T rust in government has had its day. So who can we trust with the leadership of the Diné Nation? Or who, if anyone, can we trust in government these days?
In the Diné Nation we had 17 hopefuls wanting to be our president. Seventeen, by the way, is the same number as those who got re-elected to their Council seats when we voted to reduce the Council to 24. No question about it, reducing the Council to 24 was a good thing. Re-electing some of the 88 was not a good thing.
Our trust in the 24 was that they would return to the chapters all the power and authority they had taken. We know that never happened. Our Diné are still at the mercy of the Window Rock corruptible.
To date, all our resources are still used as political pawns. Our water, land, basic rights and our children are being sacrificed for power and greed. And we are told, "Trust us, it is for the greater good."
We have always trusted the wrong people and that makes all these problems our own fault. We think we elect smart people, but when they get elected they do some real stupid things. How long are we going to keep electing the worst of the corruptible?
Those we have trusted and elected in recent history have weakened the rule of law along with our sovereignty status. Under their watch they have made our justice system nothing more than a joke.
If we as a nation of Diné are to survive in the difficult days ahead, we need to elect leadership that understand we must be allowed to govern ourselves at the chapter level.
To govern ourselves we need to do away with the resolution form of government. We also need to revise the Local Governance Act so it has more teeth from the chapter level. With that said, the majority of the corruptible are convinced that we can't be trusted and we are too stupid to know what is best for us at the chapter level.
Maybe the best way to understand all this is to talk about it in terms of money. How about the $554 million from the trust management litigation agreement?
All that money rightfully belongs to the Diné at the chapter level and should be divided up among the 120 chapters. The money can be divided up based on their registered voter numbers. The Diné voters know how best to use that money in their chapters. Yet, the corruptible in Window Rock believe we are too stupid to use money wisely or to govern ourselves.
So, without having to resort to eeny-meeny-miny-mo in casting our vote, what about a write-in candidate?
Remember, we are Diné and we vote for someone who knows what it takes to be a good shepherd. We need someone who knows how to collect corn pollen and how to use that corn pollen as a prayer offering to the Holy People, and knows how to address the Holy People on our behalf in the sacred language of our Diné.
Our leaders should be told to "Keep It Simple, Stupid." This attitude builds trust.
Pro-Palestinian protesters misleading Diné
In researching, I reread the Navajo Times July 17, 2014, article "Group opposes relations with Israel, protest planned," and viewed YouTube. I also read a letter in the July 24, 2014, Navajo Times written by Melanie K. Yazzie, a spokesperson, condemning Israel and making demands ("Israel condemned for treatment of Palestinians" ).
On the video I counted seven protesters, including their spokesperson. The 2010 Census documented 300,048 Navajos who "live" on the reservation and these protesters do not speak or represent the majority of Navajos.
I'm furious they would mislead the Navajo people by falling into the liberal worlds' vortex of lies and deception about a people (Palestinian) that does not exist. What's more appalling is a former Navajo Nation presidential candidate, Moroni Benally, is fooled into believing their lies and protested alongside of them.
Al Jazeera on April 14, 2014, interviewed Melanie K. Yazzie, Janene Yazzie, Jennifer Denetdale and Amber Crotty. On the website the reporter referred to Melanie as a Navajo Palestinian activist. I'm totally perplexed about this interview because women are violently oppressed in Islamic countries (a human rights violation) and cases of honor killings (murder) in the United States.
Al Jazeera is an Arab media network that is very anti-American and has links to Al Qaeda and is a mouthpiece for them. It's nauseous that these women would speak to an Arab network that spewed invective hatred and incited violence against our American troops during the Iraq war.
The liberal media did not report this, but on Aug. 4, 2014, Fox News and Breitbart aired a video where a Marine Corps veteran was assaulted and spit on by a pro-Palestine protestor in Washington, D.C. The mob protesters appear to be a mixture of college students and Arabs in a hateful frenzy. I'm outraged that these protesters are violent and disrespectful to our veteran.
The University of New Mexico pro-Palestine protesters on July 17, 2014, at the Navajo Council Chambers are aligning themselves with this cause, "to act, protest." In Melanie K. Yazzie's July 24, 2014, letter she quoted, "Palestinians in Gaza issued an urgent plea to act, protest, and intensify boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel," to stop Israel's military offense. Those Palestinians (Arabs) are who voted Hamas into their parliament.
Furthermore, the U.S. State Department has labeled Hamas a terrorist organization. The Palestinian Arabs in Gaza and West Bank can relocate to the Arabic countries of Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq. They don't leave because they choose to be political pawns so the world can pressure Israel into giving up more land to the Arabs. It's not enough that Arabs were unilaterally granted a majority of land in the Middle East after World War II, including all the rich oil reserves. They want it all.
It is documented through history and archeology that for more than 4,000 years Israel has always been there. The land belongs to them. Israel has always been a friend to the United States. I am proud our current Navajo government is working with Israel and I hope the partnership will always continue.
Always remember Sept. 11, 2001. Many of our service men and women have died and were severely wounded to protect our homeland. My deepest gratitude to all the veterans and our beloved Navajo Code Talkers for your service and sacrifice to our country. I am so honored to be a military family with combat veterans. It will be 13 years on Sept. 11, 2014, and the painful scars are still there.
Valli M. Crank
Tuba City/Cameron, Ariz.
Voter feels angry, restricted, cheated
My experience as a first time voter in our tribal elections left me feeling angry, restricted, and cheated, not at all empowered. It felt very wrong to have to vote for a singular person among a group I don't have confidence in to accurately represent and responsibly advocate for our people.
Sure, there are good qualities I could appreciate from several of the candidates, but complete confidence in just one person?
Since when does any great change occur with just one person? Never. It always involves a group of people. Communities are what make positive and beneficial changes for the world. Real leadership happens when a number of us come together and combine our skills, knowledge and resources.
I've talked with several candidates, both presidential and Council, and I am disappointed and worried that all lack a real idea of what they face from the outside world.
Additionally, understanding colonization, capitalism, racism, environmental racism, misogyny, patriarchy, domestic and sexual violence, etc., are absent from their understanding of what we collectively as Diné are up against. How can these candidates not be aware of how these factors play out in our lives and create dysfunction in our communities?
I am baffled and disturbed that "Dr." Joe Shirley had the highest votes. JS, who we already had as a president for two terms and who accomplished little positive and beneficial acts for all of Diné.
You mean the same JS who approved all those ridiculous casinos, gave away our San Juan water rights and nearly surrendered our Lower Colorado water rights, as well as coercively sanctioning a third coal power plant for the Four Corners region? This was who people voted for?
Then there is Chris Deschene. The same CD who worked for the Shirley administration that tried forcing the Desert Rock Power Plant and other projects that exploit and harm our people, land, and Diné culture. CD advised Shirley. Tell me again what the difference is between these two candidates?
Is it really any surprise that our top two candidates would be anything other than those with known corporate backing and resources?
It is apparent to me that many Diné, especially my generation, don't feel confident in these "leaders." The truth is this whole system and way of governing is foreign. It was not created by us, but was imposed on us.
There are many Diné grassroots who have their communities, land, and culture in mind and heart. When our communities lead, then I will have faith and confidence that our future is responsibly and accurately tended to. My hope and reassurance lies in our sacred land, water, and mountains that have always taken care of us.
I want to stress that in all this time, it honestly has not mattered who was elected. A foreign and violent system will always create a candidate that disregards his people, homeland, and all that is sacred. Instead of complying with a foreign system that leaves us feeling disempowered, let's join those who have been focusing on community education, community empowerment and community organizing, so that together we create a future that benefits all of us.
There was a time before the Navajo Nation Council -- a BIA created body designed to authorize natural resource extraction leases. We don't have to feel that voting and submitting authority to a select few is our only avenue to the future we want for ourselves.
Zah tries to take neutral position, shows bias
It shouldn't surprise me that the guest columnist, Peterson Zah, tries to take a neutral position as a consultant and at the same time show bias to the Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company, the corporation he set up. It's also interesting to see how he criticizes the judicial system when he and others helped to enact Title II, which gave it the power it has.
Which by the way was supposed to be a temporary fix so no abuse of powers were to exist after the chairman was removed. He then ran again with no fix and so did the lawyer who advocated for it and put it in place -- Albert Hale. No fix at all!
Now 20-plus years later we are still stuck with Peterson Zah and Hale's mistake. There are all kinds of abuse of powers in every branch that was created by them through Title II. I'm surprised he took time off to check on us since he's had a cushy job at Arizona State University. He must have been paid a handsome consulting fee to defend his corporation and unknowingly take a jab at the mess Title II has caused.
The latter, Albert Hale, also abused tribal money on the many getaway dates the tribe paid for. Where does it end?
We should have a movie deal, a reality show or a soap opera called "As the Tribal Government Turns." By the way, aren't there any other qualified professionals who could give a more unbiased opinion on the matter than Peterson Zah? Now I'm sure the people are more confused by the whole issue. Reality TV here we come.
(Editor's note: Zah had no role in the amendments to Title II, which were written by Albert Hale and approved by the Navajo Nation Council in 1989.)
Rio Rancho, N.M.
Act out of love for our people
My name is JayDiamond Taliman. I am 20 years old and I am from the Ganado/Window Rock area. Knowing that every voice of the people matters, I wanted to come forth to share some of my thoughts about the potential of our nation.
Growing up I've seen the deprivation and unrecognized power we all have, and I've witnessed the manipulation of higher power in our governmental system (not to speak out of ignorance, but purely in hopes of advancement). I ask that whoever may become the future president, that he do everything in he power to help propel our reservation into the powerhouse it should be!
I believe our nation has the capability to become self-sufficient, industrialized, and blossom an excelling nation economy. There is so much room for economic growth and it would be a shame for it to go unnoticed.
We have the largest reservation in America and we need to realize the capabilities we are blessed with. With the coming economic downfall of the United States, and the destruction of the dollar bill, we should no longer depend on false-backed paper money to run our nation! The dependency we have on the U.S government is similar to a child holding onto their authoritative figure's hand, its time we let go and thrive! There's so much room for farms, cattle, and positive navajo owned/operated business development. We the Diné can take back the authority of our nation.
Being a part of the next upcoming generation, I would like to proclaim abundant success on our people and land! I only write to you in hopes it will help spark a fire somewhere in the minds of people in power, to not become submissive to the temptations of greed, but to defeat the desires of the flesh, and bless our nation for many generations to come. We need you! They also need to appoint executives/directors not for their selfish reasons, but only leaders with the true interest of our people at heart. We can all say that we have struggled as a people, so I ask that you be a blessing to this beautiful nation!
I write this short letter out of compassion, love, care, and respect for our Navajo people. I am not perfect, and no one is, but I am aware and see past the filters which disguise the big picture. We have been held down so long and its time that God turns the favor over to us, so we may prosper in the way we should. God bless you, and know that thousands of young children depend on you and your administration to help lay the foundation to what will be a mighty kingdom. Act out of love for our people and may God be forever in our favor.