Why are horses being abandoned?

July 11, 2013

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I was sent the June 20th issue of the Navajo Times because I had heard about the 17 horses found dead from apparent lack of food and water. It's appalling to me that this number of horses could reach the point of death without someone noticing and coming to their rescue.

Two officials even noticed a bay mare staggering apparently weak and dying from lack of water and food but no one was called to her recue and she ended up dead and bloated a week later. Why wasn't she given food and water to end her suffering?

Some of the other 17 found dead had waded into a mud pool area to try and suck what water they could out of the mud but it had turned to quicksand and they became trapped. One was pictured with its face down in the mud suffocating it. What a horrific death that would have been!

I'm wondering how many people noticed the plight of these horses and did nothing? Were they out of sight?

Rescue groups could have been called, even national humane groups such as the SPCA or the Humane Society of the U.S. Aren't there any compassionate people in the area who could organize help for the neglected horses?

These horses all had to have had previous homes. They served a purpose for their owners at one time. Why were they abandoned now?

I realize part of the problem is the economy. People can no longer afford to feed their animals. It's a sad situation for those who truly love their pets. Unfortunately there are those who don't care and just turn them loose to fend for themselves, which often results in death.

Running an ad to find a new loving home might get results but get references as to the type of care they might give. If you offer the animal for free an unscrupulous person might lie to you and take the horse to an auction where "killer buyers" will bid on it and it will end up at a slaughter plant to face a cruel death. Do you realize how many thousands a year meet a cruel death, especially in Mexico where they are stabbed repeatedly because foreigners like what it does to the meat, and then their spine is severed before they are hoisted on by a back leg to have their throat cut? Our horses deserve better!

I'm mainly angry at the people who turn their horses loose without a care and also at the Fort Defiance Water Department who apparently ignored numerous phone calls to fix defective water faucets and windmills.

I applaud Mrs. Yazzie who hauls water daily to her cattle. Someone in Pine Hill, N.M., is taking food and water to the stray horses where a few cows and calves were found dead. A colt was trampled to death as horses made a desperate race to the one working windmill in the area.

I wish we had stronger more active humane societies to monitor how our animals are being treated. Are there any volunteers in your areas who could call the tribal office and get organized to help get food and water to the animals in need?

Thank God for Helen near Pinehill who hauls 200 gallons of water to the stray horses in need and hay and grain. They know her car and look forward to her arrival. We're even getting a farrier to take care of a suffering horses hoof. If you have any feedback that could help this sad situation e-mail me at barbsloghome@gmail.com.

Barbara Kelly
Ramah, N.M.


Investing in the future, not the past

This is my response to: Why not allow the 1969 NGS lease to end?

NGS - The "Lion's share of the proceeds" this is really funny. It's unfortunate that our leaders would probably be scammed into purchasing this mess. By now everyone should know that the power plants on the reservation are worthless and the tribe should not even think about purchasing them. It would bankrupt the tribe and would make us the laughing stock of the country.

Instead, the tribe should truly invest in a cleaner power plant. Sell the power to the companies and make it a true investment for the tribe. The tribe should find property, like they found property for the casino and move the plans from the Desert Rock plant to this new area. Sign the lease just until the new plant is up and running.

Terminate all leases and have them invest in our new plants. Keep in mind that the rest of the world is looking at cleaner ways to produce power. The Navajo Nation should move forward with this in mind.

Also note that the United States are retiring and closing all the old coal plants. Because they are the top source of carbon dioxide emissions, the primary cause of global warming. You know the stuff our grandfathers warned us about. Look at the stats - the plants on the reservation are on the top 10 list of polluters. In some stats, they won't even mention how bad they are polluting, because it's on the reservation.

Keep in mind that the power plants on the reservation are old, they are making a profit because the white man says they can. If these plants were off the reservation, they would have been shut down years ago.

The power companies that are making all the profit from the old plants are doing so because they have political power. When these companies leave or if the tribe purchases the plant(s), the environmentalist will step in and ask the tribe to close, replace, or refit those plants with equipment to deem them safe with funds we don't have.

The cost will be enormous and we will have no choice but to close the plants. The tribe needs to consult with their environmental office. Navajo EPA should know by now that the plants are useless. In fact, everyone in the entire world knows except the Navajo Nation Council and our fearless leaders.

Listen to our Native workers that presently work in the power plants. I would say that 99.9 percent of them will tell you that the plants are very old and fittings are failing off just looking at them and they are all in need of major work. If you think about it, a majority of the employees are native craftsmen (electricians, welders, carpenters, boilermakers, etc.) that work in these plants.

They know the true story about the plants after all they work there every day. Soon the environmentalist will find a way to close the power plants. Then what will you do. Look toward the future, imagine the unemployment rate when the power plants shut down. Please take time and invest in the future, not the past.

Kathleen Spencer Bain
Cornfield, Ariz.





Funding for NCI

In last week's issue of the Gallup Independent, it was refreshing to see a sign of hope for NCI. Who would have thought that two different entities of any government would be fighting to keep a much-needed institution open?

I was very much in favor of Mr. Edmund Yazzie's proposal to fund NCI, as for mayor Jack McKinney of Gallup, not so much. My reasoning for opposition to Mayor McKinney and the city, they would not be there in the best interest of the Navajo based clients of NCI.

Money is always on everyone's mind when it comes to any person who needs help, this being our people, the Diné. I see jobs that Navajos who are employed at this facility (now) come into question.

Our Navajo clients who come to NCI for help need Navajo based leadership from the director of the facility to the many positions that are now being held by Navajos. Granted that the present director, Jay Azua, is not Navajo, and I do not know how or if he has helped to find or bring any funding for this facility. If he has this may be good, until then imminent closing approaches. I believe Edmund Yazzie is on the right track for the need to fund NCI. The tribal Council needs to stand up for its people, we voted them in and there still is not yet a sign of progress in each of the Council delegates agenda for their varied community chapters (this goes for the Navajo Nation president and vice president).

Ganado community has the largest client base that goes to NCI for treatment, yet I do not see any action from the Council delegate Alton Shepard to help his community, especially when alcohol programs that work and are sorely needed reservation wide. It would be nice to see one or many of the Council delegates promote programs that would be worthwhile to their constituents and the world at large, this would be truly a memorable tribute to any legacy of our people.

I applaud Edmund Yazzie for standing up for the many who need help with their addictions. Would it be forward of me to say that perhaps the Navajo Nation should consider purchasing the land that NCI is built on, there has been so much good that has gone on at that facility to help our people.

One hears only negativity when it comes to NCI, but has anyone heard of the countless positive stories that have come from the facility. Talk to the Navajo staff that work each day and try hard to keep their attitudes positive for themselves and the clients. Real traditional Navajo ceremonies must continue with an emphasis on the traditional Navajo way of life taught by Navajo medicine people (men and women). We have lost most of our ceremonies to outside forces that try to bring other tribal influenced ceremonies to our traditional healing processes. I am sure there are compromises but to what end?

The clients need positive attitudes and counseling to help them in their recovery. They need goals to aim for, to help dissuade them from drinking. Most importantly, they need their families, the community, and the Native counselors who care for their well being and their recovery.

I know these are only suggestions yet I feel there has to be a starting point in beginning a process of helping those who are alcoholics. And perhaps this should begin a dialog for helping our people at every level, not only alcoholic, but the elderly, the unemployed, the handicapped, our people the Diné.

Maralyn Yazzie
Flagstaff, Ariz.


Drought from another perspective

Ya' at' teeh from Totah. I read an interesting letter about the drought condition in last week's Navajo Times. I would like to address the drought condition from another perspective.

I am not a medicine man but I think I know the cause of the drought condition that currently exists on Navajo land. Allow me to express my views and thoughts.

I believe we the Navajo people have totally abused our traditional values from every angle. I was taught not to ever lose my identity, be respectful, and be hopeful of my future.

By virtue of what I know I would like to allude to two issues, which I had always adamantly and vehemently objected to which is the song and dance and the way the Navajo tribal seal is designed. I wonder if anyone else thinks the same way. The song and dance and the way the Navajo tribal seal is designed raises a troublesome concern.

The traditional squaw dance was intended as a healing ceremony and held during summer months. Presently, it is commercialized with a profit-making driving force behind it known as the song and dance. The troubling concern is they are being held year around. It is not intended for healing and is no longer sacred.

The way the Navajo tribal seal is designed is also troubling. The arrowhead surrounds the rainbow and the reservation. From my point of view the arrowhead is blocking the moisture that might be the cause for the drought condition. I think that is a major error. Our tribal leaders need to address it and redesign it.

Further, it's frustrating to hear on the radio about prayer meetings being planned for moisture by concerned citizens. I don't have anything negative about it but what I would like to say is the month of July is the start of monsoon season. I would like see to these folks have their prayer meetings sooner around March or April before planting season.

In conclusion, as I mentioned I am not a medicine man but I feel we need to get to the basics and restore our respect for our God given traditional values and ways. I bet it will bring back moisture year around. Thank you for allowing the opportunity to express my views.

Vern Charleston
Farmington, N.M.


Okla. license plate case

Allen Houser's "Sacred Rain Arrow" Oklahoma license plate ruffled a minister's feathers and offended his Christian beliefs. A federal appeals court ruled three weeks ago that the minister's case can continue, according to an Associated Press article published June 16, 2013.

Keith Cressman's opposes the image of a sculpture of a Native American shooting an arrow toward the sky.

This is silly! This would be like me objecting to the 21 guns salutes. In fact, originally warships fired seven-gun salutes – the number seven probably selected because of its astrological significance. Should I file a lawsuit because I am offended by an event which has pagan connotation?

This image depicted on the license plate depicts an Apache warrior shooting his arrow towards heaven with the anticipation of carrying a prayer for rain to the Spirit World.

How sad it is that Mr. Cressman would devout his time to this lawsuit.

Maybe Mr. Cressman should focus his energy in helping Oklahoma City, where according to the 2013 U.S. Census, the American Indian poverty rate is about 24 percent.

Maybe the scripture, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also," should be read.

Richard Silversmith
Denver, Colo.

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