Navajo Water Rights Groups Respond to President’s Water Settlement Signoff
By Dine Water Rights
Photos: Navajo water rights marches by Dine' Water Rights
Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., has signed the Northeastern Arizona Water Rights Settlement, now making complete the coup, or outside takeover, of the three branches of our government. That settlement minimizes our rights, constrains us like a straightjacket, and puts us farther on the road to complete suppression.
“Great nations like great men should keep their word.” This famous sentence was written by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, in his dissent in the 1960 case of Federal Power Commission v. Tuscarora Indian Nation. He was distressed that the majority of the Court betrayed both the Tuscarora’s trust and the honor of the United States by allowing the violation of treaties with the Tribe and the flooding of their reservation. That is how we feel today; distressed and violated by our own Council and President, who have dishonored the People’s trust and the oaths they took to uphold the promises of our Treaties.
Like tribes of old, our government has been infiltrated by representatives of outside interests who completely control the information received and decisions made by our central government leaders, while, at the same times, excluding the People from access to their own government. Worst among these infiltrators is long-time water lawyer Stanley Pollack. (You can “google” the 2008 article “Navajo Water Rights: Truths and Betrayals” for some of the deceptions, falsehoods, misrepresentations, etc., Pollack has perpetrated against our People) This kind of thing is not new to tribes in modern times. For example, our neighboring tribes, the Hopis, were, for decades, duped and subverted by their late and mistakenly trusted lawyer, John Boyden, who secretly sold them out to corporate and state interests. They were able to confirm this only after his death. (See the book “Fire on the Plateau” by renowned federal Indian law professor Charles Wilkinson.)
While state and corporate interests refer to Stanley Pollack as the best lawyer they ever had, our naïve, deceived, and self-interested leaders, the majority of whom are now under criminal indictment for misappropriation of funds, merrily follow his every whim—like domesticated animals down to the watering hole.
We are reminded of two great Indian country leaders of the Lakota People, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, who were betrayed and slain by members of their own tribe who conspired with government agents. That kind of betrayal is what has happened to us, from our Council and President, as orchestrated by Pollack and his henchmen and women.
It is now left solely up to the Navajo People to try and dig ourselves out of this quagmire of treachery, disloyalty, and internal abuse that President Shirley and the Council have aided outside interests with--in oppressing the Navajo people. This is one of the saddest chapters in our history. To the 51 council delegates and President Shirley, your legacy will be forever remembered as the ones who gave up our precious water rights to outsiders, in 2010.
As advocates for our people, we will also exercise our Treaty rights, which are the People’s, in our fight to reverse this injustice and to put into motion steps to banish this bad man, Pollack, from our Reservation.
Submitted by members of Dine’ Waters Rights
Kim Smith, 505-573-8171, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronald Milford, 928-606-0787, email@example.com
Adella Begaye, 928-349-0381, firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.dinewaterrights.org/ Water is Life! Protect our Future!