Letter: Navajo leaders should stand up for the truth

To the editor:

There is a need for Navajo voters to pay closer attention to the leader(s) we hope to see in the upcoming election. If we allow vultures and jackals to dominate, we will not advance in any way. We must choose our leaders wisely and only people who are known for their honesty, ability, dedication and concern for the welfare of all Navajo people should ascend to leadership positions.

What Navajo people are seeking is genuine democracy in which leaders are servants of the electorate ad not its masters. We will only move forward when we have skillful, honest and humble leaders who see elected office as a vocation to serve the people. No one deserves to be a leader unless they care about the people more than themselves.

Dineh Nation government should be a venue for promoting justice, peace, development and nation-building. We should look for leaders who see a need for building up communities for the common good, not just for themselves. Participation in the political life of our Dineh Nation should be guided by noble values and sentiments and not by vanity and greed as has been the case too often.

If we are to move forward, an honest and hardworking political leadership has to be constructed. We need leaders that will make responsible use of any money available to the Navajo people; leaders who truly understand that economic growth depends, in the first place, on social progress. Otherwise, our goals for self-determination and sovereignty are just fantasies.

We need leaders who detest corruption and abhor stealing of Navajo resources. In my mind, the three most decisive factors affecting the future of the Dineh Nation are education, economic development and political leadership. Economic development makes sovereignty possible; politcal leadership makes it real; and education builds an infrastructure.

Stealing and wasting Navajo funds in order to erich [one's] self will only continue to set the nation further behind. Sound familiar? Political leadership is about service to the community; it should not be about self aggrandizement.

Their duty should be to hold themselves responsible to the Navajo voters. Every word, every act and every policy must conform to the people's interest, and if mistakes occur, they must be corrected - that is what being responsible to the people means.

There is a big struggle to get our people out of poverty, undereducation and disease. This is not a small struggle; it is a very big and complex one. And wherever there is struggle, there has to be sacrifice. Our political leaders should have the interests of the people and the sufferings of the great majority at heart, and every sacrifice made on this level is worth it.

At no time and in no circumstances should a leader place his/her personal interest first. What we're witnessing at Dineh College and elsewhere where there are concerns and complaints about self-interest and lack of concern for people's views are at the root of these conflicts. Sadly, this is a microcosm of what we've been experiencing from too many of our elected leaders.

Our elected leaders myst be ready at all times to stand up for the truth, because truth is in the interests of the people; our leaders must be ready at all times to correct their mistakes because mistakes are against the interests of the people. Our leaders should set an example in being practical as well as far-sighted. For only by being practical can they fulfill the appointed tasks, and only far-sightedness can prevent them from losing their connection to the Navajo Peoples' needs.

Wallace Hanley

Window Rock, Ariz.

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