Depp is appropriate for Tonto role

May 10, 2012

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E veryone in Indian Country is in an uproar about Johnny Depp playing Tonto in the upcoming "Lone Ranger" flick, but for the wrong reasons.

From what I've read online, most people are outraged by the decision to have a non-Native portray a supposedly Native character - a legitimate objection considering Hollywood's track record when it comes to casting Native roles with any kind of integrity.

And then there are some Natives out there who are in the camp of it's just entertainment, who cares?

Of course, as the opposition will argue, we care because for as long as indigenous people have been a presence (or lack of presence) in media, beginning with the romantic literature of the 1800s, a certain Native image has been created and sold by non-Natives with little to no understanding or compassion for the cultures they represent.

The result of this, as I have written about before, has been identified as cultural appropriation and genocide. But, to me, the crux of the issue is not that a non-Native is playing Tonto, but that Tonto continues to exist.

I'm glad Depp was cast as Tonto and I can't think of anyone better to portray him. Tonto is a character that is and always has been a simulation of indigenous-ness. He was created out of lies and cultural misconceptions and that, I think, is how he should remain.

As we all know, the word "tonto" is a Spanish word that translates to "stupid" in English. So that, for starters, is an indication of the motivation behind the development of the character.

Tonto is the epitome of indigenous cultural misrepresentation in cinema, and a symbol of everything Hollywood has ever done wrong to Natives.

Now for Hollywood to dredge up that kind of degrading material and re-sell it for the brainwashing of another generation rather than make a picture written, directed and portrayed by American Indians - of which there are many - is a whole other issue, and one that I feel should be more closely examined.

But the argument that a "real Indian" should have played Tonto is, I think, ultimately wrong. Since the first "real Indians" appeared in "Indian" roles in the movies, they have been playing roles like Tonto. Roles that were not created to represent them or the people they come from. They lack the truthfulness and complexity of the cultures and people they make a mockery of.

These roles are shallow and blatantly disrespectful simulations - dangerous lies marketed as the real thing. The truth is that with the exception of some independently made pictures, there are no Native roles in Hollywood to even choose from. There are no Native stories, presence or voice at the major motion picture companies and so the only roles a Native actor has to choose from are roles like Tonto.

Roles that are meant, and have always been meant, to degrade them, their families and the communities they come from. Roles designed to eliminate the Native voice from any type of collective discussion while mis-educating, however subliminally, the viewer, Native and non-Native alike.

I've talked to some of the older generation who grew up watching the original Tonto and other Westerns who said as kids they thought that was how they, as "Indians," were supposed to be. They rooted for the cowboys.

For a "real Indian" to play Tonto today would be a disgrace, and I'd like to believe that no self-respecting Native actor would have chosen that role.

Instead of furthering the stereotype and lending credibility to it, we should be putting our energy into creating real roles for ourselves, in every form of media - building a voice and an image that will no longer stand for this continued slandering.

For a Native actor to play the role of Tonto would have been the most damaging decision, because instead of rejecting that type of Native portrayal, he would have validated the character's original intended message that Native men are tontos.

Ungelbah Daniel-Davila
Belen, N.M.

Editor's note: Reprinted from the Valencia County News-Bulletin.


A response to the water lawyer

I am angered by Stanley Pollack's continuing misinformation in his Navajo Times interview published April 26 ("Water attorney: We're not giving anything away").

1. Surface waters of the Little Colorado River

  • Stanley's misinformation: "In this settlement we get all the water ... Navajo has the right to use as much water from the LCR as it can capture and use ... this settlement doesn't have limits (on LCR surface water) for the Navajo Nation ... We are essentially freezing the amount of water in the Little Colorado River that non-Indians have access to so the Navajo Nation can use it in the future ..."
  • The truth: The settlement says that "... the Navajo Nation shall have the right to make use of all surface water in all the tributaries and the main stem of the Little Colorado River that reach the Navajo Nation and that remains unappropriated as of the effective date ..."
    Reaching the Navajo Nation and "remaining unappropriated" are not very convincing strong water rights. Stanley carefully negotiated the settlement so as not to quantify Navajo and Hopi rights to the LCR surface waters and yet it allows upstream water users to divert or appropriate as much as they want for any purpose other than irrigation. This is not "freezing" upstream uses.
    Section 4.5.1 states that "The physical withdrawal of water from the alluvium of the Little Colorado River shall be considered to be a diversion of surface water."
    Section 7.4 on "sub-flow," says that Navajo and Hopi may not "object to, dispute, or challenge the withdrawal and use of underground water from a well even if it is determined that the well is capturing or will capture the sub-flow of any surface water source."
    Ten or 20 or 50 years from now, under the shelter of permissive state law, upstream users could divert and appropriate surface waters of the LCR for municipal or mining purposes until no water reaches the Navajo Nation.
    This provision opens the door for upstream users to pump the river dry even off the Mogollon Rim to serve Phoenix.
    Phelps Dodge is already doing this, that is why they started the LCR adjudication in 1977.
    More such uses could easily be permitted in the future under Arizona law without any Navajo or Hopi legal protection (would you trust future Arizona state legislatures to respect Navajo and Hopi water rights? Hah!)
  • Constructive recommendation: All of the surface waters of the Little Colorado River that now reach Cameron, averaging about 160,000 acre-feet per year, belong to the Navajo Nation and to the Hopi Tribe.
    The settlement must quantify without confusion that all 160,000 acre-feet per year of LCR surface waters as measured at Cameron belong to Navajo and Hopi (Navajo and Hopi can and will work out between themselves exactly how to share that water once it is secured and protected).
    The settlement must eliminate Section 7.4 that allows unlimited pumping out of any alluvial aquifer - the sub-flow - by anyone for any purpose except irrigation, and the tribes cannot prevent it.

2. Water marketing

  • Stanley's omission: The settlement is very careful not to quantify Navajo and Hopi ownership of the surface waters of the LCR and not to allow Navajo and Hopi to market unused portions of their quantified 160,000 acre-feet of LCR surface water to finance wet water projects.
  • The truth: An expert witness at the Senate hearings in March on SB 2109 (Judith Royster, professor and co-director of Native American Law Center, University of Tulsa College of Law, Tulsa, Okla.) stated: "the marketing of water really allows the tribes to participate in something which is widespread now across the West to recover the economic value of their water resources in cases where the tribe either is not yet in a position to put that water to use or wishes not to put it to use, benefits the tribe enormously in terms of economic development and most of the settlements that allow this provide that the water will be sold to local municipalities."
    If Stanley was truly working for the best interests of the Navajo people, now and forever, why doesn't the settlement provide for water quantification and marketing?
  • Constructive recommendation: The settlement must (1) quantify Navajo and Hopi rights to an annual average of 160,000 acre-feet of LCR surface water as measured at Cameron; and (2) the settlement must allow Navajo and Hopi to market unused portions of that quantified water (never to permanently alienate it) to the folks already using it downstream (and paying at least $1,000 per acre-foot per year to others for the privilege) in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, Los Angeles and San Diego.
    This would eliminate the need for any separate federal appropriations for water projects. If Navajo and Hopi ever receive fair market value for portions of their unused water, there would be a new and major source of funding for water and other badly needed and long overdue community projects.

3. Navajo Generating Station and Peabody

  • Stanley's misinformation: " ... The provisions for NGS and Peabody are in the legislation, not the settlement agreement ... both of those provisions have nothing to do with the settlement agreement, those provisions are in the legislation..."
  • The truth: The settlement says "The Navajo Nation agrees that, during the term of the Navajo project lease and any renewal or extension thereof, of the 50,000 AFY of water allocated to the state pursuant to the Upper Colorado River Basin Compact, 34,100 AFY of water shall at all times be available for consumptive use by the Navajo project lessees in the operation of the Navajo Generating Station and all other purposes related to such operation, including coal transportation and ash disposal. "
    And "Peabody may retain the existing permanent mining structures included on Exhibit 13.17.1 as permanent impoundments (Note: these amount to almost 6,000 acre-feet capacity) within the Peabody leaseholds on the Navajo and Hopi reservations after mining is completed subject to the requirements of Title V of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977.
    "The tribes and the United States acting in its capacity as trustee for the tribes may not object to, dispute, or challenge the retention of any such permanent impoundments by Peabody."
  • Constructive recommendation: The settlement must state that if NGS and Peabody are allowed to continue to use the 40,000-plus acre-feet per year of Navajo water that they have been allowed so far, henceforth they must pay for it at fair market prices, effective immediately.

There is much more of deep concern in Stanley's deceptive statements and the settlement, but space limits prohibit further detail in this letter.

Jacques Seronde
Flagstaff, Ariz.


Shelly, Jim are not leaders

I once read that "to become a leader you no longer have your own life, you belong to the people. That's what being a leader is: Belonging to the tribe."

That passage was written by Chief Glenna Wallace of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe in Oklahoma.

Who does Ben Shelly belong to? Definitely not the people of Dinetah. We need a leader who will represent our interest and the interest of future generations to come. In my opinion Ben Shelly and Rex Lee Jim are not leaders in any sense of the word. He, Ben Shelly, does not deserve the moniker of "president of the Navajo Nation," nor does he deserve the respect of the people of the Navajo Nation. He has sold us out - with the water rights issue and now with opening up the uranium mines on the reservation. I wonder if anyone knew that he was in Washington, D.C., last week to lobby to re-open the uranium mines here on Dinetah. Did he ask the people what their thoughts on this were? Instead he and Rex Lee Jim and their entourage took it upon themselves to be in Washington, D.C., in yet another attempt to "pull the wool" over our eyes! We Navajo only become interested in issues when there is "a free meal being served" or if there are other freebies being given out. When will we awaken from our sleep to finally see what is happening to our tribal resources and our tribal people.

Let's start a recall of these so-called non-leaders, we need respectful and accountable there anyone out there?

Maralyn Yazzie
Flagstaff, Ariz.


Who is calling the shots?

Who is calling the shots?

It is none other than the Navajo president, Ben Shelly. The president's office is where the buck stops. His staff, advisors, friends, family, relatives, and other associates help him in making an informed decision.

The president, like any politician without a backbone, prefers to levy blame on others when his policy is harshly opposed. I am talking about the water rights settlement, SB 2109.

At Tuba City when the two Arizona senators met with the Hopi and Navajo leaders, Shelly blamed the water lawyer Pollack for agreeing to a settlement or at least he made it sound like that.

Advisors and attorneys are hired by the Navajo Nation to research and to present their findings to the president. Hiring a water lawyer is no different than hiring a Denver firm to ease the passage of SB 2109 through Congress, the Senate and the president.

If the settlement fails, does Shelly blame the Denver firm or the water lawyer?

In reality, Shelly should blame the Navajo people who are constantly challenging. These are people ranging in age from the young to the elders who demand that their voices be heard. The reason why there is a huge gap between the president and the people in how they view the water rights is rooted in poor communications and public relations.

Is this the deliberate way of keeping critics at bay? Up until the April 5 visit by the two Arizona senators in Tuba City, not much information surfaced. Why were the people upset? Perhaps the president should have been more up front from the get-go.

On March 8, 2012, representatives from the Navajo, Hopi, mayors, ranchers, and other affected parties signed a preliminary agreement on the LCR settlement. This letter was addressed to the two senators. Then the "final draft" (over 100 pages) was made public.

During the Tuba City forum, someone told me that the bill was resting at the door of a U.S. House Committee. The people were not told that SB 2109 was almost halfway to becoming a law. Why does the settlement include the Black Mesa coal mine and the Navajo Generating Station?

And Blue Springs, an underground river that comes out of the Little Colorado canyon northwest of Cameron and about 12 upstream from the confluence, it is not included in the settlement.

For whatever reasons, the Navajo Water Commission and the president chose not to talk about issues related to these. This is called information control and manipulation, a tactic commonly used in Third World countries.

When a government engages in withholding critical public information, than how would you expect the people to behave?

There are those who will patiently listen (and supposedly showing respect for the leaders) and on the flip side are those who are better informed about the issue who, I think, have critically analyzed the specifics of the settlement and are not allowed to speak. In this group are the young people who are, therefore, disenfranchised.

If you don't understand the Navajo language and the forums are conducted in Navajo, then would you be left out in the cold?

People complained that the PowerPoint presentation was too long and inappropriate. The average American cannot process and retain 90 minutes of information. Shelly and the NWC say this is educating the public.

The information is written in English and explained in Navajo. Sometimes the translation from one language to another is not exact. There is loss of meaning, or the important points are not emphasized.

The elders when they speak will ignore the presentation and talk about their personal history and philosophy. For this population they don't care about dates, data, graphs, measurements, etc. They want to make sure everything stays the same and that the kids of their grandchildren have enough water.

Their lives spanned over many decades and they have seen how the U.S. and Navajo governments changed over the years. In their eyes, there are no huge changes that directly benefited the people. I don't think they trust what the leaders are saying.

The young people are just starting to experience life. They have varying degrees of level of education. When they challenge the accuracy of the presentation, the presenters get flustered and upset. This is when the facilitator chastised them for lack of respect.

An example of an informed inquiry would be: Did someone drill a hole to access the C-aquifer water and tested the sample? Is the water drinkable? Show us the data to support the commission's claim that the water is potable.

What is the level of uranium, arsenic, and other toxic metals? Several people at the Pinon forum wanted to do a counter presentation, but they were denied.

If the administration is ever asked how many people attended the forums, would they divulge the numbers and furthermore, provide an assessment on how effective this method of public education is? Would they say that the number of people who support the settlement is almost nil? Once again, I don't think so.

These gatherings or town hall meetings, good or bad, are the administration's way of saying that the public was educated. A chapter house can only hold so many people, less than 300.

When this is all over, will Shelly consider re-election in 2014? To the people, this protection of the life-sustaining water is never over.

William LongReed
Tuba City, Ariz.


An invitation for the UN official

During his official visit to the United States, I had the privilege of addressing James Anaya, the United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Below is a summary of the five-minute presentation I gave.

I am of the Wooden Shoe People, born for the Water Flows Together People. My maternal grandfather is also of the Wooden Shoe clan and my paternal grandfather is of the Bitter Water Clan.

Over the years I have had the privilege to travel throughout much of our country and even to many parts of the world. One question I am frequently asked is "How does it feel to be Native American and live in the United States?"

It took me a long time to know how to answer that question. I found that if I answered it completely honestly, then my words were so full of emotion and even anger that it shut down any conversation.

But if I tempered my answer in an effort to keep people engaged I felt dissatisfied because I was not adequately articulating what I was feeling.

Finally I began using this image to describe to people how it feels: Being Native American and living in the United States feels like our indigenous peoples are an old grandmother who lives in a very large house.

It is a beautiful house with plenty of rooms and comfortable furniture. But years ago some people came into our house and locked us upstairs in the bedroom. Today our house is full of people. They are sitting on our furniture. They are eating our food. They are having a party in our house.

They have since unlocked the door to our bedroom but now it is much later and we are tired, old, weak and sick so we can't or don't come out.

But the part that is the most hurtful and that causes us the most pain is that virtually no one from this party ever comes upstairs to find us in the bedroom, sits down next to us on the bed, looks us in the eye, and simply says, "Thank you. Thank you for letting us be in your house."

I think something that has been taken from our indigenous peoples has been our ability and the opportunity to be the host people of this land. And in fact today we are so far removed from the role of host that we often feel like forgotten guests in our own home.

This neglect is evidenced in the 2010 Department of Defense appropriations bill that President Obama signed on Dec. 19, 2009. Page 45 of this 67-page document contains a generic, non-binding apology to Native Americans on behalf of the citizens of the United States.

This apology was never announced by the White House or Congress nor has it been read publicly by the president. In fact, most of the country, including the nearly five million Native Americans who live here as citizens, do not even know it exists.

I do not feel that this apology, and the way it was buried, is an appropriate or respectful way to speak to the indigenous hosts of this land.

I am especially hurt that his apology was never clearly communicated to our elders, many of whom endured the horrors of disenfranchisement, re-location and boarding schools.

So for the third anniversary of the signing of this bill, I have reserved the space in front of the U.S. Capitol building. On that day I, and a diverse group of citizens, are hosting a public reading of H.R. 3326.

Our mission is to invite our nation's citizens and leaders, as well as members of the global community, to gather at the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 19, 2012, and join our efforts to communicate as publically, as humbly and as respectfully as possible the contents of H.R. 3326 (and the apology enclosed therein) to the Native American tribes, communities and citizens of the United States of America.

It is our hope that this event will establish safe and honest common ground where a national conversation for reconciliation between our country and Native America can begin.

Mr. Anaya, I would like to invite you, both personally and as the United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, to join us.

I also would ask you to communicate these stories and this invitation to the United Nations and to the broader global community.

And finally, I would like to thank you. Thank you for hosting this conference. Thank you for seeking out the host people of this land, for sitting down next to us and looking us in the eye. And thank you for listening to our stories and hearing our concerns.

Mark Charles
Fort Defiance, Ariz.


Hale supports L. Colo. River settlement

Many of you have asked how I feel about the Senate Bill 2109, the proposed Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Settlement Act of 2012 and the Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Agreement. I thank you for your inquiries and take this opportunity to express my support for the LCR Settlement and state the reasons for my support.

While our lawyers, on our behalf, have asserted for many years that the Navajo Nation is entitled to every drop of water in the Little Colorado River basin, the Little Colorado River continues to flow past the Navajo Nation and almost half of our households continue to haul water.

While our communities cannot access and use the Little Colorado River water, communities off-Navajo Nation are putting that water to use and have done so for years. The question is simply do we allow this to continue or do we take this opportunity to tie down our water rights?

Insisting on rights to all the surface water and ground water in the Little Colorado River basin, which no court would ever award to us, is not an effective strategy. Instead, we are better served by a water rights settlement that ensures water supplies for our lands in the Arizona Lower Basin and for our land to serve as a permanent homeland.

At the same time, such a water settlement requires congressional funding and support from the Lower Basin states to secure federal funds necessary to construct water delivery systems.

A water delivery infrastructure is critical to access and to use water from the Little Colorado River. It is difficult especially in this economic time, to get federal funding for water projects in Indian country. The congressional legislation to approve the LCR Settlement, SB 2109, is sponsored by Senator Jon Kyl. Senator Kyl is very knowledgeable concerning water rights and is the Senate Republican Whip, a powerful position in Congress.

He is retiring in January 2013. Once he retires, getting the LCR Settlement passed by the partisan and divided U.S. Congress will be very difficult. We need to take advantage of the opportunity presented by Senator Kyl?s leadership position.

The LCR Settlement will provide two groundwater projects. First is the Leupp-Dilkon Regional Groundwater Project, which will provide water delivery system to serve Leupp, Birdsprings, Tolani Lake, Teesto, Dilkon, Indian Wells, Lower Greasewood and White Cone chapters.

Second is the Ganado Regional Groundwater Project, which will serve Ganado, Kinlichee, Jeddito, Cornfields, Steamboat, Klagetoh and Wide Ruins chapters.

The projects will provide clean, reliable drinking water to our people in these communities and water supply for our livestock. The LCR Settlement will provide water supply for Arizona communities to be served by the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project secured by the San Juan River settlement. This is our "first straw" to the Colorado River.

The LCR Settlement also lays the groundwork for the construction of the Western Navajo Water Pipeline. When the Western Navajo Water Pipeline is agreed to, funded, and constructed, it will provide the Navajo Nation with a "second straw" to divert Colorado River water for our use.

It is very significant that the LCR Settlement imposes strict and clear restrictions on non-Indian water uses off-Navajo Nation. These restrictions protect our groundwater and surface water rights and guarantees water supplies going forward. We can quantify our water rights and secure water supplies for our children, grandchildren, and our future generation.

The LCR Settlement, like all settlements, is not perfect. It does not give us everything we feel we are entitled to. Senate Bill 2109 includes some elements that are objectionable, like the requirement that the Navajo Generating Station lease be extended. But that element however objectionable, is necessary in order to get Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project water (secured through the San Juan River Water Settlement) to Arizona communities.

If we do not approve and support the LCR Settlement, the alternative is more decades of fruitless litigation. We will spend more years sitting on the hilltop watching the Little Colorado River flow off-Navajo Nation and saying, "All that water belongs to the Navajo people." To me that is not acceptable.

There is an important reality that we should not lose sight of. The NGS extension and the Peabody mine are only short-term commitments. At some point, the mine will run out of coal and NGS will not have any more coal to continue to operate.

On the other hand, the water we gain through the LCR Settlement will last much, much longer.

We know that clean water is essential for life. Without the LCR Settlement, the underlying litigation, which is already almost 40 years old, will go on forever. Our people will continue an existence limited from reaching their full potential by inadequate and unhealthy water supplies.

Our Diné elders have always taught: "Tó éíí baahasti' Tó éíí béé íína. I urge your support of the LCR Settlement. I urge the Navajo Nation Council to pass legislation approving the LCR Settlement.

The LCR Settlement will secure reliable water supplies for our nation and our children and for generations to come.

Albert Hale
State Representative, District 2
Phoenix, Ariz.


A great Diné leader

This letter is a tribute to a great Diné leader who recently retired. He worked for the Navajo Nation in various high level positions over the years and we had the honor and pleasure working with him at the state capital in Santa Fe.

He held a position where he monitored primarily Navajo capital outlay projects funded with state funds. He currently holds a prestigious position as commissioner on the New Mexico State Transportation Commission.

His name is Jackson Gibson.

On May 4, 2012, he was honored with a beautiful retirement dinner and I was not able to attend due to another important commitment. My sister, Ann Miller, represented me at the dinner.

We're both sisters to Jackson, we both worked with him and we both know how to put him in his place. My brother Jackson was in good company. He knows so many people at the local communities, with Navajo and county governments, at the state level as well, and he is well known even beyond the Four Corners region. Everywhere he goes, he makes friends.

The greatest highlight of his life is having served in the military service. He is the gallant patriot who answered our nation's call to duty and he served honorably through his dedication to the American and Diné people to protect our freedom and global democracies.

I had one of the most enjoyable times attending and honoring our military service men and women during Veterans Day at Smith Lake organized by Jackson and his comrade Ray Joe. He exhibits outward reverence and deep respect when it comes to recognizing or honoring his comrade brothers and sisters.

Jackson's footprints can be seen on many, many accomplished tasks. His contribution to planning and development of so many projects and his community service has marked indelible success. He is like a pioneer willing to step out into the unknown to challenge a process to make things happen. He does not stand for passiveness.

At the New Mexico state level, he sought state funding for the planning and construction of the Smith Lake Senior Citizen Center and the beautiful Smith Lake Veterans Center. Organizations like Eastern Navajo Agency Council and other groups hold their meetings in that center. To accomplish this, he networked and communicated well with area legislators to obtain funding with state capital outlay dollars. We gladly supported his tireless efforts.

While some irked at his appointment to the State Transportation Commission, I was proud for his success. I proudly stood up in the Senate Rules Committee and on the Senate floor in support of his appointment and reappointment.

His role on the commission is not a passive one - he has done more than commissioner I have known who represented District Six. He stays engaged with leaders at all levels and is highly accessible. He has brought commission meetings to Eastern Navajo.

Funding for the continuation of U.S. Highway 491 was largely due to Jackson's insistence in pushing and advocating for this project. He knows how to enlist the support from people who can make things happen.

For instance, as a result of my Senate Memorial 28, Highway 371 from Thoreau to north of Becenti Chapter was rehabilitated along with expanded turning lanes at Smith Lake and Crownpoint. Many other road improvements we now see is a result of Jackson's commitment to ensure public safety is a priority for the traveling public.

His personal best is building a coalition of support to put a vision into action. Jackson helped organize the dedication of Highway 264 in renaming it Navajo Code Talkers Highway, which we celebrated in December 2010 with former Governor Richardson.

Our best wishes to you, my brother Jackson, as you enter a new chapter in your life. As you now retire and leaving the "ole bosses" your new boss, your wife Patsy, already knows your work ethics, your skills, attitude and your excuses. Your new boss lives in your home - good luck in getting some time off.

We thank you for your services to the Navajo Nation and to the senate of New Mexico. While we will miss your presence at many important meetings where you always diplomatically presented your knowledge and wisdom, we hope you will continue to stay involved in community affairs.

We wish you a long enjoyable retirement. Take care of your health. You have a knack for beating the odds.

Lynda Lovejoy
New Mexico State Senator, District 22
Crownpoint, N.M.


Thanks to 'Lone Ranger' crew

On behalf of the town of Chinle, I would like to say thank you to the production company, cast, and crew of the "Lone Ranger" who graced this small dusty town with their presence.

Of all the beautiful locations around the world, the powers that be made a fateful decision to film on the great Navajo Nation, in Monument Valley, in Shiprock, and in the most beautiful canyon in the world, Canyon de Chelly.

All of us who work with the local eateries, hotels, tour services, and parks are most appreciative of the economic boost this project gave our rural communities. As reservation life returns to normal, we will treasure these once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Those two weeks were a whirlwind with some chaotic and intense days, but well worth the memories. Thank you Gore, Jerry, Michael (I am indebted), Janice, John, Javier, Paulina, Dan the driver, Bill (and his great story of getting lost in MV 20 years ago), JD (and his humor), Armie and all the others who make this all come together.

We cannot wait for the movie's release. You are all invited back to explore these wonderful treasures in our backyards. You have lifelong Navajo friends and family here. Ahe'hee'!

Nora J. McKerry
Chinle, Ariz.


Gratitude to county supervisor

As a resident of District II, I offer my gratitude for Supervisor White.

Tom White has improved roads in our rural communities, which has enabled many residents to access to daily necessities. Mr. White has improved roads to make our commutes safer and reliable. As you may know, many roads on the reservation are in terrible shape. Mr. White continues to improve roads in our rural area. Many people take the road improvements for granted especially since we live in a fast paced society now.

Mr. White has worked on addressing the needs and issues of our communities at many different levels. He has sought many different levels of funding which has benefited many of our voters, especially the elders. He has located grant funding for Ganado, Fort Defiance and Tsaile/Wheatfields communities to improve the economic development in various aspects. Also, the local senior centers within his jurisdiction have received new transportation to enable better services to/from the centers.

Mr. White has kept communications open between his office and residents. He has visited the local senior centers, chapters, and veteran organizations as well as road project sites. He is available more than any other elected official.

Mr. White has proven and accomplished the duties of supervisor for our communities. He has improved the lives of the residents. He has kept the roads passable so that we may travel safely.

It is with these accomplishments that Mr. White be recognized and voted back into office to continue improving the lives of our Diné.

Donald Berry
Steamboat, Ariz.


St. Michael school bazaar winners

ST. MICHAELS, Ariz. - The cash prize winners of the St. Michael Indian School Bazaar held May 6 are as follows: 1st, Marvin Yazzie; 2nd, Marlene Apachee; 3rd, Debora Salliego; 4th, Mary Begay; 5th, Dennis Kirk; 6th, Wendell Phillips; 7th, Laura Yazzie; 8th, Kevin Burke; 9th, Suzann McClelland; and 10th, Harrison Manycows.

The fundraising raffle winners of the Sister Marguerite Memorial Powwow are as follows: Toddler Powwow, Shawl Mary Chapela; Princess and the Frog pillow, Carmen Yazzie; Denver Broncos pillow, Darryl; and Muppets pillow, Amanda Joe.

Winners may pick up cash prizes at the Business Office (928-871-4353) with identification.

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