

Kayenta gossip is only gossip

As an upcoming senior in college, proudly graduating with a political science degree, I decided to write a paper concerning the highly publicized travesty concerning the Golden Sands in Kayenta.

I have family in Kayenta and each time I visited, I was very disturbed by the injustice of the Kayenta Township. With all the stories floating around Kayenta, I was sure to uncover a lynch mob.

However, the first thing I learned is that the gossip in Kayenta is just that - "gossip." Kayenta is a place of misinformed people, a place where gossip outweighs the truth.

First, concerning Golden Sands I read all the stories and listened to just about everyone in town. This is my understanding of the truth. Yes, it's sad Golden Sands closed its doors, but there is no one to blame but the management itself.

Everyone in Kayenta should be upset at Golden Sands for taking what little cents we have out of our pockets for taxes, and putting it into their register but not reporting it to the township.

So where did the money go? In the first Navajo Times article I read, Golden Sands stated they were trying to work with the township for five years, so each one of those years they chose not to pay taxes. So why were they collecting it?

As for rent, I was informed by economic development that all businesses on Navajo land pay rent yearly in order to operate. So if Golden Sands has been in business 26-plus years, how could management not know this? Didn't they sign a lease with the Navajo Tribe? Again, who is to blame?

Second, the township: To my understanding the township has been in operation for 20 years or so. What improvements in 20 years? A small hazardous skate park, and a playground.

Other than that, I have not seen any improvements until recently. I see fencing going up and it's an improvement. A visitor center and a fitness center were recently put into remodeled buildings. These buildings were abandoned and an eyesore.

I was told that the cemetery has new fencing and a gravel parking lot. This is how I believe our tax dollars should be spent - cleaning up the community of Kayenta.

There is also a monthly recycling station for all the "40 bottles" in town. So why is the township now taking all the blame for all failed businesses? On the rez, we tend to blame others for our failures.

As for other businesses in Kayenta, I visited several of them and asked if they pay township taxes. They all said yes.

There was one business in town that Golden Sands insisted was the reason for them closing, and that was the Blue Coffee Pot. I went to the Coffee Pot, and asked the manager if they pay their taxes. I was told to wait and within five minutes a waitress brought seven years worth of receipts showing payments made each month, along with rental payments.

I was shocked, they had nothing to hide nor did they have anything to do with Golden Sands. Golden Sands has no one to blame but Golden Sands.

Now there is a rumor that prior township commissioners, who never did a thing for our community, are going to recall the newly appointed commissioners. Why? It appears that we finally have people in the township who really care about our community. Just look around.

It saddens me that when good honest people get into office, the first thing many of us try to do is look for something wrong with them, rather than investigate the gossip and find the truth.

I listen to the gossip in Kayenta, and was hoping to find a corrupt government. But what is more (of an allusion) is that the Kayenta Chapter is stirring the pot.

When our current Council delegate was running for office, I remember her in the homecoming parade praising the township. Now that she does not like who is in township, she is currently trying to close down the township rather than work with them.

I'm going to college, and had to sit out a semester or two for financial reasons but I'm pushing for a degree, so it bugs me that our Council delegate, who has only a GED and a six months accounting class, is abusing her power. This is a corrupt government, a term called "two face."

I was expecting to uncover a whole different truth. But what I learned is this Golden Sands closed its doors due to poor management.

Second, a majority of businesses in Kayenta pay their taxes, taxes that come out of our pocket.

Third, the township under new management and commissioners appear to be doing their job.

Fourth, the chapter should be ashamed of themselves for not investigating but rather throwing individuals under the bus. No wonder the chapter has never improved.

But the most profound thing is why are ex-commissioners who were not voted back in at the township now pushing the chapter to shut down the township?

I encourage everyone in Kayenta to stop the gossip and start asking questions, search for the truth.

William Nez
Glendale, Ariz.

Shelly hypocritical on tram, Snowbowl

It's interesting that the Navajo Nation and Ben Shelly support the Grand Canyon Tram but want nothing to do with snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks, both sacred lands to the Navajo and other indigenous people in the area ("Confluence residents oppose development plan," March 15, 2012).

I'd call that two-faced or hypocritical.

I believe the Navajo Nation would benefit to the tune of millions of dollars if the tram is built. Ben Shelly talks nice about the ill effects of snowmaking and how it will negatively affect the Navajos but what will the tram do to the sacred Grand Canyon, or does he care?

Ben Shelly stated that the medicine man could not heal people that might possibly ingest snow that was from reclaimed water but he wasn't concerned with the second-hand smoke that would affect casino workers in his new tribal casinos.

Sounds like he doesn't really care about peoples' health or sacred lands.

Mark Creek
Fort Defiance, Ariz.

Welcome home, Vietnam veterans

Welcome home, Vietnam veterans. This being the second year U.S. Senate declared March 30th as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.

On March 30, 1973, under the terms of the Treaty of Paris, the U.S. withdrew all its troops from Vietnam. Each time when one of us returned we were greeted with hostile environment. No one knew we came home, there were no signs indicating so and so is home.

There were no motorcycle escorts, there were no big crowd, no celebration, etc.

Vietnam veterans, thank you for your sacrifice and welcome home comrades.

Wallace Charley
Shiprock, N.M.

Looking for Navajo family

Yá'át'ééh Shi Diné. I am looking for my Navajo family that worked near Gorman, Texas, in 1968.

I am from Temple, Texas. My daughter is named Daniella Coffee.

I was born Jan. 31, 1968, somewhere near Gorman, Texas, in Eastland County between Abilene and Fort Worth. Unfortunately, my adopted parents passed away several years ago and left me with very few details about my past.

My parents told me my mother was Navajo and that her husband did not want me because he claimed I did not belong to him. I was taken at birth, placed in foster care, and then adopted when I was 2 years old.

I was told my family had 5 to 7 children and my mother may have been a migrant worker from Shiprock or near surrounding areas.

Sadly, I do not have a paper trail to trace back and find more clues of my family. The records from the hospital were moved to the county facility, which later caught fire and destroyed records from 1962 to 1974.

I have prayed every day that one day I will be reunited with my family, and hope that these clues will reach out to someone who might be related to me or know something about my family.

If you have any information, please contact myself at 254-931-4360 or Shirleen Jumbo at 505-905-1744. I can also be contacted at goose5131@yahoo.com. Thank you and God bless.

Daniel Coffee
Temple, Texas

NHA updating public rental policy

According to their website, the Navajo Housing Authority is updating its public rental policy and is inviting public comment.

The Native American Disability Law Center has submitted quite a number of suggested revisions to NHA's rental policy in order to advance the rights of those with a disability, whether physical or mental, for easier access to housing services, to ensure the availability of disability accommodated units and to ensure non-discrimination against those with a disability.

The law center provides education, advocacy and free legal services to Native Americans with disabilities. We would urge persons with a disability, family members, care providers and disability service providers to submit their comments regarding the proposed changes.

The draft public rental policy may be downloaded from NHA's website at http://www.hooghan.org under the programs tab, public rental.

NHA is accepting written comments at their local housing management offices or the Housing Management Division at P.O. Box 4980, Window Rock, AZ 86515.

If you would like more information on the law center's suggested revisions or on the rights of the disabled, please call 800-862-7271 or 505-566-5880.

Debora Perkey
Native American Disability Law Center
Farmington, N.M.

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