Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

December 18, 2013

Dine' Ed Becenti: Ask not what your Navajo Nation can do for you


Ask not what your Navajo Nation can do for you

By Ed Becenti, Dine'
Letter to the Editor
Censored News
With the death this week of Nelson Mandela, we thought of people like him and John F. Kennedy who really cared about their countries.  Kennedy’s quote “Ask not what your country can do for you, Ask what you can do for your country” is an all-time favorite.
Council Speaker Johnny Naize is facing multiple counts of bribery, and one of conspiracy, relating to the Council’s infamous “slush fund.”  There are also “the usual council delegate suspects” and various others mixed up in this mess according to a recent news release.
We have two cultures here; the Navajo culture and the corruption culture.  The second reaches beyond the Council, to places like the Office of the President. We already know about the deal former delegate Ben Shelly (now President) struck with prosecutors and the court on the same type of slush fund activity.

What most people don’t know is that these behaviors also qualify for federal prosecution, but our “trustee” U.S. Department of Justice is not looking out for us.  They are influenced by the Navajo Nation Department of Justice which knows about and also benefits from the continuing chaos and corruption in our government.
DOJ benefits from a weakened and uninformed Navajo government because this helps DOJ in serving its real clients.  These real clients of DOJ are the outside corporations (like the NGS owners and BHP), politicians (like Jon Kyl and John McCain), and other interests (like the surrounding states) that it is giving our resources and future away to.  It’s been going on for decades.  The most notorious giveaway artist is water lawyer Stanley Pollack.
Yes, he’s still here, even after the water wagon fraud and the S. 2109 attempted giveaway of billions of dollars’ worth of our water rights that he co-engineered against us in 2012.  He’s doing it again in the Utah water settlement, and hiding that one (and the truth) from the people and our fearless leaders more than he did with S. 2109.
Who lets Pollack and those like him stay?  It’s the same leaders mixed up in the Window Rock corruption.  It’s been going on for decades.
The majority of our leaders are asleep at the wheel and lining their pockets, while the Navajo Nation goes down the ditch.  Every day our sovereignty and credibility are damaged by what goes on in Window Rock.  Ben Shelly, Naize, the Council, and DOJ try to blame the federal government, the Hopis, and others, but the fact is the greatest single enemy of our survival as a Native Nation is Window Rock—which is controlled by an out of control DOJ.
We the People can change what’s going on.  It’s a two-step process: get informed and then go vote.
But maybe it’s really a three step process, with one in between these two.  We have to find people to vote for who care more about our Nation and us than they do about themselves or about pleasing the parasites who want to take away from us our water and other resources at bargain basement prices or less.
So, what do we do about Johnny Naize?  Well, that is a two-step process.  The suspicion and charges surrounding him are badly damaging the Nation.  He needs to be completely removed from the Speaker position (he has a right to remain a delegate) while the criminal proceedings take their course.  He absolutely cannot make the choice about who becomes Speaker pro tem.  If he’s allowed to do that, he’s only putting in his man or woman to replace him.  The stigma remains.
The Council has to take appropriate action and choose a pro tem Speaker.  If Naize is convicted or pulls a Shelly act, he has to be permanently removed from the Speakership.
This is a crisis in confidence, and worse, and it’s damaging our Nation and us.  The
Council has to do the temporary fix now.  A permanent fix of removal as Speaker is warranted if Naize is convicted or pleads “no contest.”
The Dine’ have to take over in 2014, find the right people to run for office---using  such leaders as Kennedy, Mandela, Ganado Mucho, Barboncito, Manuelito, or Crazy Horse as comparisons---and then carry out a peaceful revolution through the ballot box and save our Navajo Nation.

Ed Becenti
Dine’ Grassroots Liaison

St. Michaels, Arizona

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