Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Wed, May 27

Letter to the editor: Why can’t the Black Falls watering point be fixed?

To the editor:

Sometimes you observe things percolate to the point where you can’t just sit by.

Recently my cousin was approached by a person while getting water at an Arizona engineering water point. She hinted to him that he wasn’t supposed to get water there at their well.

So, now he’s driving over 30 miles instead of 10 miles one way.

Our former water point that we’ve used for years had gone down in September of last year and has not been repaired since. Despite numerous calls to Tolani Lake Chapter House (near Leupp) — at the beginning, those calls were answered with some form of hope — but now, we’re told, “It’s NTUA’s (Navajo Tribal Utility Authority) problem.” And when NTUA was notified, we were told, “We’ll send someone out.” But now they just refer it to someone else who either ignores their phone or changes the number altogether.

We are in Blackfalls, which was named by the Mormon pioneers who traveled their ‘Honeymoon Trail’ in the 1800s and are butted up to Wupatki National Monument with the Little Colorado River dividing us.

We have been shackled by the infamous Bennett Freeze in so much that we are ‘Freezer Burnt,’ only to awaken in a modern world.

We have watched the progress of the infrastructure of other areas around us with paved roads, electricity, piped water and bridges, some of which had our name badged to it, so I hear.

When the river runs high, it forces us to go around Leupp or Cameron, but the road to Cameron is very rough and muds makes it impassable with even an inch of rain. Leupp is better now that there’s a bridge over Dinebeto Wash, both add 30 miles of extra travel.

Our situation was dire enough to get the attention of the Monestersky sisters when they raised awareness that our wells were contaminated with radiation from all the reckless searching and mining of uranium was conducted.

We had cisterns installed with the promise that we only refill them with regulated water from a suitable source. Now that source has been down over a year because of whatever it is that is hindering such a simple matter that a giant like NTUA is choking on.

Our District 3 brand inspector has his hands bound by regulations and distance to Window Rock to plead our case. I’m simply asking WHY?

Benson Willie

Black Falls, Arizona

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