Feb 2, 2018

Chief Justice Jayne

Congratulations Joann Jayne for being hired as the Chief Justice of the Navajo Nation.  We look forward to some great guidance from you.  Ya'a't'eeh.

Jan 10, 2018

Navajo Times CEO cited for DUI

Navajo Times CEO Tom Arviso Jr. was cited for DUI in Gallup this past weekend.  The newspaper's board placed him on administrative leave.  He says he was sorry for the incident.  He adds to the list of DUIs of Navajos.  As a company that started out as a Navajo enterprise, it makes the current enterprises look bad and he needs to be held to that higher standard. I have heard people say that as the CEO of the largest tribe's newspaper, he needs to resign. Alcohol is a very powerful force.  We need to acknowledge its power.  Until we do that, we cannot move forward.  Yadilah!

Jan 6, 2018

Water over territory

Lately, there have been bickering on the Navajo Times letter to editor about the purchase of land at Colorado and the need for water on the Navajo reserve.  This is a hard issue.  We need the water.  But the territory is also important.  I'm glad to hear this as the issue though.  Here is a good article of the Navajo water crisis.  It was interesting how the writing acknowledges that the Navajo reservation is a desert and arid, and much of the available water has been ruined due to energy development such as uranium, coal, and gas.  Currently, gas is booming with fracking.  Much of the water is contaminated and our young educated Navajo professionals are bringing awareness of how bad the situation is in Sanders, Crownpoint, Kayenta, and Tuba City. These are major Navajo communities.  With contaminated water comes early death by cancer, failed kidney, and breathing issues.  Dahoochxo'.  There was a good comment about how the current American administration is allowing the fracking boom to overrun the area which is a violation of the Navajo-US treaty.  This is a violation of international law.  As one judge stated, "Great Nations, like great men, keep their word."  What kind of Nation does that make the US?  A pinch of reality.

Jan 5, 2018

Congratulations Council Delegate Crotty

Amber Crotty made the Navajo Times Person of the Year for 2017.  Good job.  Nizhoni.   I would give it to her too for trying to raise public awareness of the sexual assault and discrimination issue in the Navajo government and reservation.  This is a very hard subject to tackle and Ms. Crotty bravely led that effort.  If only the rest of our Council would get on board it would be good.  (article)

Happy New Year 2018!

Happy New Year 2018!

Here is a Blast from the Past on the Modern Traditional Navajo.  This is a picture of the Todineeshee Singers who remind us of what our Dine Hastoi looked like.

Nabaahii Dine'e.

They were lean, mean, fighting machines with quivers, bows, and war hats.  These guys are wearing blankets over the shoulder like the traditional Hopi warriors who wore buckskins over their shoulders to cover their hearts from Dine arrows. 

Nov 16, 2017

Language in quick decline

No it's not happening.  Yes it is.  The Navajo Times reports the Navajo language is in decline.  ("Data shows huge reduction in Diné speakers")  The article predicts that in 3 years, we will be at 30% speakers, mostly consisting of the older generations (over 40). I wonder "how it will be in 2050?".  2070?  That has always been the American dream. 

Nov 14, 2017

Drunk driving legislation

Council Delegate Nelson Begaye is taking aim at alcoholism on the Navajo reservation. ("Committee seeks to strengthen laws against drunk driving and bootlegging") He seeks to introduce legislation which imposes stiffer penalties on drunk driving and bootleggers.

There have been a series of alcohol-related accidents on the Navajo reservation recently. Most recent, a young teenager from Kayenta was struck by a drunk driver. We also cannot forget about the Kayenta police officer that was killed in Flagstaff as a result of drunk driving, or the police officer that killed a white man in Phoenix due to drunk driving.

Yes, our people are struggling with alcoholism.

I thought taking aim at the bootleggers was an interesting move. Who are these bootleggers? Targeting their right to remain on the Rez and banishing them is an interesting idea.

What about those that serve liquor at the casinos. Shouldn't they be at fault too?

What about the habitual public intoxication arrestees?

Sometimes it seems like all the people in the remote Navajo reservation areas do is drink and get drunk. They are constantly drinking. Most of our Navajo men, particularly, have lost the will to live and just drink on the Rez. What kind of life is that, to appear to have no responsibilities and to escape reality into a numbing stupor? Who perpetuates their behavior? Themselves? Their parents? The border towns? Cindy Mccain? The People of the dark side? The federal government? Who?

To keep the status quo seems unacceptable. To put the drinkers in jail also does not seem right because incarceration makes them dependent on the tribe for food and lodging and escaping responsibilities for themselves and their families. How can we make our people good responsible citizens of the Dine Nation? Do the drinkers themselves want to be good responsible citizens? Or are they too lazy? Or hurting too much? Are they out of control? Are the reservation people out of control?

Here's a question: Does living on the reservation enable drinking because reservation Navajos don't need to work? One major reason Navajos drink is that they have nothing to do. There is no need to work because there is no requirement to pay expenses that urban Navajos pay, such as land expenses (property taxes, mortgage, rent, garbage fees, city expenses, etc.). There is no need to get a job because unemployment is high on the reservation. The people need something to do. The federal government has a lot to do with tying up the Rez economy.

Well these are some of my thoughts. I hope it stimulates thinking about this important discussion. I hope we get more discussion.

Bravo to Delegate Begaye.

Sep 13, 2017

Miss Navajo crowned 2017-2018

Congratulations to Crystal Littleben. She was crowned as the new Miss Navajo 2017-2018. We hope to hear great things from her. (here) I heard that the frybread making contest has been eliminated from the competition for Miss Navajo because frybread is a symbol of colonization. Not to be a downer, but isn't the whole Miss Navajo contest also rooted in colonization? We just don't go as far as having a swimsuit competition. How much do we eliminate in the name of de-colonization?

Apr 8, 2017

Branch Leaders need to visit Relocated Families about NGS Closure

I heard about the Navajo President and the Navajo Speaker visiting with the Peabody workers who are about to lose their jobs due to the Navajo Generating Station closure. President Begay is asking for federal support to keep NGS open a few more years. President Begay and Speaker Bates need to look at the broader issue. They are only looking at one side, the Peabody workers' side. How about visiting the families who lost their lands to the Navajo-Hopi land dispute? How about talking to McCain about that? Or Navajo-Hopi Land Office Attorney Lawrence Ruzow (who happens to be the Navajo Nation Bar Association President and chums with the third branch leader Acting Chief Justice Allen Sloan)? Don't those relocated families have a say in the NGS? Peabody is the reason these families were removed. Thousands of acres of land lost. A lot of those lands are just vacant today. And the Navajo-Hopi Land Office is closing soon. I think Percy Deal stated in the Gallup Independent that no politician has come to his community of Big Mountain about NGS-Peabody's impact on families and environment in his community. I agree. It just seems like President Begay and Speaker Bates just support the expensive clothing worn, and big pick-up trucks driven by the relatively few Peabody workers and their families. That's not right. They need to look at this issue more comprehensively, and considering history.

Apr 2, 2017

Brown-Almaweri a role model for Navajo leaders

There is this article, "Student hopes to teach others about their cultural identity". The article discusses how one student, Baahh Nazoshnii Brown-Almaweri, tries to promote Navajo language and culture. She got a $10,000 grant for an afterschool program in Ganado for teenagers to learn about "healthy eating habits, positive body image, and Mother Earth and living traditions." A key goal for the program is retaining cultural identity. Where it gets interesting is when the article describes the Navajo Indian reservation,

"It's also a place where many have been stripped of their cultural identity because of forced assimilation by state-runned public schools."

The article acknowledges the forced assimilation of Navajos. Further, in light of the present race climate surrounding Native Americans in America, this article courageously and plainly acknowledges this country's hatred for Navajo culture. We see this racism today in our state education policies where our state school curriculum (Structured English Immersion in Arizona) is designed to make English speakers out of Navajos. In the process, our divine right to "the fundamental values and principles of Diné Life Way" and "the right and freedom of the Diné to be educated as to Diné Bi beenahaz'áanii," as described in the Navajo Fundamental Law, is being diminished. Ms. Brown-Almaweri is trying to do something about this problem. I wish our leadership would do the same and put more effort into addressing this issue. This would require a courageous leader.
Baahh-Nazoshnnii Brown-Almaweri ’17 is familiar with the myriad issues facing young people of the Navajo Nation. - See more at: https://www.union.edu/news/stories/2017/03/from-navajo-nation-to-union-student-hopes-to-teach-others-about-their-cultural-identity.php#sthash.bgUYhCTR.dpuf
We sIt’s a a place where many have been stripped of their cultural identity because of forced assimilation by state-run public schools - See more at: https://www.union.edu/news/stories/2017/03/from-navajo-nation-to-union-student-hopes-to-teach-others-about-their-cultural-identity.php#sthash.bgUYhCT
It’s also a place where many have been stripped of their cultural identity because of forced assimilation by state-run public schools. - See more at: https://www.union.edu/news/stories/2017/03/from-navajo-nation-to-union-student-hopes-to-teach-others-about-their-cultural-identity.php#sthash.bgUYhCTR.dpuf
It’s also a place where many have been stripped of their cultural identity because of forced assimilation by state-run public schools. - See more at: https://www.union.edu/news/stories/2017/03/from-navajo-nation-to-union-student-hopes-to-teach-others-about-their-cultural-identity.php#sthash.bgUYhCTR.dpuf
It’s also a place where many have been stripped of their cultural identity because of forced assimilation by state-run public schools. - See more at: https://www.union.edu/news/stories/2017/03/from-navajo-nation-to-union-student-hopes-to-teach-others-about-their-cultural-identity.php#sthash.bgUYhCTR.dpuf
It’s also a place where many have been stripped of their cultural identity because of forced assimilation by state-run public schools. - See more at: https://www.union.edu/news/stories/2017/03/from-navajo-nation-to-union-student-hopes-to-teach-others-about-their-cultural-identity.php#sthash.bgUYhC". 

NT Letter attacks Tlo'chi'in News - raises Lack of Education among our Dine

There was this NT letter to the editor "The dangers of Jini news", that was worth mentioning. Melvin Tso complains about Tl'oh Chin news spreading false news, despite the site's disclaimer, "Tlo'chi'iin News is fake and satirical news." He compares the online site to Ma'ii who spreads the fake word. He pleads to the Navajo leadership to do something about this fake.

I disagree with Tso. Tso's letter illustrates a big Navajo issue - the lack of western education among our Dine. Today, many of us Dine need western education to function in this society. Many Dine do not know that Navajo society is in the process of assimilating and is quickly transforming into a brown version of American society. In the process, we try to be as assimilated as possible, but some of us don't have the education to back us up. In this situation, Melvin Tso may have learned to read and write English, but it seems like he has not been educated of the different forms of English writing. One form of writing is called "satire" or "satirical writing". Some of the early satirical writers were European Victorian cartoonist. Today, our Navajo society is assimilating into American society, so we have Jack Ahasteen being the modern European Satirist, the Navajo version. Satire does not focus on factual accuracy which is the aim for general news. The satire provides a means to communicate perspectives that may otherwise be difficult to publish as regular news. Tl'oh Chin provides different perspectives about difficult issues that might be difficult to publish, such as accusing Senator McCain of Navajo witchcraft "Poll: 95% of Navajos are Sure this Photo shows that McCain is a Skinwalker". I find it thought-provoking. Therefore, I don't agree with Melvin Tso. Our People need more perspectives, more discussions on some of these difficult topics, more western education about topics such as European history and American Indian studies, and more Navajo education on topics such as the Navajo Fundamental Law.

Mar 27, 2017

Washiindoon bana'anish

Dii jih eiya t'aala' jih nida'anish. Ya'at'eehgo ninaadashiilnish. Dine biwashiindoon bana'anishgo ya'at'eeh. Eibik'ehgo eiya dii Tribal Employee wolye. Tribe ya nidaalnish. Dikwii sha' tribe banidaalnish?

Mar 25, 2017

Clans before Plans

The Dark side of the Navajo universe disregards clans. That's why I like Moonie's saying, "Clans before plans". As we go further and further on, less and less people are encouraging clanship. The Dine rule is that you are not suppose to date or marry your own mother, father, son or daughter.

Bravo to Moonie for encouraging the good Navajo culture! Nizhoni!

Pondering a dangerous reservation and a Navajo Police Officer's death

Our own people are killing us. Our own people have become Nayee'. How many of our reservation men are like Kirby Cleveland? He is accused of having beaten a woman with a bat. He served two years in federal prison for that. Then just last week, he was drinking and took a gun and killed Officer Largo of Crownpoint Police Department. Check out the official complaint. (here) How many more Kirby Clevelands roam the rez? The rez has become a dangerous place. If we accept as normal the rez as a dangerous place, then what does that make us? Are we desensitized? Are we the Nayee' for normalizing this dangerous environment?

Mar 18, 2017

We voted for the Navajo President

I don't like the disrespectful treatment of our Navajo President by some Navajo Council delegates who seem to think they are more powerful than the President. Some Delegates have started to bluntly disrespect the Navajo President.

We need to keep in mind some things.

An act against one is an act against all - Anyone who disrespects the Navajo President also disrespects the Navajo People who voted him in.

Unlike the Navajo President, the majority of the entire Navajo voting population (110 chapters) did not vote in any individual Council delegate. The individual delegates merely represent, at most, a handful of chapters. Therefore, any one individual Council delegate cannot be more powerful than the President. It is embarrassing to hear disputes about who represents the Navajo Nation to the outside world.

We must remember these principles anytime Council members start belittling the President.

If the Navajo Nation Council continue to disregard basic rules of respect, then maybe we need to start considering a referendum to abolish the Speaker's position and put the Council back under the President's control, as it used to be in the days of the Chairmanship. The current structure does not seem to be working because the President has no real power to implement the promises he made to the People during campaign season. Anytime the President tries to implement ideas, the Navajo Nation Council just laughs at the Navajo Nation President.

Lessons from DAPL #2

Lesson number 2 from the Dakota Access Pipe Line controversy: In America, it is all about classes - Upper class versus middle and lower classes. For the upper class, profit (a sugarcoat for greed) outweighs middle and lower class American health, safety, and welfare.

Mar 11, 2017

Navajo Generating Station to close

Navajo Generating Station is scheduled to close in 2019. (here) Two big questions:

About 50-60% of Navajo Nation revenues comes from mineral royalties from Peabody-NGS. Is the Navajo Nation ready for this loss in revenues? Is there going to be a massive tribal employee layoff just to keep the Nation in operation?

The Navajo Hopi Land Settlement Act of 1974 was passed by the Federal Government to remove thousands of Navajo families from the Navajo-Hopi Joint Use Area so the corporate interest (Peabody) could mine the coal. Now that there is no longer a need to mine coal, are the removed Navajos going to get their ancestral lands back? Will we migrate back to nihi chei bikeiya by the masses and reclaim our land back?

Bravo to economics!

Navajo Seal Creator passes

 Hastiin Dine biwashiindoon bik'ih ashchiigo ayiilaayeega' ei aden jini. Bijei biishxi jini. Hastadiin naahai yeedaa' na'azhch'aa'go ayiilaa nit'ee' jini. Yaah. Akwii.

Woozhch'iid biyazhi

Ya'at'eeh. Dii ei k'ad Wozch'iidji' anaahoolzhiizh. Akoo keiya bikaa'go nidahootsooh. Ch'il haadaanse'. Yas Dine'e anahakaah. Nizhonigoshiih atsa nidahaazhchiigo anaadadees'niid.

Feb 22, 2017

Lessons from DAPL #1

Lesson number 1 from the Dakota Access Pipe Line controversy: The Federal Government is the financial institutions, who are the energy companies, who are the media.