Let's hold our leaders accountable in 2008

To the editor:

New Year's is a time when people make resolutions. It is a time we look back at 2007 and think about what we want to see happen in 2008.

In 2007 we witnessed the rise of the grassroots to oppose initiatives by Navajo Nation politicians that seek to destroy our people, our land, our resources and our rights by Forgotten People, Dooda Desert Rock, C-Aquifer and Ha' da' a' Sidi.

In 2007 when politicians approved Desert Rock coal-fired power plant, Dooda Desert Rock set up a resistance camp and will not give up until they win.

In 2007 when politicians approved a $100 million line of credit from JP Morgan Chase, Ha' da' a' Sidi (The Vigilant Ones) composed of former Navajo Nation leaders, Forgotten People and Dooda Desert Rock filed a notice of intent to sue to oppose a predatory loan to build casinos that was negotiated under a false cover of economic development.

In 2007 when a generic environmental impact statement was introduced to justify renewed uranium mining, The Forgotten People responded by telling the regulatory agencies to clean up over 1,000 un-reclaimed sites and provide people with safe drinking water for domestic and livestock use.

In 2007 when politicians approved a Navajo-Hopi Intergovernmental Compact in secrecy, The Forgotten People preserved the right of access to court for everyone connected to the Navajo Hopi Land Dispute and won the right to sue the president and oppose policy decisions.

In 2007 when the Bennett Freeze was lifted no money was allocated for rehabilitation. The homeless and disabled are still living in overcrowded, unsanitary, unsafe shacks and are freezing to death.

That is why The Forgotten People are working to track down collected fee money that the Compact says will be divided between the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe.

That is why The Forgotten People formed a Community Development Corporation that is incorporated on the Navajo Nation and is focusing on housing.

That is why The Forgotten People is advocating to stop armed surveillance by Hopi Rangers who continue to harass and mistreat Dine'.

That is why The Forgotten People is advocating for people living in and around Peabody's mining permit area to get their share of the $600 million in back revenues.

In 2007 the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaiming people's right to resist relocation and receive compensable rights to our customary use areas.

Access to water became a legally enforceable right. So why are people in the HPL, Black Falls and throughout the Navajo Nation being denied access to safe drinking water? What role and responsibility does the local chapter government have to the Dine' people who vote, have census numbers and basic human rights? Why is there no government to protect them?

When will our leaders stand up with the people and oppose corporate forces that only seek to profit at the expense of the people? When will they rely on traditional Ke' fundamental law by becoming a leader in renewable energy instead of following U.S. governmental policy of giving corporate welfare to the fossil fuel industry?

It is up to us to make our leaders accountable to the grassroots and stop spending our money on trips to Las Vegas to see a rodeo, Hawaii and other exotic locations.

Billy Reese Kee

Chairman of the Board

Forgotten People

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