Letter to the editor: ‘No’ vote on referendum will send message

To the editor,

I will be voting an emphatic no for the upcoming referendum measure regarding the proposed expenditure of a portion of the Navajo Nation Permanent Trust Fund principal balance to support the Navajo Nation Council-inspired Transportation Stimulus Plan. This referendum will be voted on by Navajo citizens Oct. 24.

Why am I voting no? I will vote no because it is best to listen to grandma.

My grandma, bless her soul, passed on many years ago at the age of 100 plus years, and I remember her saying that in order for our herd of sheep to increase we must not kill and butcher the female sheep. Why? It is because the female sheep will bring more sheep to the herd when lambing season comes around. She was a very intelligent and prudent investor. Her long-term decision-making skills allowed us to always have enough fat sheep to consume when we became hungry for mutton, and, if we needed funds, then we had enough fat sheep to take to market. Unfortunately, some of our leaders are not good and thoughtful investors. They are not thinking of the future. They are not thinking of the grandchildren. They are not thinking like grandma.

These leaders want us to partially kill and butcher the principal (female sheep) of the Navajo Nation Permanent Trust Fund (herd) in the amount of approximately $216 million; rather than using the interest (lambs). As the 2018 election looms large, they want to use this money for a mere 20 miles of non-paved road improvements in each of the 24 regions that each council delegate represents for bridge and gravel development. If these gravel roads are built, then at the next hard rain storm, the roads will inevitably wash away. Is this good investment? Grandma would say this is a terrible investment idea.

Grandma would be upset if she heard that the female sheep (principal) of our herd (Permanent Trust Fund) was going to be partially killed and butchered before it became fat. She would say this was a morally inept and sacrilegious decision. She would question the motives of those making the decision to prematurely gut the most important part of the herd (principal), and therefore jeopardize the future of the family.

We will be committing the unthinkable if we vote yes on this referendum. The deadline to register to vote was Sept. 25. Let us all vote no and send a message to our leaders that we will not endanger our future Navajo generations!

I say leave the Navajo Nation Permanent Trust principal (female sheep) alone, let it get fat, and only use the interest (lambs). This is grandma’s way of investing for the future. This is the Navajo way of feeding our family with the produce of our own holding.

The Navajo Nation Permanent Trust Fund was established by thoughtful, honest and loving leaders in the 1980’s. They were thinking of our future. They were thinking of our grandchildren. They were making a morally competent and reverent decision when they created the Permanent Trust Fund because they want our children and their children to be well cared for in the future. We must make sure that our children and grandchildren are taken care of by voting no in October!

We must listen to grandma, and not our imprudent leaders.

Manley A. Begay, Jr.

Flagstaff, Arizona

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