Navajo culture and corruption culture

WINDOW ROCK, Dec. 12, 2013

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With the death this week of Nelson Mandela, we thought of people like him and John F. Kennedy, who really cared about their countries.

Kennedy's quote, "Ask not what your country can do for you, Ask what you can do for your country" is an all-time favorite.

Navajo Nation Council Speaker Johnny Naize is facing multiple counts of bribery, and one of conspiracy, relating to the Council's infamous "slush fund." There are also "the usual suspects" of George Arthur, Lawrence Morgan, Young Jeff Tom, Jack Colorado, and various others mixed up in this mess according to a recent news release.

We have two cultures here: the Navajo culture and the corruption culture.

The second reaches beyond the Council, to places like the Office of the President.

We already know about the deal former delegate Ben Shelly (now president) struck with prosecutors and the court on the same type of slush fund activity.

What most people don't know is that these behaviors also qualify for federal prosecution, but our "trustee" U.S.

Department of Justice is not looking out for us.

They are influenced by the Navajo Nation Department of Justice, which knows about and also benefits from the continuing chaos and corruption in our government.

DOJ benefits from a weakened and uninformed Navajo government because this helps DOJ in serving its real clients.

These real clients of DOJ are the outside corporations (like the NGS owners and BHP), politicians (like Jon Kyl and John McCain), and other interests (like the surrounding states) that it is giving our resources and future away to.

It's been going on for decades.

The most notorious giveaway artist is water lawyer Stanley Pollack.

Yes, he's still here, even after the water wagon fraud and the S.

2109 attempted giveaway of billions of dollars worth of our water rights that he co-engineered against us in 2012.

He's doing it again in the Utah water settlement, and hiding that one (and the truth) from the people and our fearless leaders more than he did with S. 2109.

Who lets Pollack and those like him stay? It's the same leaders mixed up in the Window Rock corruption.

It's been going on for decades.

The majority of our leaders are asleep at the wheel and lining their pockets, while the Navajo Nation goes down the ditch.

Every day our sovereignty and credibility are damaged by what goes on in Window Rock.

Ben Shelly, Naize, the Council, and DOJ try to blame the federal government, the Hopis, and others, but the fact is the greatest single enemy of our survival as a Native Nation is Window Rock--which is controlled by an out of control DOJ.

We the people can change what's going on.

It's a two-step process: get informed and then go vote.

But maybe it's really a three-step process, with one in between these two.

We have to find people to vote for who care more about our nation and us than they do about themselves or about pleasing the parasites who want to take away from us our water and other resources at bargain basement prices or less.

So, what do we do about Johnny Naize? Well, that is a two-step process.

The suspicion and charges surrounding him are badly damaging the nation.

He needs to be completely removed from the speaker position (he has a right to remain a delegate) while the criminal proceedings take their course.

He absolutely cannot make the choice about who becomes speaker pro tem.

If he's allowed to do that, he's only putting in his man or woman to replace him.

The stigma remains.

The Council has to take appropriate action and choose a pro tem speaker. If Naize is convicted or pulls a Shelly act, he has to be permanently removed from the speakership. This is a crisis in confidence, and worse, and it's damaging our nation and us.

The Council has to do the temporary fix now.

A permanent fix of removal as speaker is warranted if Naize is convicted or pleads "no contest." The Diné have to take over in 2014, find the right people to run for office - using such leaders as Kennedy, Mandela, Ganado Mucho, Barboncito, Manuelito, or Crazy Horse as comparisons - and then carry out a peaceful revolution through the ballot box and save our Navajo Nation.

Ed Becenti
Diné Grassroots Liaison
St. Michaels, Ariz.

Flag folding ceremony

On Nov. 11, 2013, the Shonto Veterans Organization honored Armed Forces veterans by performing the flag folding ceremony.

The commander who drilled the military to perform the flag folding ceremony was former Marine Sgt. Harry Brown Sr.

He said, "Special care should be taken that no part of the flag touches the ground." The flag is then carefully folded into the shape of a triangular hat, emblematic of the hats worn by colonial soldiers during the war for independence.

In the folding, the red and white stripes are finally wrapped into the blue, as the light of day vanishes into the darkness of night.

The flag folding ceremony is a respect and emotional uplifting way to honor the flag on special days like Memorial Day or Veterans Day to honor our veterans; honor our Navajo language.

Veterans remembered Kee Yazzie Myers and honored Hugbert Laughter and Robert Laughter.

The Garrison of Arizona National Guard from Camp Navajo, Bellemont, Ariz., with the Hatathlie family from Coalmine Canyon, Ariz., dedicated commemoration of Veterans Day at the pavilion in Tuba City.

Many U.S. Armed Forces veterans came to the veteran commemoration, a special appreciation to the Camp Navajo National Guard honor guard drill team for demonstrating and explaining the meaning of the flag folding ceremony.

The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.

The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life.

The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our military ranks who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain a peace throughout the world.

The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in Almighty Creator, it is Him we turn to in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

The fifth fold is a tribute to our dealing with other countries.

The sixth fold is for where our emotional hearts lie.

It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they to be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered in to the valley of the shadow of death that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mothers, for whom it flies on Mother's Day.

The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty, and devotion that the characters of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.

The tenth fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.

Camp Navajo National Guard lieutenant thanked all the veterans for their military services.

He and the veteran ceremonial host, U.S. Army SP4 Dennis L.

Bedonie Sr., expressed the flag folding ceremony represents the same belief principles on which our country was originally founded.

Edward J. Little Sr.
Tuba City, Ariz.

Prepare for ongoing drought

In 2012, two-thirds of the continental United States was affected by drought.

The losses were staggering: $30 billion to agriculture alone and far more when you add the damages to water supplies, tourism, transportation, and near-shore fisheries.

Fighting drought-related wildfires tacked on another $1 billion.

"Last year, the worst drought in generations devastated farms and ranches across the nation," USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said earlier this fall.

"But our work isn't done and we can always better prepare for the future." Drought will likely be an issue for the foreseeable future.

A recent article in Scientific American magazine, for example, pointed out the similarities between conditions in the American Southwest and those in Australia before that country's devastating 10-year millennial drought.

In response to requests from communities, businesses, farmers, and ranchers around the country, the federal government a few weeks ago announced the National Drought Resilience Partnership.

It's an effort to streamline access to federal agency drought recovery resources and provide information about conditions, among other tasks.

But there is much that local governments, non-profits, and community water-based organizations can do to prepare for, mitigate, and recover from the effects of drought.

With that in mind the National Center for Appropriate Technology is developing the Drought Relief Corps, a program designed to apply the energy of the nation's youth to the issue.

Similar to the AmeriCorps programs FoodCorps and EnergyCorps that NCAT has developed and managed for years, DRC will match well-qualified members with host organizations.

Together, the host organizations and DRC members will design and carry out drought plans tailored for the area, with support and training from NCAT.

You can help your community prepare.

For more information about DRC and becoming a partnering organization, go online at or call Carl Little at 406-494-4572.

Carl Little
Sustainable Agriculture Programs Manager
National Center for Appropriate Technology
Butte, Mont.

Drinking does not solve problems

This is intended for the drinkers that insist on placing themselves on law enforcement's radar every time that they drink and purposely drink until their faces are in the dirt.

Innocent people continue to die at the hands of drunk drivers and law enforcement officers attempting to keep the peace are shot and killed by drunks loaded to the max on the alcohol that we refuse to ban.

Prominent, otherwise intelligent, educated, and brilliant people make the wrong choice in solving a problem that would have been handled differently had they been sober.

Our young people kill other young people while under the influence of a mind-bending drug that we are responsible for providing to them.

They do not keep alcohol legal we do that.

If those of us that have the ability to ban alcohol are not moved one iota, by the above needless, senseless, preventable tragedies that affect us all, there is zero chance that the plight of the eternally exploited, the homeless, the disenfranchised, those that drink this addicting, legal alcohol until their faces are in the dirt, will move us to ban alcohol.

The micro-manager of the city and Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital feigns concern by asking for suggestions in solving this mysterious, age old alcohol problem.

Not one responder suggested the banning of alcohol.

To the detriment of us all, Gallup prefers the eternal blood transfusions to the stopping of the bleeding.

I am just one imperfect human attempting to help other imperfect humans.

I want to help stop this senseless self-destruction.

They are stronger than the addiction.

They need to stop drinking now! They cannot depend on alcohol to solve their problems.

The problem does not exist on this earth that cannot be made worse by drinking alcohol.

Louis Maldonado
Gallup, N.M.

Horse problem needs careful management

Horse problem or is it the owner's neglect? Then it's the question of who supposedly is the owner and responsible for these wild horses' welfare on the Navajo Nation? It is true, according to Diné legend, horse was part of our life's foundational safeguard.

Besides, it was their companion, especially during those days of frequent disorder and warfare.

And it was surely a highly admired and spiritual security believed in its use as a sacred animal usually chanted about in our Diné ceremonial rites.

And upon this legendary tale by way of prayers and songs were and are still used today in our traditional ceremonies on the Navajo Nation.

So, this folklore about how a well-cared-for horse became a symbol of not only endurance but as a mystic object of Diné customary rituals.

It has been up to just recently realized that it was amplified as a means of transportation aside from walking to distant places.

Yet, our modern technology has greatly changed the circumstances in the present machine versus the old horse's likable habitat.

Now, we have many ideas as to what we could do with this fine animal friend who is a celebrity to us all.

Instead of letting these valuable friends roam without proper owner and care, but still understand its value, let's manage them better.

A question then arises as to what we as Diné have done to enhance in cherishing this stereotyped legendary symbol.

There needs to be an ongoing leadership in preserving our species, including sheep, cattle, dogs, and cats.

Instead of looking around and in awe amazed if our leaders should be able to come together to deal with these issues.

In other words, a more mindful planning is needed to care for our land and other natural resources.

History should teach us that if we don't act someone else may exercise that primary responsibility that is vested in our nation by our Treaty of 1868 with the government few decades ago.

However, some say slaughter, others say roundup and haul them away which might be an answer but a more reasonable thought of educating our people from school age to adult is recommended perhaps.

In the meantime our children watch us parents, grandparents, laymen, and as tribal leaders.

Maybe we as Diné who still enjoy speaking our language should stand up to address these issues in a more demonstrative fashion.

It could be done in a classroom, a chapter meeting, or even in a town hall setting on a regular basis instead of indifference to the fact of the issue.

It looks as if we hear daily of being a proud "nation," but we still resort to others like federal, states and at times the bystander.

Thus, our valuable resources in addition to this concern should not be lightly taken or ignored.

This goes for our land preservation, water, social needs and community education.

There is a great need for more caring and finest individuals to help in leading our "homeland" ahead.

Everyone who goes down Navajo routes more often glimpse at these feral and domesticated horses enter the road right-of-ways.

It is heartbreaking to see these animals yearning for fresh grass trying to nibble on vegetation and is liable to cause prohibited accidents, especially at night.

This should cause us to respond to a corrective action as Diné citizens and leaders for the safety of innocent travelers.

Our reaction should be an immediate response to the problem but why should we just ignore the real situation? It is unlikely a true Diné aptitude.

This kind of neglect is almost never seen off the Navajo Reservation, it should show and boost our point of view more.

So, often we might wonder how this could be controlled by our local and dependable tribal program officials.

It is a distraction to see such in spite of our beautiful scenery on the land we say is where we "walk in beauty." Taking appropriate action is surely different but it must be done without ignorance on our part as Diné Nation through hopefully the leadership of our leaders.

A possibility is in the cooling air for a positive vision in laying the groundwork by means of effectively preparing at our local communities on throughout our reservation-wide.

This possible change in our landscape could help begin to resolve some of our local problems.

Much of these things, I'm sure, can be said but in this short space here it may be sufficient to digest.

Adolph June Jr.
Kaibeto, Ariz.

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