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[l] at 10/12/19 7:40am

Navajo Times | Arlyssa Becenti
Ganado Fire District’s Marcarlo Roanhorse, administrative assistant, and Fire Chief Dewayne Woodie, standing at right, speak to the Law and Order and Health, Education and Human Services committees at Ganado High on Oct. 7.



When the previous Navajo Nation Council passed legislation to reallocate 17 percent of the sales tax to the Department of Fire and Rescue Services, it was with the notion that the money would help protect individuals and communities.

But during the Oct. 7 meeting of the Law and Order Committee at Ganado High School, Ganado Fire District officials said the Navajo Nation Fire Department isn’t exactly pulling its weight — so much so that the small district has to pick up the slack.

“We are going the extra mile to meet the needs of our customers and we are asking of the committee to recognize it and to see if the Navajo Nation (Fire Department) is willing to put their effort to provide this type of assistance for the customers for the Nation,” said Marcarlo Roanhorse, Ganado Fire District administrative assistant.

“We have to go out of our coverage area to assist Navajo Nation, which we don’t have an issue with,” he said. “But it is a concern when we leave our coverage area to provide coverage on Navajo Nation area.”

The Ganado Fire Department has two substations, in Steamboat and Klagetoh, and unlike the Navajo Nation’s, Ganado doesn’t receive any financial assistance from the Nation.

Its coverage area includes Klagetoh, Steamboat, Ganado, Cornfields and Kinlichee.

Roanhorse said 80 percent of its nearly $750,000 annual budget comes from taxes from three different sources, including El Paso Natural Gas and Salt River Project. The other 20 percent comes from county fire district taxes.

“We aren’t here to fight with the Nation,” said Roanhorse. “We are trying to work with them as one Nation. I know there’s leaders at the Navajo Nation who sees us as a threat and don’t want to work with us.”

In addition to community fire departments like Ganado’s, there are seven fire departments scattered throughout Navajo that are operated by the Nation, employing 18 full-time firefighters.

When the previous Council approved the 17-percent set-aside, it stipulated that a fund management plan would have to be approved by the Budget and Finance Committee.

LOC Chair Eugenia Charles-Newton wondered what had become of the $8 million allocated to fire and rescue from the recent fiscal year.

“Where is that money going?” asked Charles-Newton, adding that she was not aware Ganado’s fire department was not part of the Navajo Nation network.

“That’s our responsibility as delegates because we appropriate those monies, to ask where is that money going?” she said. “We receive complaints from the community … to me it seems those services aren’t being provided.”

In addition to providing fire and rescue services, the Ganado Fire District offers community training in CPR, first aid, fire safety and basic life support, said Roanhorse. They also assist wildland firefighters.

LOC member Vince James said he was thankful for his community’s fire district for “stepping up” and providing CPR training for the community, adding he’s not aware whether the Navajo Nation Fire Department is providing those classes for the Nation.

“I know you have individuals who come from Chinle, Sanders – that come all the way from Dilkon – to sit through your CPR training,” said James, “because it’s needed. Your concern of where the Nation is stepping in, that’s really interesting to hear.”

In a brief interview with the Times, Navajo Nation Fire Department Capt. John Williams said the department wasn’t notified or invited to this Law and Order meeting.

“They do whatever they’re doing,” said Williams about Ganado Fire District’s list of services.

He also added that some of the firefighters with Ganado Fire District were part of the Navajo Nation Fire Department Academy.

Williams said the tribal department has reached out to non-tribal fire districts, including Ganado, to establish a memorandum of agreement with them, but hasn’t received any response.

As for the $8 million, Williams said they are finally getting a new fleet of fire trucks and a lot of that money is going there. The trucks they are currently using are 12 years old, and by National Fire Protection Association standards a truck should only be used for 10 years.

But in some New Mexico fire stations operated by the Nation, some of the trucks are about 26 years old.

“Most of the money is being used to purchasing new and updated equipment per National Fire Protection Association standards,” said Williams. “The costs do increase with each new mandate NFPA requires. We need to better serve our Navajo people with new and updated, reliable equipment.”

LOC Vice chair Otto Tso, who was also a member of LOC when the reallocation legislation was passed, told Ganado Fire District that “it don’t hurt” to ask for help from the Navajo Nation, especially in the form of an MOA, or for some of the sales tax funds.

“There’s governmental entities, like yourself, that can come to the table and ask for your fair share based on the people that buy in this community,” said Tso.

“It’s time to bring in Kayenta Township, Oljato, Montezuma Creek … to amend sales tax to indicate the funding revenue should go to Ganado Fire District, Kayenta Township,” he said. “The Navajo Nation hasn’t contributed one cent there. People are contributing to that sales tax. You’re not getting the service you’re supposed to be provided.”

Williams said he’s fine with sharing the funds with Ganado and Kayenta, but if that were to happen then those fire districts would have to conform to the Navajo Nation Fire Department program.

“We follow policy and guidelines set by the Navajo Nation,” said Williams.

The post Ganado Fire District: Nation’s fire department not pulling its weight appeared first on Navajo Times.

[Category: News]

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[l] at 10/10/19 5:20pm


Another mine has released wastewater into the Animas River.

Both the New Mexico Environment Department and the San Juan County Office of Emergency Management reported today that they were notified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of a wastewater spill from the Silver Wing Mine in the area of Eureka Gulch, north of Silverton, Colorado, which occurred Wednesday afternoon.

According to the San Juan OEM, the spill was the result of a “burp” from the mine and is unrelated to either the Gold King Mine or the Bonita Peak Superfund site.

The source is 10 miles from the Animas River and the spill was expected to dilute by the time it reached Silverton. The spill was moving slowly and was expected to reach the San Juan River.

So far, “Data do not currently indicate any evidence of water quality impacts that could affect human health and the environment,” stated NMED in a press release, adding that the department will continue to monitor the situation.

Although the EPA has not issued a notice to close municipal drinking water supplies, the cities of Farmington and Aztec, New Mexico and the Lower Valley Water Users Association have shut off water intakes to municipal drinking water supplies “out of an abundance of caution.”

Neither the volume of the spill nor the contents of the water were known as of 4 p.m. Thursday. EPA officials were conducting tests to learn more.

Yolanda Barney, program manager for the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency’s Public Water Supply Program, said Thursday NNEPA is aware of spill and is still gathering information.

Sources in Durango, Colorado, reported Thursday the river appears normal.

In 2015, a breach in the abandoned Gold King Mine near Silverton released three million gallons of wastewater into the Animas, causing the river to run orange and closing irrigation canals on the Navajo Nation.

The post Another mine spills into Animas appeared first on Navajo Times.

[Category: News]

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[l] at 10/10/19 3:30am

The New Mexico Legislature took the opportunity to make history and vote on proposed legislation to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.

Democratic Gov.-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham supported the proposal to rename the state holiday on the second Monday in October. New Mexico is home to 23 sovereign indigenous nations. The state’s population is 10.9 percent Native American, according to 2018 estimates from the U.S. Census.

Numerous cities nationwide, including Albuquerque, have also moved to shift the October holiday’s focus from Columbus by passing resolutions and measures that instead called for celebrating indigenous cultures. It is very fitting that “Indigenous Peoples Day” be recognized, as much as the city of Gallup touts itself as the “Indian Capital of the World” adorned by the many contributions that Native Americans and Navajo individuals made, which can be seen everywhere from the exquisite artwork and murals to the land base that once was Navajo territory.

And then there were the contributions of the Navajo Code Talkers, who in World War II not only sacrificed their lives in service of the United States but used our language as a secret code that could not be broken by the Japanese and helped end the war with their surrender. Other tribes also contributed to the World War II codes that help win the war. On Sept. 27, 2016, the city of Gallup had passed a resolution/proclamation declaring the second Monday of October as “Indigenous Peoples Day” into perpetuity. McKinley County also approved resolution/proclamation designating the second Monday in October of each year as Indigenous Peoples Day.

To its credit, Gallup also has an Indigenous People’s Commission as an advisory board to advocate on behalf of the Native population in the city and it is well deserving of official support. The Commission has yet to endorse the resolution/proclamations. In preparation for the 500th anniversary of Native resistance to the European invasion of the Americas from 1492 to 1992, “Indigenous Peoples Day” first began in July 1990, when representatives from 120 Indian nations from every part of the Americas met in Quito, Ecuador, in the First Continental Conference (Encuentro), along with many human rights, peace, social justice, and environmental organizations to recognize 500 years of Native resistance against the continued colonization of our original homelands.

In the face of the deaths of millions of indigenous peoples through the rampant slaughter of innocents, war, famine, forced relocations, poverty and disease, there has been the celebration of life and the Native civilizations that promote the ideals of self-governance and tireless determination that are the framework of our nations.

On Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, join us as we celebrate the annual “Celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day” event that will take place from noon to 5 p.m. at the Gallup Cultural Center (201 E. Highway 66). Bring your signs, banners, drums, songs, and prayers. Remember, every day is Indigenous Peoples Day.

Mervyn Tilden
Church Rock, N.M.

Government reform takes leadership

I also would like to weigh in on the three-branch government (“Referendum on 3-branch government tabled,” Sept. 26, 2019) because of its importance. A referendum is not legally binding but a work in process until a completion is expected in the future. It can be introduced giving people a heads-up and should see a draft proposal by the Council delegates (our legislators) when positions are made clear to advance for public review and they weigh in on it with comments before it is finalized.

The ratification of the U.S. Constitution took years. The people have the final say by vote of approval or rejection. What I’m unclear about: The constitution wasn’t talked about, only the three-branch, which is a constitutional type government, Diné government, and lacking Diné bi bee haz’áanii (Navajos’ law), which goes on to say is stated in the Navajo Code. Maybe to back that up, the “Fundamental Law” is mentioned.

We are still operating on a quasi-status of a government, meaning “almost but not really” since the “chairmanship” days. Later in 1989, the Council obligated its people it represents to morally or legally do something as a trial to see if a three-branch would improve tribal government. However, we’ve been running on a morphed “tribal code system.” If that is what the people want or something better, then a constitution or a parliament-type government would be in order. The article exposed our tribal delegates loafing 30 years of stacking “tables” that’ll come crashing down one day. At least they are talking referendum – that’s a step. A referendum ordered can go two ways.

The Council delegates must refer any acts to the people for approval or rejection at a regular election. The issue is too major and sensitive to be rushed in a special election as there is always a historical low turnout. Amendments are already re-phrased or taken out and what is going in? Is it centralizing or de-centralizing? So you hear, “It is impossible that our delegates will ask, ‘Why are you holding us responsible?’ So let’s remove that.”

That statement blew my mind! Our Council delegates have been walking around lame, dragging their feet like they’re hurt, run over by misappropriation of funds, slapping criminal activities on the wrist, got kicked in the groin, not following policies, etc., and we allow them. The confidence just isn’t there when major issues are tabled, no quorum and no Council delegates attending our chapter meetings. Our tribal government is not at fault. If there is blame to be made, it’s our tribal delegates whom we voted in. Point the blame a little further and that’s us with a capital “U.”

Government reform was right there on presidential platforms – “I’m going to do this!” Unless a charismatic president can influence and take the Council delegates under his wings to reform the government, don’t expect any changes soon. It is Council delegates who make and change laws. I don’t see government reform at the top of their list when they run for office, except win by people knowing them. They run behind the shadows of the presidential race.

“Why are you holding us responsible?” is an assurance the blame rests squarely on our Council delegate if they want to run our government that way. Replace them with better leadership. I can go so many ways with this, but limited with space. Enough. One man against 24. Seems the odds are stacked. Heads need to come together to make a direction known because it affects all three branches, especially the people — come on now.

I agree with Robert L. Hosteen from Beclabito, New Mexico (Letters: “Another attempt at contradictory ambitions?” Oct. 3, 2018). We can’t continue to let them run amok.

Teddy Begay
Kayenta, Ariz.

Vote yes on changing SJC government

The Utah Constitution outlines a careful and deliberative process to consider a change in the form of government. (In drafting a referendum petition for changing the form of government in San Juan County) I was careful to select petitioners along with myself who represent the demographics of the county but who feel there is a better solution in county government. We are represented by a member from Spanish Valley, Monticello, Paiute Mesa, Blanding, and White Mesa.

If a study committee is formed it will represent a broad demographic of the county with four members recommended by the county commission and each of the three incorporated cities: Bluff, Blanding and Monticello. I don’t know what, if any, change in government a study committee will recommend. That is for them to decide.

I personally favor a five-member commission. There are a number of reasons a five-member commission makes sense. Primary among these is that it provides a greater voice to the people. It does this in numerous ways among which are:

1. Share the load. Five members share the workload more effectively than three. This may give more time to any individual commissioner to spend on specific issues of concern. Also, it may help to prevent council members from becoming overworked, burned out and less effective. We have an enormous county. There is plenty of work to go around.

2. Better decisions. More people involved in the discussion almost always leads to better ideas because there is more variety of opinion, experience and expertise. At times more voices on a commission can make decisions more difficult or the commission less responsive. However, most towns, cities and counties run just fine with a five-member commission/council. I maintain that if the discussion doesn’t clearly identify the best solution on an issue then more time and a more deliberate approach should be taken. Sometimes, especially in government, slower is better.

3. Share the power. A five-member commission shares the power and the attendant responsibility and liability with more people. In this case there is certainly safety in numbers. Safety for the commission, as more people share in the decisions being made and more safety for the citizens against possible abuse of power.

4. More responsive. Even though every commission member represents the entire county it has been decided we will have districts. Five districts put each representative closer geographically, and likely more in tune with the citizens in their district. This, in turn, makes them more accessible to the citizens and more understanding and responsive to their needs and opinions.

5. Open meetings compliance. There has been debate in the Utah Legislature to either relax or tighten up on three-member commission compliance with the Open Meetings Act. Under current law, any two commissioners or council members constitute a quorum and may violate, or appear to violate, the act with many of their conversations. These conversations, when they are in the spirit of the Open Meetings Act, facilitate good governance and can happen legally with a five-member commission.

6. Restore representation for Blanding. Since I originally published this paper, decisions by a federal judge have stripped Blanding of representation as a legally protected “community of interest.” A five-member commission restores this representation as explained in No. 4 above.

It has been claimed that this initiative is a reaction to the election of two Native commissioners. That claim is patently false. I asked the prior commissioners to place the question on the ballot. I asked Judge (Robert) Shelby to consider a five-member commission as a better alternative both in person and in writing before the election.

I have been asked if I would have started this process had the election turned out differently, the answer is absolutely yes! I had already started the process and all six reasons would still have been valid. The ethnic makeup of the commission doesn’t change anything. The hallmark of our nation is government of the people, by the people and for the people. Currently we have government by court order dominated by outside parties, hardly democratic.

The race or ethnic background of any commissioner is not relevant to me. I only want them to be chosen by the people and for all the people to have a voice. A change in the form of government will require two countywide votes of all voters before any change could be made. That is democracy. That protects the rights of every citizen of San Juan County. We have a right to petition our government. We have a right to be self-governed.

Vote for self-determination, vote for the study committee.

Joe B. Lyman
Blanding, Utah

Thank you for helping find our cheii

The family of the late Dennis R. Hardy Sr. of St. Michaels, Arizona, wishes to acknowledge the many expressions of sympathy and gestures of kindness shown to us following our sad loss. The past couple of weeks have been very difficult for our family. During this stressful time, the disappearance of our cheii (grandfather) has brought our community together.

We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all of the amazing volunteers who helped search and find our cheii. Concerned family members, friends and family who were unable to be there in person sent us their prayers, condolences and monetary donations. We had search volunteers on horseback, ATVs, drones, helicopters, and people on foot searching for our cheii.

The local community members dropped off various food items to help feed our volunteers and hay was delivered for our horses as we continued the search. Our cry for help reached local and national attention. We had our Navajo Nation president’s office offer their services to help bring our cheii home. We will never be able to put into words what your selfless acts have meant to our family. Everyone’s desire, determination and devotion to help bring him home to us will never be forgotten.

Our family will always be indebted to them. This letter is to recognize all the various political leaders, law enforcement, businesses, and volunteers help bring comfort and closure to our family. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!

Dee Henry
Fort Defiance, Ariz.

The post Letters: Join us on Indigenous Peoples Day appeared first on Navajo Times.

[Category: Letters]

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[l] at 10/10/19 3:30am


“This is about truth to power,” said an emotional U.S. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., whose father was a miner. “These are the types of stories that need to be heard, that all Americans should be concerned about,” he said.

Grijalva, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, came to Window Rock last Wednesday to listen to testimony by Navajo uranium miners, downwinders, and second- and third-generation family members who still suffer the ongoing impacts of uranium toxicity. “You remind us, and we’re going to remind our colleagues, that this chapter is not closed,” said Grijalva. “The book is open. The lives are real. The hurt is real.”

Grijalva said he was moved by Navajo uranium miners who travelled to meet with him in Washington, D.C., last summer as well as the urgency they brought, which led him to come to Window Rock. “We’re here to make sure these voices are heard,” he said. “This is a national responsibility with national consequences that needs a national response.”

‘Equity and justice’

“This is a silent killer,” said Marine Corps veteran Leslie Begay. He was among the post-1971 underground uranium miners who worked in the Kerr-McGee mine in Church Rock cutting into fresh ore releasing radiation in confined spaces. The current Radiation Exposure Compensation Act only covers people who worked in the mines from Jan. 1, 1942, to Dec. 31, 1971. He said the radioactive waste spill at Church Rock in July 1979 contaminated whole area and was bigger than the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster, impacting livestock, farming and water wells.

“Someone must be held accountable,” said Begay, who suffers from lung disease and cancer. “My mother died of liver cancer. My whole family has suffered.” Grijalva pointed out that the response to the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster was “huge, overwhelming and long-term” while the response to the Church Rock spill, in terms of resources, was no comparison.

Begay said it’s hard for him to share that he only has two years to live since his lungs are slowly deteriorating. On top of that, he’s had a lot of trouble accessing adequate medical care since there are few services on the Navajo Nation and he has to travel long distances to go to cancer centers where he isn’t even sure he’ll be covered by insurance.

“That’s why we are where we are today,” said post-71 Kerr-McGee underground uranium miner Tommy Reed. “It’s a continuing situation.” Reed said miners like him were unknowingly exposed to high-level radiation to make quotas and they suffered the consequential illnesses.

“There is no cure in modern medicine for uranium exposure,” said Reed. “During my employment I wasn’t informed or trained on how I should protect myself from exposure,” he said. “We were faced with dangers every day without knowing the consequences.” Post-71 miner Walter Marble said in retrospect there was really no way to work in an underground mine and not be overexposed. “By the time we finally woke up and realized what was going on, it was too late,” he said. “Hundreds of people were overexposed.”

Marble added that while he can get treatment at the VA many of his counterparts who go to the Indian Health Service can’t get proper diagnoses and treatments, including medications, for the complex spectrum of illnesses that accompany uranium radiation exposure. “It’s a travesty,” said Grijalva.

Hózhó or Hóchxó?

“How can we live in harmony and balance when our people are chronically exposed to radiation and our Mother Earth has been exploited and scarred with abandoned uranium mines?” asked President Jonathan Nez in his opening remarks.

According the U.S. Environment Protection Agency, approximately 30 million tons of uranium ore was removed from 1944 to 1986 from Navajo Nation lands, supplying the atomic energy arsenal of the U.S. military in the Cold War era.

Nez noted that the Navajo Nation has 524 known open uranium mine sites, with only 219 of those having funds available for cleanup and remediation efforts. “We won’t know the actual amount of uranium mine waste left behind until remedial site evaluations are completed for all 524 abandoned uranium mine sites on the Navajo Nation,” said Nez. “I have personally heard countless stories from angry and heartbroken Navajo people about how cancer has decimated Navajo families,” he said. “They have every right to be angry and every right to demand justice.”

Nez said he and members of the Navajo Nation Council, including Council Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty, have advocated for the former uranium workers, downwinders, and post-1971 mine workers to be included in the reauthorization of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act by Congress.

In 1990, Congress passed RECA that acknowledged responsibility for the mistreatment of uranium miners and provided for one-time financial compensation to miners with cancer and other diseases related to their mine work and exposure to radiation (up to Dec. 31, 1971). In June 2000, the law was amended.

According to the Congressional Research Service, RECA has awarded over $2.3 billion in benefits to more than 35,000 claimants since its inception, and is scheduled to sunset in 2022. Nez said examples of those who were in indirect exposure including children who played in abandoned mines or mill tailing piles, sheepherders who watered their sheep in open pit mines, women who washed dust-coated clothing of their uranium miner husbands, and people who obtained their drinking water from streams that ran through or near uranium mines. “Because of this, generations of these Navajo individuals and families have experienced abnormal rates of cancer,” said Nez.

While cancer had been almost unheard of prior to the uranium mining, it is now the second leading cause of death on the Navajo Nation, Nez added.

Radioactive legacy

Crotty said that because of the legacy of uranium many relatives are no longer with us. “They left us too soon because of the how the impacts of uranium ravaged their bodies,” said Crotty. “This (compensation) is not a gift from the government,” she said. “It gives them the ability to travel and get the health care they need.” Crotty mentioned the moratorium on uranium mining passed by Council in 2005 as a significant step in recognizing the blight of uranium as a social justice issue. She wants to make sure that uranium is never extracted from the ground again and that a complete cleanup takes place.

“Not only do we need swift action for the RECA amendments, but for the people have been left out intentionally, like our downwinders and our post-71 miners,” she added. “Uranium not only contaminated their bodies, their wives bodies’ and their children’s bodies, but now a new generation of newborns,” she said. “Our homes continue to be contaminated, and our land, our water.”

She said with the cumbersome process, the federal government makes it all but impossible for those impacted to access to the just compensation RECA requires. “In the 1940s Navajo people were recruited to extract uranium for a new and powerful weapon — the atomic bomb,” said Resources and Development Chairman Rickie Nez. “Uranium development on Navajo was entirely used for military applications.”

Those who were engaged contracted lung cancer, respiratory diseases and kidney diseases at a higher rate than the rest of the population,” he said. “Most died early, including my dad.”

He wants to see more comprehensive research done on those living near uranium sites and the health and environmental resources impacts. Most importantly, Rickie Nez stressed, “We need an immediate remediation and restoration plan for Navajo lands to protect future generations.”

‘What about us?’

Dariel Yazzie from Monument Valley said that when he was young people didn’t understand what uranium was. Nobody told them about the hazards. He and his friends used to play in the uranium tailing piles, he said. He came down with cancer in his early twenties. “Seven decades is way too long to sit with these issues,” said Yazzie, who now works as a Superfund manager for the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency.

“Anywhere else in the country it wouldn’t be like this.” Navajo Nation epidemiologist Ramona Antone Nez Sr. said cancer rates and diabetes rates on Navajo have gone up in past decades and emphasized the importance of conducting long-term studies. Uranium and radon have a long life, she said.

Epidemiologist Del Yazzie said the younger generations are still uneasy about what the future holds. “People still live in homes that were built with materials coming from the mines,” said Yazzie. “A lot of people continue to live in these homes. “They say, ‘What about us?’” he said.

“I feel the federal government has inflicted this suffering upon us,” said 56-year-old Deborah S. Manuelito, a downwinder from Newcomb, who has colon cancer. Manuelito worries about her children and grandchildren. “I need to be here to teach them,” she said.

‘What more can we say?’

Navajo language and culture teacher Virginia Jones said she was denied downwinder compensation under RECA, missing the qualification date in 1962 by being in her mother’s womb. “We feel that we were exposed to this dangerous radiation,” said Jones. “Since the beginning of time our elders believed that a baby, right from the start, from conception, was considered a human, unique and sacred — created in the image of the Holy People and embodying all of the elements.”

Jones’ mother and father both died from uranium contamination and she has had thyroid cancer. Jones said she is plagued by coughing, wheezing and heart pain and spends a lot of time going back and forth to doctors.

“My family was never informed of the toxic poisons of uranium mining near our home,” said downwinder Seraphina Nez from Blue Gap-Tachee, Arizona. “The exposure caused illnesses and death of my younger siblings. Mine workers brought contamination into their homes and drank contaminated water.” Nez said her children afraid to have kids because of what they’ve seen. She is exhausted from sharing the same story over and over with little change, she added.

“I feel like, ‘What more can we say? What more can we do?’” said Nez. Lewis Yazzie, downwinder from Monument Valley said he, like many others, often wonders, “Is it my turn?” All of his siblings have had illnesses, heart attacks, or strokes, he said. Miner and activist Phillip Harrison, Jr., lost his father to lung cancer at 44. “It’s been a long struggle,” he said. “We’re asking for justice. We have been very persistent and patient.”

Issue ‘transcends partisanship’

Former President and Chairman Peterson Zah said 35 years ago the first group of uranium miners received compensation “on this same stage” at the Department of Diné Education. At that time, Zah said he thought the payments would continue until everyone was compensated.

“How wrong was I?” said Zah. “Thirty-five years later we’re still trying to resolve the issues.” Zah recommended codifying mandatory tribal consultation into law instead of having it be an optional policy. He also suggested that the U.S. EPA give the authority for remaining uranium cleanup back to the Navajo Nation. “We need those jobs and the money to clean up those sites,” he said. “We can do it for ourselves.”

Grijalva said upon returning to Washington he will go back to the chairmen of the House Judiciary, Energy and Commerce, Education and Labor committees to share what he’s heard. “I think this issue transcends the partisanship and I have to make sure it stays that way,” he said.

He plans to champion reauthorization of RECA and proposed amendments, including extending the period of compensation to 1990 and expanding proof of residency to include general tribal membership. Grijalva also will work on making tribal consultation required by law to help improve collaboration and facilitate conflict resolution, he said.

He believes the Centers for Disease Control and the EPA need to do an extensive health study around the uranium miners and sites so that the excuse that there is no data can no longer be used. Finally, he agrees that a detailed analysis of what it would take to implement comprehensive cleanup, remediation and restoration on the Navajo Nation is needed.

“My commitment and my pledge is to work really hard,” said Grijalva, “to bring equity, fairness, and justice to Navajo people.”

The post Former uranium miners share stories of hardship, illness appeared first on Navajo Times.

[Category: News]

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[l] at 10/10/19 3:29am

(Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories about the impact of relocation on the children and grandchildren of relocatees.)


Alicia Nequatewa, 22, has spent her whole life trying to meld together two communities that in the past had a contentious relationship.

Naquatewa, an educator, graduate student and artist, is Navajo and Hopi. She is also part of the second generation of people who have to deal with the aftermath of the 1974 Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act.

Nequatewa’s two nations were in a land dispute that resulted in Congress passing the law, which awarded Hopi Pueblo half of the disputed 1.8 million acres. However, the land dispute had been going on for decades before the final decision was made. The dispute was stoked by the livestock reduction program that created District 6 for exclusive use by Hopi. Then, through the influence of mining corporations that were interested in the resource-rich community of Black Mesa, Arizona, according an article by John Redhouse, a scholar and activist.

In District 6, which in 1943 was enlarged by 20,000 acres, grazing permits were given only to Hopi citizens. However, Navajo citizens had already been grazing their animals and living on part of the 631,000 acres. This resulted in the first forced relocation of about 100 Navajo families from the District 6 disputed area. Before that in 1909, mining corporations found coal on Black Mesa and some 30 years later it was determined to be home to “21 billion tons of accessible coal,” according to an article by Redhouse.

This was in addition to the untapped oil, natural gas and a vast underground water source. This prompted the companies to explore who owned the land and mineral rights. The answer? The Navajo and Hopi nations co-owned the rights.

Wanting a more concrete answer, the tribes went to battle for ownership over the land through lawsuits and eventually to Congress. Ultimately, the land was split 50/50 between both nations through the passing of the settlement act. The passing of the act meant that about 12,500 Navajo families from the Big Mountain and Black Mesa areas were forced to relocate. Some 500 refused to leave.

Today, the next generation is still dealing with the aftermath of the federal government’s decision. For Nequatewa, it resulted in feeling rejected by her Navajo community. “My mom comes from Hard Rock and my dad comes from Hotevilla,” Nequatewa said. “They’re very, very close in proximity and there’s a lot of that tension between the grazing areas specifically. That’s what I experienced.”

Nequatewa, who has a Hopi surname, attended a mostly Navajo boarding school on the Navajo Nation. “People picked on me for being Hopi,” she said. “I was like one of three people in the entire school that were Hopi, the rest were all Navajo.” Navajo students didn’t like her because she was also Hopi.

“We received a lot of comments on being Hopi,” Nequatewa said. “I was called multiple names. People would say, ‘Oh, you guys took our cows. You do this and you take that and you’re like this.’ I never really knew where that was from.” These interactions caused her to move away from learning Navajo culture. “So that turned me away from my Navajo side because it made me feel rejected,” she said. “It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t participate in it. So I didn’t understand why I was being treated that way.”

This is why Nequatewa doesn’t know more about her Navajo side. “It just led me to not be so interested in the language and the culture,” she said, “almost rebellious to learning it. Once I became more aware of the importance of just culture in general, I started to really embrace it a lot better.” It was vivid dreams that Nequatewa had during her sophomore and junior years that prompted her desire to learn more about both her cultures.

Nequatewa was dreaming of losing cultural carriers from her family and other people she didn’t know but saw in her dreams. This stirred in her a desire to take her place as a Diné woman from the ‘Áshiihi Clan as well as a Hopi woman from the Beaver Clan. “I, myself, have found both cultures to be very empowering,” she said.

“A lot of what I know comes from my grandfather because he was a medicine man and then my grandmother was a weaver. I tried to spend as much time as I could with them. So everything I know comes from them.”

As Nequatewa got older she was told stories from her Hopi grandparents about how the relationship between the two tribes was originally. “They used to do a lot of trading between my two communities,” she said. “My great-grandparents on my paternal side and my maternal grandparents actually used to do a lot of trading before my parents got together. “There are those connections and we forget that because of this artificial issue that was created,” she said. “It wasn’t even the Hopi and the Navajo who created this issue. It was the U.S. government who created these boundary lines.”

Through her studies as an Indigenous scholar and praying on the issue, Nequatewa has reconciled her identity and understands the importance of being intertribal. “The importance of Indigenous knowledge regardless of what tribe it is, is important to know and pass on,” she said. “I think that’s how it really has impacted me.”

The post Navajo-Hopi woman honors both cultures appeared first on Navajo Times.

[Category: Culture]

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[l] at 10/10/19 3:28am


Although it is not federally regulated and can be purchased by anyone over the counter off the reservation, the process for buying cannabidiol products at the new Navajo Gold Health and Wellness Center here resembles the customer experience at a marijuana dispensary. The customer is carded and ushered behind the counter to view the array of products, including edibles, creams and vape cartridges.

Asked why the elaborate process, an employee said the shop wants to have the protocol in place in case marijuana is legalized on the Navajo Nation and Navajo Gold starts selling it.

In spite of President Jonathan Nez’s warning last Tuesday that hemp production is still illegal on the Navajo Nation, the reservation’s first hemp products store opened last Thursday with only one glitch. Police shut down the shop at about 11:30 a.m. on Friday, saying the store did not have the proper permits from the Regional Business Development Office to occupy the building. Business owner Dineh Benally called the incident a “misunderstanding,” but declined to elaborate. The store opened again about three hours later.

When a Times reporter visited the shop about 10:30 a.m. Friday, there were no other customers, although an employee said business had been fairly steady Thursday. The Native American Agriculture Company, which owns the Navajo Gold brand of CBD products, shows no signs of backing down in spite of the president’s statement in an interview with the Navajo Times that it is illegal to grow hemp on the Nation.

Benally, who heads both the NAAC and the San Juan River Farm Board, stated in a press release last Thursday that the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill and Navajo Nation law both allow for hemp cultivation, and the company intends to continue and expand production. “After the success of last year’s pilot program, we stepped up production for 2019 and plan to produce more going into 2020,” Benally stated.

A Hemp 101 seminar, sponsored by NAAC and the farm board, is slated for Oct. 21 at the Shiprock Chapter House, and on its website, NAAC is soliciting applications for “hemp and cannabis licenses” to operate hemp-related businesses including cultivation, processing, manufacturing, distribution and lab testing on the Navajo Nation. The license applications must be accompanied by a $500 application fee and licensees must sign a non-disclosure agreement with NAAC.

According to Benally, hemp production has been legal on the Navajo Nation since 2000, when the Navajo Nation Council passed a resolution distinguishing between hemp and marijuana. At the time, hemp was considered cannabis with less than 1.4 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive ingredient. The 2018 Farm Bill lowered that amount to 0.3 percent, and the Council adopted that change last year. The bill deregulated industrial hemp and gave Native American tribes the authority to regulate and produce it.

Both the 2000 and 2018 Council resolutions state, “The enactment of this resolution does not authorize the cultivation, growth, possession, development or propagation of industrial hemp until the Navajo Nation creates a regulatory system for industrial hemp and obtains the necessary and applicable permits for industrial hemp.”

In the press release, Benally contends the San Juan River Farm Board, acting as a unit of the Navajo Nation government, developed the regulations. Nez said Tuesday the farm board is not authorized to act as a proxy for the tribe, and the Navajo Nation Council is working with the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry to develop regulations and a pilot hemp production project.

Although its only FDA-approved use is for the treatment of epilepsy, CDB oil has been touted as a remedy for everything from arthritis to anxiety. According to statista.com, Americans spent $513 million on CBD products last year and that number is anticipated to increase to $1.2 billion by the end of this year.

The post Hemp shop anticipates selling marijuana if legalized appeared first on Navajo Times.

[Category: News]

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[l] at 10/10/19 3:27am


John Daugomah and his wife Jackie Curley said it was the Crownpoint community who told them a hotel was needed.

“Since we live here we wanted to know what was going to spark the economy for Crownpoint,” said Daugomah. “The overwhelming (majority of) the chapter, community, president, said it’s going to be a hotel. It’s been a long, trying test.” So for about six years the couple pursued this business venture and finally, on Sept 27, Daugomah and Curley celebrated the groundbreaking for a three-story, 72-room, dual-brand hotel with members of the Navajo Nation Council, President Jonathan Nez and others who helped them get to this point.

“As a lot of you know, it takes a lot of time and effort to get projects going on the Navajo Nation,” said John Largo of the local Regional Business Development Office. “There are so many things you got to do.” In 2013, Daugomah and Curley started the process of getting a hotel built by going to the Eastern RBDO.

A year later, they signed a franchise agreement with Choice Hotels to build a dual-brand Sleep Inn & Suites and Mainstay Suites hotel. In 2018, the architectural design and engineering was completed and bidding began and currently the Eastern RBDO is working to finalize costs with the general contractor so construction may begin in November or December. The cost estimate is approximately $12.5 million.

Native American Bank will be providing a business loan of $7 million through an investment by CSB Enterprises. The Navajo Nation investment into the project is $5.525 million — $3.775 million from the Permanent Trust Fund and $1.75 million from the Navajo Sales Tax fund. About $150,000 was borrowed from Navajo CDFI to complete the architectural design and engineering services for the project.

“We want to push Navajo-owned and the way we do that is investing,” said Largo. “We have a huge partnership here.” Largo also acknowledged JT Willie, director of the Division of Economic Development.

Willie said when he came on board as director he saw that the Crownpoint hotel project was on hold. In order to get it back on track DED allocated funding from the sales tax fund. “It was halted because of lack of funding and the need for support to get this project off the ground again,” said Willie.

After taking over as director, the first RBDO he met with was Eastern Agency and he noticed there were many different projects “sitting on the docket.” “It’s re-designation of funds,” said Willie, “to get these shovel projects off the ground. This hotel was shovel-ready, it just kept getting put on the back burner.”

Delegate Edmund Yazzie’s late father, Edgar Yazzie, had given 10 acres of his land to go toward the hotel. The delegate said his dad’s intention to give up land was solely selfless and to help his community. “It was for the people,” said Yazzie. “He couldn’t wait for it to open. I’m glad we’re getting this done.” Tourism is an untapped market on Navajo and Nez said this hotel will help start changing that, as well as keeping his administration’s promise that Eastern Agency will not be forgotten.

When Nez was vice president in 2015, he wrote a commitment letter from the president’s office promising $1 million in matching funds for the Crownpoint Hotel project. “There’s a lot of visitors in Western Agency, a lot of tourists,” said Nez. “So this is an opportunity to bring some of those visitors into Eastern Navajo.”

The post Dirt turned for 3-story hotel in Crownpoint appeared first on Navajo Times.

[Category: Business]

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[l] at 10/10/19 3:27am


The Naabik’iyati Committee will finally hear from Navajo Transitional Energy Company on its acquisition of three Wyoming coal mines today.

During a Sept. 19 Naabik’iyati meeting, which was subsequently cancelled due to not making quorum, Department of Justice attorney April Quinn gave a report on NTEC’s acquisitions of the mines, and that’s when lawmakers asked that NTEC representatives make a presentation to the committee.

In her presentation, Quinn said DOJ had not spoken with NTEC about their recent acquisition, but upon review of the purchase agreement it showed that the enterprise waived its sovereign immunity upon acquiring the bankrupt coal mines. She said all enterprises are supposed to inform the Navajo Nation of their waiving of sovereign immunity and NTEC never gave notice.

“In the enabling legislation it requires 10-day notice of the proposed transaction or agreement that would waive their sovereign immunity,” said Quinn. “We give them to the speaker and the president. DOJ has reviewed the purchase agreement for Cloud Peak (coal mine). There is a waiver of sovereign immunity in that agreement, and I don’t believe that notice was given to the Nation.” Delegate Raymond Smith asked, since NTEC had waived its sovereign immunity, could the Navajo Nation be dragged into an ensuing lawsuit?

“They are allowed to be sued,” said Quinn. “That does not affect the Navajo Nation. We wont be dragged into courts.” Quinn said she wasn’t allowed into a recent NTEC meeting.

She was told no attorneys were allowed but NTEC’s attorney was inside the meeting, she said. “That’s a question for NTEC,” said Quinn. “Navajo Nation attorney should’ve been in the room. There were security guards at the door and I wasn’t allowed. This was the first time I’ve been restrained from being in the room with a client.”

Quinn explained that NTEC is empowered to control, own, operate, conduct oversight operations and develop energy resources, tangible and intangible property assets and interests within and outside the boundaries of the Nation. They may also conduct activities in the Nation and any other jurisdiction.

Delegate Eugenia Charles-Newton said the legislation that created NTEC states they would look into alternative energy and she has questioned what projects or proposals they looked into. “They haven’t answered that question,” said Charles-Newton. “We need to make sure to hold them to that legislation. How do we tell our people that we are going to allow for them to purchase mines that are going into bankruptcy?”

Not only was DOJ left out of the loop, but so were delegates, including those who sit as shareholder representatives on NTEC’s board of directors, Charles-Newton charged. As a shareholder, she said she was never told about the recent purchase made by NTEC of three coal mines in Wyoming.

As for Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Speaker Seth Damon, they received notification through a letter and memo on Aug. 19, the same day NTEC sent out a press release to the public about their acquisition. “This is a deal that cannot and should not be supported by the Council,” said Charles-Newton. “We have a board and CEO who has not abided by the rules — regulations that are put in place by this Council, put by this Nation. This is the people’s money and the people were never notified and as a shareholder of NTEC I was never notified.”

Nez, who has supported the closure of the Navajo Generating Station and for the Nation to go in a renewable and sustainable direction, confirmed his office did not receive prior notice or information about the purchase, but this is in part due to how NTEC was created years ago.

“The provisions under which they were created afford NTEC a certain level of autonomy and we also understand that non-disclosure agreements are often required in business transactions,” said Nez in a Sept. 19 statement to the Times. “But there is also the responsibilities of the NTEC member representatives to communicate with Navajo Nation leadership and the public,” he said.

Since the report was given, the U.S. District Court for Delaware approved the sale of substantially all of Cloud Peak Energy’s assets, marking the final approval needed to transfer the company’s Montana and Wyoming mines to NTEC. “We are pleased to have this final order approved and look forward to assuming operations in Montana and Wyoming in mid-October,” said NTEC CEO Clark Moseley in a press release. “As a company we have a solid record of returning mines to profitability and doing so as an industry leader in safety and reclamation.”

According to NTEC, the mines support about 1,200 jobs and provide $230 million in taxes and royalties to their respective states. NTEC plans to retain the employees at the mines. The purchase of the mines will also provide an increased revenue base to support the Navajo Nation, according to NTEC.

“If NTEC wants to purchase this mine then we need to look at the CEO and his managers’ salaries,” said Charles-Newton. “Cut that in half and have them invest in that coal company using their own money.”

Cloud Peak Energy had suffered in recent years due to very high levels of debt created by borrowing to finance certain acquisitions. Despite solid performance at the mines themselves, the company was unable to sustain the finance costs associated with this debt. NTEC will focus on diligent mining and marketing fundamentals to achieve profitability, just as they have done at their Navajo Mine in New Mexico, according to NTEC.

Delegate Daniel Tso said he wants to see Mosley and other figureheads of NTEC in the Council Chamber. He referenced a time when NTEC was looking to buy NGS, but rather than meeting in Window Rock the delegates had to travel to Phoenix. “They are a Navajo company and they don’t want to walk in here,” said Tso.

“That is the respect they need to show. We haven’t been introduced to the board of directors. All we see is their profile on the website.” But the agenda for today’s meeting lists only Steve Grey, NTEC’s government and external relations director. The report may require an executive session.

Questions sent to Erny Zah, communication director for NTEC, were not answered by press time Wednesday and no other comments were received by the Times.

The post NTEC summoned to defend mine buys appeared first on Navajo Times.

[Category: Politics]

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[l] at 10/10/19 3:26am

PIÑON, Ariz.

After hearing a litany of complaints on the way the grazing permits are being reissued on the Navajo Partitioned Land, the Navajo Nation Council’s Resources and Development Committee indicated they’re willing to revisit the issue.

Meeting in the heart of Dzil Yizhiin (Black Mesa area), the RDC listened to a two-hour-long presentation from local ranchers and chapter officials and agreed to set a public hearing on the matter.

The ranchers complained that the regulations — developed over the last three years by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in conjunction with a committee of the grazing representatives of the 14 affected chapters — were too draconian, or in the words of Piñon Chapter President Bessie Allen, “ridiculous.”

Among their problems with the new rules are difficulty in establishing heirship because of lack of documentation in most Diné households; the reduction in the number of permits from 1,150 in 1973 to about 50; and the lack of funding or training to rehabilitate the range.

But at the heart of the dispute is the determination by the BIA that each grazing permit will start with just 10 sheep units. The determination was made after a 2016 BIA forage study showed most areas of the NPL were barely able to support grazing.

“I cried when this was told to me,” said Allen. “Are you trying to move us and make us into bilagáanas, or what?”

Although grazing permits on the NPL were suspended in 1973 as part of the settlement of the Navajo-Hopi land dispute, many people continued grazing animals on the land. Allen estimated most people in Dzil Yizhiin have 50 to 60 sheep, goats and cattle. To ask them to reduce their herds that drastically is “ridiculous,” she said.

Former Hard Rock Chapter president Percy Deal pointed out the cultural importance of sheep, noting the many songs about them.

“Keyah biniina. Tó biniina. Dibé biniina,” he said. “Dibé bitsi dee dah.”

The plan to reissue the permits doesn’t even mention fundamental law, he said.

He added that the NPL chapters had put together a $4.5 million drought plan that was supported by chapter resolutions but never went anywhere in Council. They also asked the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for $536,250 for technical assistance to help with land reclamation.

Deal noted the 34,000 acre-feet of water the Navajo Generating Station was using and wondered if that could be put to use by ranchers now that the NGS is closing.

Rancher Dorothy Yazzie of Black Mesa wondered how the livestock reduction would be enforced.

“Who’s going to go out there and collect all our animals?” she asked.

Daisy Kiyaani of Black Mesa opined that if the ranchers are to give up their animals, they need something in return.

“We want technical assistance, management practices, training,” she said. “As a classroom teacher, I have to show the kids how to do something for them to learn it. You need to do that for us.”

“We asked for drought insurance for this area, but the money has not come to us,” stated Forest Lake Chapter President Fern Benally after the meeting, adding that she is worried about the elders in her chapter.

“Their children have all left,” she said. “Sheep and cows are who they talk to. They look to them as motivation to enjoy another day of their lives. The coal mines are gone now. The people who live on those lands want to use it for grazing, maybe pass it on to their descendants.”

Benally also wants some grazing permits reserved for young people who haven’t inherited a permit from their parents.

“The younger people want an opportunity too,” she said. “I’ve met some who want to come home and start raising livestock.”

The committee’s legislative adivisor, Shammie Begay, noted that the entire RDC is new this year and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to hold a work session to background themselves more on this issue.

RDC Chairman Rickie Nez said the matter is on the agenda for the committee’s Oct. 16 meeting, and the committee will try to schedule a public hearing then.

Yazzie was pleased with the meeting.

“I think they’re receptive,” she said. “I think they’re listening to us.”

But not everybody agreed the rules should be relaxed, particularly those who have already taken the painful steps to comply with the new rules.

“They’re already re-issuing the permits,” said Francis Lester, grazing committee representative for White Cone Chapter. “I don’t think the BIA will want to go backwards now that the train has left the station.”

Amos Johnson, the BIA’s natural resource specialist for the NPL, declined to comment on the record, other than to confirm that three NPL grazing permits have already been reissued.

Lester also emphasized that the new rules say that, although everybody has to start with 10 sheep, the herds can be built up every year as the land recovers.

“How are people going to run 50 sheep on this land?” he asked. “What are they going to feed them?”

The post After hearing complaints, RDC to revisit NPL permits appeared first on Navajo Times.

[Category: News]

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[l] at 10/10/19 3:21am


Tyuilera Toney gets a second chance.

The new Miss Northern Navajo was disqualified from the pageant last year for reasons she says she wasn’t told, although she admitted, “I had issues.”

Now the 17-year-old from Waterflow, New Mexico, says she’s ready to put all that behind her.

“I’m feeling so many emotions right now,” said a tearful Toney after being crowned at the Phil Thomas Performing Arts Center Friday night. “I’m going to close that chapter in my life. I’m going to do my best to represent the people of Northern Agency.”

Toney said her platform will be the physical and emotional effects of cyberbullying.

Toney showcased her sewing for her contemporary talent and demonstrated wool-dyeing for her traditional talent.

Toney is Tl’aldazhi born for Bit’ahnii. Her cheis are Oozei Táchíinii and her nalis are Kin Yaa’áanii.

She had some tough competition from the only other contestant, Tewakeedah Martin of the singing duo The Martin Sisters, who performed an Adele song for her contemporary talent and a herding song for her traditional talent. Martin becomes first runner up for the position.

Martin, who is from Montezuma Creek, Utah, is Nanesht’ezhi Tábaahá born for Naalani. Her cheis are To Dich’íinii and her nalis are Naalani (Dakota Sioux).

There was more competition for the Miss Northern Teen competition, which was won by Haskellette Billy, 17, of Farmington, who is Bit’ahni born for Tsé Nahabilnii. Her cheis are Hoghan Lani and her nalis are Bit’ahnii.

“I’m very blessed,” said Billy after the coronation. “It’s a big blessing.”

Her platform will be self-awareness.

All five contestants in the Miss Teen contest received gifts and titles.

First runner-up was Damaris Yazzie, 15, of T’iis Nasbas, Arizona; second runner-up was Nikeisha Kee of Fruitland, New Mexico; third runner-up was Cassie Peshlakai Frank of Kirtland, New Mexico and honorable mention was Dominique Henderson of Littlewater, New Mexico.

Lynelle Washburn was in charge of this year’s pageant, which was attended by President Jonathan Nez and his wife Phephelia. Zachariah George and Ariana Young were co-emcees of the coronation.

The post Second chance for new Miss Northern appeared first on Navajo Times.

[Category: Community, People]

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[l] at 10/10/19 3:20am

By Michael Peretti
Special to the Times


Navajo Times | Paul Natonabah

St. Michael’s Ali Upshaw captured the Curtis Williams Invitational on Saturday at Red Rock Park. Upshaw finished with a time of 19:17.11.

The St. Michael Lady Cardinals continued their push toward defending their Arizona state title this past weekend with a strong performance at the Curtis Williams Invitational at Red Rock Park in Gallup.

“I am happy with how we did,” St. Michael head coach Kelly Bia said. “This was a good race for us.”

The Lady Cardinals packed their top three runners in the Top 7, with their No. 4 (Nizhoniibaa Phillips; 21:29) and No. 5 (Ashley Phillips; 21:59) runners coming in 11 and 15 respectively.

That was enough to give the Lady Cardinals the top team score of 40 points, well ahead of second place Kirtland Central, which placed runners in 3, 5, 13, 28 and 30 for 79 points.

Zuni came in third with 95, followed by Miyamura 137, Farmington 143, Los Lunas 151, Gallup 169, Aztec 170, Window Rock 180 and Grants 214.

St. Michael team leader Ali Upshaw, who has been the team’s consistent top runner for the past three years, won the race with a top time of 19:17, just under a minute ahead of the next runner, Lorianna Piestewa from Miyamura (20:16).

“I feel I ran well,” Upshaw said before echoing Bia: “It was a good race for us.”

Chiara Holgate placed sixth (21:05) and Amber Woody seventh (21:05) to give the Lady Cardinals a good advantage, with Phillips and Phillips rounding out the scoring to give St. Michael the win.

In third place overall was Kirtland’s Aisha Ramone (20:18). Farmington’s Kamalani Anitiely took fourth (20:51), followed by Autumn Harrison (KC, 20:59). Rounding out the Top 10 were Alexandria Bewanika from Zuni in seventh (21:18), teammate Kate Romancito in ninth (21:24) and Gallup’s Celine Nez in 10th (21:26).

Los Lunas’ top runner was Amanda Sparks in 14th (21:46), while Aztec’s top harrier was Autumn Roundy in 20th (22:20). Quannah Benallie took 22nd as Window Rock’s top runner while Kristan Simpson placed 16th to lead the way for Grants.

Bia said this race was good for her Lady Cardinals, as it was the first time this year the team has raced in back-to-back weeks.

“We want them to get used to running consecutive weeks,” she said, “because that is what they are going to have to do going into state.”

She said not having a week off will help prepare all of her runners, as the competition only gets tougher from this point on.

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The post Cardinals continue drive toward title appeared first on Navajo Times.

[Category: Track & Field]

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[l] at 10/10/19 3:20am


Courtesy photo | Alvino Sandoval

Newly crowned Miss Alamo MeKaylah Apachito, center, poses with Miss Ramah Navajo Charmiqua Smith, left, and Miss To’Hajiilee Donna Secatero.

MeKaylah Apachito was crowned as the 2019-20 Miss Alamo Navajo on Sept. 30. Rikia Apachito took first runner-up and Nyesha Padilla took second runner-up.

The coronation was held at the Wellness Center and many spectators, some dressed in traditional regalia, packed the gymnasium to witness the competition. The first round of competition took place on Wednesday, Sept. 25, with the frybread-making contest. Hundreds gathered to watch the event at Walter’s Park.

During the first round of competition, the three ladies illustrated this year’s theme for Indian Days, “Come Together & Reunite – Ahi’diniln?aa goooh’ Ahn’he Kááh’.

They each had fun, supported each other, cheered for each other and helped each other when needed. They exemplified teamwork and shared ayóó’óó’ní (love/care) throughout the competition.

“I really enjoyed the frybread contest and challenging our young women to demonstrate our day-to-day lifestyle of tradition and culture – I like it,” said Buddy Mexicano, Alamo Chapter president. “We need more events like this to promote culture and language.”

Alice S. Apachito, a community member, said this type of activity is an example for other young ladies and she enjoyed it thoroughly.

Nyesha Padilla, a contestant for Miss Alamo, said she is the first female to play varsity football for the Alamo High Cougars. She also enjoys art, whether painting on an empty canvas or sketching on paper. She encouraged others to never doubt their ability to succeed and that it takes confidence and self-discipline.

The pageant consisted of entertainment from Miss Ramah Navajo, Charmiqua Smith, Miss To’Hajiilee, Donata Secatero, and Manuel Guerro Sr. The best part of the Miss Alamo Navajo pageant was the traditional regalia contest where the audience, who all dressed in traditional attire, modeled their outfits and audience members who were 65 years or older showed their moves to the “Twist.”

The post Apachito named Miss Alamo Navajo appeared first on Navajo Times.

[Category: Community]

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[l] at 10/10/19 12:07am
Delores B. Jones

GALLUP — Funeral services for Delores B. Jones, 92, will be held Saturday, Oct. 12, at 10 a.m. at Rollie Mortuary in Gallup. Burial will follow at Sunset Memorial Park. Delores was born March 6, 1927, into the Tsenabahilnii (Sleep Rock People Clan), born for Naakai dine’é (Mexican Clan). She passed away in Gallup.

Delores was a Blue Star mother who worked as a Harvey Girl on the railroad. She also worked for the Navajo Nation Aging Services and was a homemaker, rancher, medicine woman, rug weaver, and best mother and grandmother in the world. Delores is survived by her sons, Leonard H. Jones, Leon H. Jones and Frank H. Jones; daughter, Jolene Jones-Yazzie; and sister, Rose Touchin. Pallbearers will be Leonard H. Jones, Leon H. Jones, Frank H. Jones, Darrel Jones, Mataio Lavea, Tali Lavea, and Ryan Manygoats. Rollie Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.

Freeman Stewart

FORT DEFIANCE — Funeral services for Freeman Stewart, 29, of Fort Defiance, were held Oct. 9 at The Potter’s House in Fort Defiance, with Pastor Martin Haven officiating. Interment followed in Fort Defiance.

Freeman was born Dec. 28, 1989, in Fort Defiance, into the Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water Clan), born for Táchii’nii (Red Running Into the Water People Clan). He passed away Oct. 3, 2019, in Albuquerque. Freeman attended Window Rock High School and was self-employed. He enjoyed spending time with family, BMX and was an Arizona Cardinals fan. Freeman is survived by his wife, Shabi Sheka; daughter, Meilani Star Stewart; mother, Betty Stewart; brothers, Timothy Toney, David Toney and Nolan Stewart; and sisters, Colleen Hoskie and Teresa Stewart.

Freeman is preceded in death by his father, Jimmie Stewart Sr. Pallbearers were Nolan Stewart, Tieron Johnson, Marcileno Yazzie, Erik Becenti, Kelby Uentillie, Brad Kaamasee, and Corey Nelson. Summit Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Nathaniel Max Platero

TO’HAJIILEE, N.M. — Funeral services for Nathaniel Max Platero, 34, of To’hajiilee, New Mexico, were held Oct. 9 at the Daniels Family Funeral Services-Alameda Mortuary in To’hajiilee. Interment followed in Laguna, New Mexico. Nathaniel was born Nov. 26, 1984, in Albuquerque. He passed away Sept. 29, 2019, in Gallup.

Nathaniel studied culinary arts at Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque, working in restaurants as a cook. He loved to cook and play games with his daughters. Nathaniel is survived by his mother, Gina E. Piaso and Darlene Platero; girlfriend, Samantha Ann Tenorio; daughters, Ayana Platero and Amber Platero; sister, Netta Piaso; brothers, Bobby Piaso III, Benjimen Piaso, Arron Esquibel, and Micheal Piaso; and grandmother, Helen Sandoval. Daniels Family Funeral Services—Alameda Mortuary was in charge of arrangements.

The post Obituaries for Oct. 10, 2019 appeared first on Navajo Times.

[Category: Obituaries]

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[l] at 10/3/19 3:29am
Pinon shortage. Sidekicks say No Pinions. No food. No money! People say it's the drought, it's the bark beetle.

Jack Ahasteen’s ‘toon for Oct. 3, 2019.

Select a thumbnail below to launch a gallery of Jack’s work so far this year: Jacks-cartoon100319 Jacks-cartoon-091919 Jack-cartoon-DIABETES9122019 Jacks-8-5 jack-cartoon-DED8292019 jackcartoonWRECKPARK82119 jackcartoonCODETALKER81419 jack-cartoon-FAIR882019 JACKCARTOON080119 ENERGYPOLICY7252019 071819---Jacks-Cartoon JACKAHASTEEN71119 Jacks-cartoon-July-4 JACKCARTOON6272019 Ahasteen-cartoon-CAMELBACK6202019 JACKCARTOON061316 060519-Jacks-Cartoon JACKCARTOON053019 Jack-Ahasteen-LCRO5232019 Jack-Ahasteen-051619GRADUATION JACKCARTOON050919 Jacks-Cartoon-050119 JACKCARTOON042519 Jacks-Cartoon-041819 JACKCARTOON041119 JACKCARTOON442018a JACKCARTOON32819 jacks-cartoon-SOUL3212019 NTEC3142019 Jacs-cartoon-NGS372019 JACKCARTOON2282019 JacksCARTOON022119 JACKCARTOON021319 Jacks-Cartoon020619 JACKSCARTOON013119 Jack-cartoon-WASTE1242019 JacksCARTOON011719 Jack-1202019 Jacks-1-3-19

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[Category: Comics, comics, Jack Ahasteen]

As of 10/14/19 12:35am. Last new 10/12/19 8:25am.

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