Respecting our children

WINDOW ROCK, August 22, 2013

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W e need to practice respect when talking with our children in public places and most certainly (hopefully) in our homes. I cannot count how many times that I have seen parents yelling loudly, pulling their child's arm, or simply not paying attention to them in safety situations. All these occurrences happened in public at the mall, laundry centers, movie theaters, stores, and restaurants around the reservation.

It seems a big dynamic shift in family behavior is slowly surfacing on the reservation. I am a parent and teacher. Our school had an interesting workshop given from a Navajo education coordinator and she shared some information about family behavior. There is an exercise that she asked educators to observe the interaction of parents and children at Wal-Mart border towns. Many teachers observed how parents reacted to their children in crying for attention, wanting to buy toys, or typically having a tantrum in public.

There were two types of behaviors where parents reacted to such scenarios. One type had parents yell and shout to their child. The second type had parents calmly talk with their child and minimize the situation.

It was obvious the parents that reacted instantly by yelling and screaming at their children in a public facility outnumbered the occurrences of the other parents. I thought that example paints a clear picture that we need to change our direction with practicing respect toward our children.

It's never too late to show respect. We need to re-involve ourselves in family and tradition. Talk with your child, be involved in their school projects, sit and eat dinner together, exercise outside as a family, and practice many other activities that involve basic family togetherness. Children want to be involved with your life. It's amazing how much they surprise and open their world to you. Remember, children are our future.

Anne Atcitty Bloomfield, N.M.

Issues at Northern Edge casino

The letter concerning the issues at Northern Edge Navajo Casino is the truth well told and it is no surprise to many people. Significant issues do exist that is hindering a successful operation.

At this time, I would like to openly address more issues particularly the infighting among the employees. Due to this infighting, some good employees were not able to tolerate it and elected to leave.

Needless to say, the casino lacks the required business-friendly relationship in serving the customers, mainly the elderly and special needs. I have been at the casino during the day and observed the floor supervisors make no effort to display courtesy and professionalism. It sets a negative image on the kind of management it employs.

The day shift employees can be easily heard gossiping about other employees and their weekend rendezvous. I thought this kind of nonsense existed only in the middle and upper management level of the tribal government in Window Rock.

It is bad business practice and causes customers to walk away. It helps to have an in-house policy that prohibit gossiping in the work place.

The graveyard shift employees are another can of worms, mainly the cashier cage employees. They display belligerent behavior while customers are waiting to be served. It is frustrating to hear them giggle and burst out laughing which makes you wonder if they are laughing about the customers. What is more frustrating is the cashiers are not bilingual and do not have the ability to count change to Navajo elders.

The restaurant employees are not the only issue. The food prices are skyrocketing even though it's the same, cold and distasteful as if they were sitting over time. Due to this, customers are complaining and returning to nearby casinos where food is better and affordable and services are friendly.

In saving the best for last, I would like to allude to the recent time changes in the promotional activities and the happy hour (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) singles out the working class. Common sense tells me the promotion and happy hour attracts people and they need to be changed and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. is appropriate.

I am certain the management personnel are confronted with a bottleneck known as the Navajo Preference in Employment Act in taking corrective action in dealing with the Navajo employees. They have to take every precautionary measure. I would like to tell the management personnel the Navajo customers have your back.

In light of the above mentioned issues, it is crystal clear an unprecedented need is apparent to improve the casino operation by making changes from top to bottom in order to make the casino operation successful.

Vern Charleston Farmington, N.M.

Nothing but positive at Northern Edge

I recently read the experience of Ms. W. Atcitty (in last week's letter to the editor section, "Bad experience at casino restaurant") and am surprised by her candidly negative review. I agree with Ms. Atcitty on a few things - families and children at a casino? Who does that?

Kids are annoying other guests at an adult entertainment venue. Again what kind of person models gambling for children?

Families belong at McDonald's or Denny's, not at a casino. What idiot takes their family to a casino for dinner?

That said I do have to say I do not agree with Ms. Atcitty in terms of her review of service. I personally have had nothing but positive experiences from all the staff at the Northern Edge from security, the table games, cleaning people and especially the restaurant. The service is always prompt and food is delicious.

Granted there are times that I have been less than satisfied with a dish and alerted my server. The night manager comes over to ask what they can do for me to fix it and boom a new dish and they are so apologetic and nice. I have been a regular customer since the casino opened and seen the restaurant change menus, specials, promotions and hire some amazing people.

In the first couple of months service was bad, I admit, but they have come a long way and are some wonderfully friendly people. The restaurant is always busy on the weekends, especially during seafood nights and when there are bands. We have waited two hours for a table before and waited for seats in their lounge on the weekends because we want to be there for the entertainment and will continue to come back.

I encourage anyone who reads this to go see for themselves the awesome experience that the good people at Cedar Bow Restaurant have to offer. Don't base your opinion on one disgruntled customer's experience, see for yourself and then make up your own mind.

Karle Cunningham Farmington, N.M.

Injustice to Hopi Code Talkers?

On July 17, the Hopi Tribal Council, after a heated and emotional debate, approved a request by Eugene Talas, director of the Hopi Veterans Services, to attend the Design Review Committee at the U.S. Mint, Washington, D.C., on July 24, 2013. The vote was 4 no, 8 yes, and 3 who abstained. Norman Honanie from Kykotsmovi, Ariz., made the motion to approve.

In my opinion, this action by the Tribal Council is a direct violation of H004-2008, which was approved on Dec. 19, 2008, by a unanimous vote by the Council.

It said in part "The Hopi Tribe resolved that the Hopi Tribe hereby formalizes its position that in advocating for the Hopi Code Talkers and their surviving families, the Hopi Tribe will not agree and accept the recommended medal provisions of one gold medal for each tribe who has code talkers and a silver medal to each code talker or surviving family members."

This resolution has never been rescinded or changed and is still officially the position of the Hopi Tribe, in fact, the law of the Hopi Tribe.

Therefore, some of the Tribal Council representatives deliberately violated their oath of office. They took the oath of office by saying "I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and By-Laws of the Hopi Tribe. I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same and defend them against all enemies whatsoever."

Vice chairman, Herman Honanie, voted yes and I voted no for two reasons. I will not violate the oath of office and also will not accept second best for our Hopi Code Talkers and their families. I knew two of them very well when they were alive and they never said a word to me about their duty in the military. Historically, for some reason unknown to me, Public Law 110-420 was enacted by Congress on Oct. 15, 2008, which provided a different way of recognizing tribal code talkers, other than Navajos. Pursuant to this Congressional Act, each tribe who had code talkers will be awarded a gold medal and each individual code talker will be awarded a duplicate silver medal.

In my opinion, this is totally unfair and violates the regulations we follow in the Army. For instance, when I was to return to the United States after one year in Vietnam in 1969, I was recommended to five battalions that their chaplain be awarded a Bronze Star and Air Medal, which was carried out. The Indian tribes were not the code talkers whereas the individuals were the code talkers in combat. Therefore on what standard are the tribes being awarded a gold medal other than the will of Congress. Injustice is being committed.

However, Mr. Talas has returned from Washington, and in his report to the Council said that the duplicate silver medals will be awarded in Washington on Nov. 20, 2013. A gold medal will also be awarded to the tribe, which never did any code talking in combat.

In my opinion, the chairman and the vice-chairman have committed a grave injustice to our Hopi Code Talkers.

Caleb H. Johnson Kykotsmovi, Ariz.

Preventing bullying

The current plan to prevent bullying should include superintendents, teachers, and the school administration (bus drivers). Being that tribal public schools and BIA schools are federally and state funded, it is a crime for a student to commit harassments, pushing, threatening a fellow student.

Why not hire professionals who could do a program study to find a percentage of occurrences, places where they occur, which schools and types of offences and compile the findings into analyses so that school leadership would have an idea what method to employ to prevent this type of student bullying on other another student and to prevent further suicides.

And include all schools across the board on the reservation. Our children are our resources. Give this problem the time and funding that it needs. Let's help our children to deal with the puberty years. Set up workshops for victims in how to deal with bullies could further help, as well as workshops for bullies to inform them of the consequences of bad behavior. This type of system goes along how traditional parents would raise children anyway - to respect the rights and privacy of others.

I remember the times when Chinle Boarding School would mix grade-school students with high school students at recess. There would always be fights during the 20-minute break or lunch recess. It was not the greatest time for students to have relaxing lunch or break.

Yael Begaye Tucson, Ariz. (Hometown: Chinle, Ariz.)

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