<center>Letters to the Editor</center>
A government out of control
For legislative counsel Steve Boos and the Navajo Department of “Justice,” and also those at the highest levels of the Council, to apply the term “criminal abuse of office” to the Navajo Nation Board of Election Supervisors is one of the greatest ironies to which we Navajo People have ever been witness. The political arrogance of these six or so Anglo and Navajo men, who many Navajos across the reservation are now saying must be removed from their positions for abuse of power and conspiring against the best interests of the Navajo People, is practically beyond measure.
At chapter house meetings around the reservation, people are now more frequently claiming that,” This is an illegal government. It was not established by the Navajo People and has never been endorsed by us.” The fact of the matter is that this widespread declaration is correct.
Dr., David Wilkins is an author and a professor at the University of Arizona. He is also a member of the Lumbee Tribe and a Navajo in-law with enrolled Navajo children. Dr. Wilkins reports the following in the 2nd edition of his textbook on Navajo government, which was published in 1999 by Dine’ College.
“The Navajo Nation Code does not expressly derive its authority from the Navajo people, since they were not the ones who established the government. The real authority for Navajo Nation government still derives from the July 26, 1938, “Rules,” which provided for a governing body to consist of a chairman (now president), vice-chairman (now vice president), and seventy-four delegates (now eighty-eight) elected on a land management district basis. Once the election procedures were established, the Secretary of the Interior gave the council recognition as the governing body of the Navajo Tribe. And, as stated earlier, even in the Title II Amendments, the council merely declared itself to be the governing body, again without the direct authorization of the people.” Therefore, we obviously sill have only a colonial government.
Whereas the BIA used to be the agent of the colonizer, it is now several of our own lawyers who have formed a colonial “junta” with a few misled and self-serving councilmen. (A “junta,” pronounced “hoonta,” is a Spanish word defined in the dictionary as “a group of political intriguers” who take power (often illegitimately) after a coup. Our Navajo Nation junta of today, established and controlled by several Anglo lawyers, steadily took power after the removal of the McDonald administration just over lawyers, steadily took power after the removal of the McDonald administration just over 10 years ago. Coincidentally, according to recent newspaper reports, it was then that plans for a major assertion of our Navajo rights to the Colorado Rover were dropped.)
It is not up to someone else to correct things. Like others have said, it is “We the People’s” responsibility to take control of our lives, our future, and our government by exercising our rights to petition, our rights to sue, our rights to peacefully protest, and our rights to vote and thereby ultimately remove the cancer that is on our government.
Our first task is for us Navajos to take back our government. To begin this we must remove these several lawyers who are its main controllers.
Then we must vote out all the council members who have supported the lawyers, who have tried to cover up the NAPI scandal, who have sided against the full and aggressive pursuit of the Navajo People’s water rights, and who have supported the latest outrage of leveling criminal charges against the Board of Elections. People are now beginning to say that these politicians may have killed their political careers. Any of them who may have visions of running for President are now only hallucinating. The people have learned too much and are not going to stand for any more of the kinds of things that we see happening now in Window Rock.
Let us seek a new President of the Navajo Nation, and urge the council to select a Speaker, from among candidates who do the following things:
1. Appoint attorneys who represent true Navajo interests to the greatest extent possible.
2. Speak out against these lawyers’ Council puppets.
3. Acknowledge the full truth about the NAPI scandal and help institute the massive changes that are needed in management and farming practices from top to bottom.
4. Promote the immediate expansion of Navajo water rights claims to include the highest possible amounts from all possible sources at once.
5. Genuinely believe in the intelligence, wisdom, culture, and capabilities of the Navajo people.
6. Help institute the first Navajo Nation government to ever be legitimately authorized by the Navajo People.
7. Selflessly protect the rights and promote the best interests of the Navajo People to the greatest extent possible, even in the face of opposition from a few powerful and self-serving council delegates.
There are, to be sure, some very good council delegates out there who strongly believe in serving the People, but they need to be the dominant voice of the council.
Finally, we can add the names of the members of the Navajo Nation Board of Elections to the rapidly growing list of people who have bravely spoken out against the tyranny of the primary abusers in our government. Once again, those abusers are at least the several named lawyers and their several named Navajo puppets. To threaten the Board of Elections members with jail terms, fines, and restitution payments is the height of hypocrisy, especially when we consider that different members of the junta are, themselves, at least co-responsible for abuse of power, loss of millions of dollars of the Navajo People’s money through NAPI, loss of Peabody surface water payments in the many thousands of dollars, and loss of potential billions in water rights claims. These opportunists are all part of a politically invalid government and they are abusing their offices in a way that cheats and oppresses the Navajo People.
Forest Lake Chapter
Lula Mae Stago, Ed.D