Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Fri, Sept. 18

Letter to the editor: Issues on the Nation need more than reactive action

To the editor:

One thing this environmental disaster in the Animas River illustrated all too clearly is that it is time for a change of policy in the current administration and the council. It should not take more horrible accidents for us to address problems that we know currently exist.

It doesn't take a long drive around the Nation to see that there are infrastructural issues in dire need of repair, communities that aren't safe and other threats to the safety of Navajo communities that need to be addressed before more devestation is caused by neglect and inaction - in other words, the succession of reactive leaders we've had to date have shown that we do not have the foresight to move the Navajo Nation forward.

More to the point, as I talk with other Navajo voters, most agree we have not seen anything from President Begaye or Vice President Nez that might provide a clue that they're different and they might just possess proactive leadership qualities we need at this point in our history. No vision equals no leadership. Leaders satisfied with the status quo, or who tend to be more concerned about survival than growth won't do well in the long run. The best leaders are focused on leading change and innovation to keep their organizations fresh, dynamic and growing. Bottom line, leaders who build a static business doom themselves to failure.

When I heard our leaders communicating with the families in Aneth regarding the devestation of youth suicides, they both ended up suggesting to the community they needed to live a certain way or accept that we live in hard times and they needed to adjust their lifestyles accordingly.

Mr. President and Mr. Vice President, I believe people wanted to hear what you're doing in Window Rock to address the suicides and related youth issues, like creating meaningful jobs, increasing tribal revenues and improving tribal government services. This would have been a great opportunity to spell out your vision (which we have no idea what that is) for addressing these and other major Navajo people issues you were elected to work on.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that you need resources, highly trained people and a more forward looking tribal governement services to directly attack these problems - and yet you suggest to people "change your lifestyles."

When are we going to see an example of some quality strategic planning that you are up to the job, so far it is business as usual and more reactive type responses that force you into an emergency mode all of the time.

Moving from reacting to behaving proactively requires that you let go of the notion that you are only valuable if you're in problem-solving crisis mode at all times. Am I expecting too much? Maybe this is not part of your training. If that is the case, get the training and do some real planning.

Wallace Hanley

Window Rock, Arizona

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