Believes in publicly chastising the press

In your week’s vacation-Piestewa column, you stated that an “aggressive reporter ignoring a barrier is simply not news.” I completely disagree with this. It’s time for [members of] the media to be held accountable for their actions. The media anymore is shameful in its lack of morals and lack of compassion for others, all in the name of freedom of speech.

We readers have the right to know just who ignored the barrier so that we can voice disapproval to the management. The reporter who crossed that line is the one ultimately responsible for “detracting from the real tragedy of the story.” The way a grieving family is treated is not an “inconsequential event.”

It’s the public’s right to know is a cop-out used anymore as an excuse for despicable behavior when money is the real issue—get the inside scoop and sell more copies. I wonder how reporters and CEOs would like cameras and microphones shoved in their faces if their own loved ones were in a gruesome car wreck or their own homes burned to the ground. Whoever got to you with their whining about Rosanda’s article those people are responsible for creating the animosity. The reporter who crossed the boundary showed a lack of manners and lack of respect for the Piestewa family. That person deserves the public chastisement. The reporter and his or her employer deserve the reprimand.

Susan Cureton

Williams, Ariz.

Conveying deepest sympathy to TC

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This letter addressed to the family of Pfc. Lori Ann Piestewa was individually signed by 25 elementary school students.)

We are fourth-grade students at Keystone Heights Elementary School in Keystone Heights, Fla. We know that our country is at war, and that thousands of American and other men and women are risking their lives to keep us safe. And we are grateful for that.

More importantly, we know that you have lost someone close to you because of this war. For this, we are very sad and very sorry. We will be thinking of you and praying for you every day. God bless you and God Bless America.

Len Young and Dee Strassbergers’s Fourth Grade Class

Keystone Heights

Elementary School

Keystone Heights, Fla.

Lori Piestewa, one of First Americans

We all accrue debts while living our lives. We enter into agreements. We give our word. We often have to pay for the debts we incur.

What happens when the debt cannot be paid—when the service and sacrifice rendered to us has been so valuable that there is nothing that can repay what’s owed?

The only thing I can do to partially pay my debt to Pfc. Lori Piestewa, Hopi-Navajo, American Soldier, is to live out my remaining days trying to be as good an American as she was. I don’t think I’ll succeed, but for every day that I try I will do service to her memory and to her American Spirit.

May God’s blessings be upon her, her family, her friend, and those whom she loved most, her children. Thank you for your friend, your daughter, your sister, your mother. Her service to her nation was priceless.

Bill Hamblin

Smithville, Tenn.

Balance key to contemporary life

I doubt if any amount of money can erase the shameful treatment of Native American Indians, but we can hope that your subculture’s transition to living with us whites can be less painful. I myself have found that being of French Canadian heritage was, at times, difficult while living in New England.

Maintaining tribal beliefs and living in today’s America isn’t easy, but we can all try to balance both.

Paul Hamel

Lakeland, Fla.

Her death recalls long ago visit

Private First Class Lori Ann Piestewa’s death hit me hard. It was odd that reading her name in the list of casualties had such an impact, bringing to mind immediately a conversation from July 1969.

After I read the list of names of the dead from her unit, and saw that Pfc. Piestewa was from Tuba City, I looked up across the breakfast table and said to my wife, “One of the soldiers killed was a woman from Tuba City. I’m sure she was Hopi. They’re gentle people, and that is so sad.”

I then reminded her of an event from a trip I made around the country in the summer of 1969. A friend and I were driving near the Hopis’ three mesas and offered a ride to farmer on his way home. He accepted, and, after guiding us to Oraibi, he arranged for us to visit the town. On the condition we did not bring our cameras, and we complied.

The highlight of that visit was a long talk with a man who looked old to us at 22. Wiry and muscular, he had been working shirtless in the village ceremonial room, which he called a kiva. He talked about his village and its history. But the comment he made that landed fresh in my memory was this:

“We have to leave the mesa to get water from down below. We carry it up in 55-gallon drums. The government has told us it will build a waterline, but we know that when the government gives us something, it takes back more.” Pfc. Piestewa. The government gave her something—training, good living conditions, opportunity. But it took back something more.

God bless her

Tom Knutsen

Austin, Texas


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