Letters: Feminism is against our culture

White feminism has infiltrated the arid desert lands of Navajo. Like the monsters that the Hero Twins battled against, I believe that the “f-word” monster roams like Coyote among our people.

As Diné Asdzááni and Diné Hastoi we collectively must be vigilant against the negative effects of the still lingering colonialism within our lands, in this case feminism. Existing in a matrilineal society is a blessing in many ways, but it also carries great responsibilities us as men and women. From our origin stories we are taught about who we are to be as Diné Asdzáá and Diné Hastiin in our dialogue, in our actions, in our personal social lives. As Navajo women, we are acting as Amá to all our clan relatives.

We, women and men, have been created to complement each other physically and spiritually. It is taught in our spiritual ways that we must recognize and respect each other. How then, I asked, can we as Diné women be counteractive against our Navajo matriarchy? From the beginnings of Euro-American feminism, individualistic selfish attitudes drive feminism. So I ask, how can we, as members of extended, communal families call ourselves feminists?

To assist in aspiring to the 21st century Navajo female being is the role I have found myself in as an adult Navajo and Hopi woman. Recently I have witnessed modern Diné women labeling themselves “feminists.” I am not a feminist, that term is a germ in my opinion and has no place in our Diné culture. The origins of white American feminism are rooted in racism against the black man.

History tells that Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Katy Stanton (leaders of the Suffragette Movement) did not agree that a “Negro man” got the right to vote before them. Via my research, I learned that, in fact, Ms. Anthony is documented as stating, “I will cut off this right ear of mine before I will ever work to demand the ballot for the Negro and not the woman.” I ask this question to those Diné women who carry this “f-word” in their identity, “Do you also feel this too?”

I love you, my Navajo people, and I want the best for you, for all of us. Please do your research about American history, for what we are taught in the American school (and BIA reservation system) is not on par. Real history has been omitted so that we can remain ignorant of the truth. Daily I see the negative impacts of American assimilation on our people. Many of us are stuck in the colonizer’s rituals of cellphone zombie-ism.

Many of us consume too much chemical laden Frankenfoods from the local fast-food establishments, and many of us have conformed to the status quo of reservation life. And, many of us perpetuate the new addiction of social media. Whether it be Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tinder, Twitter, we are on it. For some this is OK, for some others this is problematic. I find this new addiction very sad.

In our conscious assimilation we are allowing white Euro-American pop culture to dictate who we are as Diné human beings. We are allowing the colonizers to (re)create us. We are allowing our sacred epistemology of Diné Iiná to be trampled upon as we take hold of the newest trends and social movements. Navajo girls, Navajo women, live in the spirit of your grandmothers, great aunts, mothers, and sisters: Be matriarch, not feminist.

The vision of our ancestors needs to be re-established again. There is no way we can go back in history and live the life of our ancestors, but we can become empowered to make positive change in our lives as Diné people, one that is free of oppression, which means we need to think as sovereign Diné beings.

We as neo-Diné people are still the pheno-reflection of our grandfathers and grandmothers. Let’s keep their legacy strong within us. Learn your clans, learn the language, spend time with elders, love your family, love yourself, and spend time in nature (leave that phone at home).

I believe we can live a good life as modern Navajo people, but we must first know, and believe our ancestral past (ancestral memory) before we can be balanced. We are people living in urban, techno-driven American society, but still call Dinétah “home.” It is this duality we live that is our resilience, this way of being is in our genetic memory — we survive!

Venaya Yazzie
Huerfano, N.M.

Cannot accept candidates for president

Lawlessness has crippled our Great Navajo Nation and it has become the Wild West. The media has come forward with news on allegations against one of the candidates who is running for president while he continues to hold his vice presidency. Another candidate is running for a third term, while the law is clear in language against it.

The Navajo Nation election office, Ethics and Rules Office, the speaker, and the Navajo Nation Council are all responsible and accountable for making the right decisions and upholding our laws for the greater good. Our current political situation is disturbing and many of our people question the legitimacy of these elections, the timing of the voter purge, and other concerns that have gone unanswered.

Why would a person continue to be eligible for the candidacy when there are serious allegations for illegal use of tribal money and the time to campaign, especially when our current Navajo Nation president has emphasized these allegations and the need for accountability and investigation?

My people, this is not what the Navajo Nation stands for. We cannot stand by and let this happen. What we are facing is another travesty, which is going to give us another four years of backwardness and lack of progress. We want a strong and unselfish leader to lead our nation.

Therefore, I ask the Navajo Nation election office, Navajo Nation Ethics and Rules Office, speaker, and the Navajo Nation Council to make sure that our presidential candidates are clear to run for president of the Navajo Nation.

Many of our people are confused, concerned, and troubled with the presidential candidacy circus that has come to our lands again and it is hurting what we stand for, and what I stand for as a former presidential candidate who is still on guard to protect the interests of the silent majority, our voters and everyone who knows better than to stand in silence and allow this circus to continue.

As a Navajo, I have a dream to one day be the president or chairman of our great nation. I worked to prepare myself to become a strong, passionate, and caring leader for my people. Today, I cannot accept the candidates that are running for president of our great Navajo Nation. We must stand together to uphold our laws, the accountability, the transparency, and the legitimacy against what is taking place now. Our people deserve more and what we are facing at the moment is a dire travesty that must not continue … and we are running out of time. I do not endorse either one.

Dineh Benally
Shiprock, N.M.

System is keeping Diné poor

The $767 million, that’s the tribal budget to keep our Dine’ living in poverty. Every Diné, man, women and child paid out of their pocket $2,191.45 to meet that budget. That is a fact.

Total cost to keep Diné poor will be around $3 billion when you add up the money the feds, states, counties, and other government entities will be spending on the Navajo rez. Big bucks roll through the reservation like a flood of green paper locusts and like the locusts it leaves nothing behind, but poverty.

The only people benefiting are those with government jobs or those who have government contracts. In a nutshell that is the reality of how the system works. Anyone younger than 45 has been taught that government will give you money, government will give you a job, government will provide for health, education and welfare. Government is there with a solution to all problems. The only question now is, Is that true?

In our recent history a lie has become truth, wrong has become right, and evil has become good. All that happened because it has been accepted by the majority as mob rule. We are reminded daily we live in a democracy and we are supposed to feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Believe it or don’t, democracy is a bad form of government.

A democracy by its real definition is “one man, one vote,” or mobs that have no regard for constitutional or any basic human rights. Example, some believe Wendy Rodgers has no freedom of speech rights and we should mob up and run her off. We elect leaders when we should be electing representatives, people who know of our crappy dead-end governmental system. People who know that poverty is devouring everything Diné.

Elected officials should know by now, the poverty of our Diné cannot be eradicated with government spending. This rodeo has been going on for 55 years with conditions only getting worse. Diné living on the rez own nothing. Everything belongs to government. Our homes, land, businesses, property, children, and our lives. Everything can be taken by the government when Diné don’t play by government rules, regulations, policies, and their laws.

What do our Diné really want? Do they want to continue living in a poverty-producing system or do they want to live in a system of economic mobility where they have control of their lives and own something? If our Diné are to survive in this world going crazy they need to be encouraged to stop voting like chickens, voting for Col. Sanders of KFC fame. Our Diné vote should go to representatives who have the courage to change or eliminate barriers of rules, regulations, policies, and senseless laws that stop our Diné from having individual economic mobility.

As Dine’ we can’t continue to allow any government to wrap us in warm fake blankets of government security benefits at our own expense. As Dine’ we can eliminate politically adverse barriers that rob us of a great life of adventures in freedom. The only way to do that is to vote and elect people who value freedom, understand law, and rule of law. Any vote short of that will not suffice.

Wally Brown
Page, Ariz.

OnSat investigation was a sham

Lo and behold, I must have hit the nail on the head for Louis Denetsosie, former attorney general of the Navajo Nation, to make a response quickly to my letter of Oct. 11, 2018, concerning the allegations against Jonathan Nez (“Casinos have been a disaster”). It shows the allegations were politically motivated.

My response will be short and highlight only the major points. I expected someone else to respond and not Louis Denetsosie. His response was solely on the OnSat issue and does not touch on the disastrous casino issue. Mr. Denetsosie alleges the Department of Justice reviewed the complaint and found no wrongdoing.

Mr. Denetsosie and Mr. Shirley are both from Chinle, so they have each other’s back. I believe the complaint should have been reviewed by the special prosecutor and determined if it required an investigation, not the Navajo Nation Department of Justice because of their weakness. The kind of legal work they do is usually based on who you know, not what they know. Were the funds appropriated by Navajo Nation Council to investigate Mr. Shirley’s dealing with OnSat misused?

I believe the funds were specifically intended to investigate Mr. Shirley and OnSat, not how the Council used the discretionary funds. The casinos causing disastrous impact mainly on the senior citizens was not mentioned in the response. I know what the response would be anyway so I don’t want to push the issue any further.

Yes, I agree Jonathan Nez should be thoroughly investigated, however, I believe both candidates should be thoroughly investigated and results made public so the voters know who can be trusted to be our leader. I would like to reiterate my position that the election laws should be amended. As written it has many loopholes. The amended version needs to be stiff and require background checks on all candidates at the time of filing.

Thank you as always.

Vern Charleston
Farmington, N.M.

Educate yourself about housing

“Section 184 is synonymous with home ownership in Indian Country.” — US HUD website.

It is my understanding that the Navajo Times has a wide circulation in the continental USA. Thus, this letter to reach urban American Indians and those who live on their homeland who are considering home ownership or are homeowners looking to make home improvement by loan.

First, Google hud.gov Section 184 program and Section 184 eligible areas by state (scroll down to it) to learn about the program. Secondly, Google hud.gov/Office of Native American Programs and scroll down to “About ONAP” (Office of Native American Programs), which lists ONAP throughout the regions.

North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. Additionally, each region ONAP provides a staff directory to contact an individual if you have a question. I did not provide websites since they tend to change. Also, what I provided is public information. It is up to you if you want to participate in the program.

Nancy Todea
Shiprock, N.M.


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Categories: Letters