Volume I       						Issue V		 
1997-98					              Spring 1998

The Editor, Mike Smith, gets to say what he wants. There is no editorial "we."
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Hale Resigns

Highest Honor To Wilma Mankiller Broken Treaty Fix-All The Right To Believe
Good Intentions -
Bad Medicine
Million Dollar
Navajo Rug
The Electric Prayer
Hopi Villages Closed Kickapoo Satellite TV Navajo Dam in Top 50
Oil In Bisti Wilderness? End of Reservations? A Different VISTA
Black Mesa Report
Nations Under Construction
New Hopi Tribal Chairman Jicarilla Politics Apache Coup
The Long Walk Memorial

Navajo Notes
An Order of Fries Hale Defines Sovereignty English Only In Utah? Navajo National Anthem
Navajo Talent Awarded Navajo Paradigm Navajo Dude Ranch No Work - No Pay

Hale Resigns

Navajo Nation President Albert Hale has stepped down with a "heavy heart," and has apologized for "my shortcomings and the wrongs that I may have done while in office."

Rumors flew previous to the resignation and Tribal Police were put on alert for fear of violence, but all was done orderly.

There were memories of the 1989 riot when previous President MacDonald tried to regain power after he had been thrown out of office. Two of MacDonald's supporters were shot and killed in that attempted coup. MacDonald is still in prison and has recently apologized to his people.

Radio station KTNN in Window Rock, AZ, had been told that there was a possibility that Hale could be appointed as Attorney General under the new administration.

One of the the stipulations of an agreement reached between Hale and the Navajo Nation Ethics Office is that Hale cannot seek an elected office for five years. Hale has also agreed not to comment.

Here is a quote from an e-mail from George Joe of the Navajo-Hopi Land Commission.

"Let me be the first to report that KTNN's report that Hale may be appointed Attorney General is a absolutely wrong.

Hale left on his own will.  There is no unrest. The government is stable and everyone is working fine.

Hale issued a press release on Friday stating that he is going on vaction and that the new president has taken action so that Hale's former secretary will keep track of his mail for a while."

Ex-President Hale has had a flamboyant and beleagured run in his office, with many recent controversial statements from him that have made him a target for disapproval.

He has "gone fishing" and Navajo Nation Vice President Thomas Atcitty (AHT'-sit-ee) replaces Hale.

Some of the recent highlights of Hale's career may be found in articles in the previous
Four Corners Clamor One, and the Four Corners Clamor Four.


Presidential Medal of Freedom
To Wilma Mankiller

On January 15, 1998, President Clinton bestowed the highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, upon Wilma Mankiller, previous Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

Mankiller is the first woman elected chief of a major Native American Indian Tribe, and served two terms from 1985 to 1995.

Clinton praised Mankiller for "bringing opportunity, a higher standard of living, improved health care and quality education to Native Americans."

Mankiller, who had been re-elected to a second term with 82 percent of the vote, said that receiving and award for something she loved to do was like "giving a bird an award for singing."

The Broken Treaty Fix-All

As of this writing a bill before the Senate could declare the 554 Native American Indian tribes as wards of the State.

Senator Slade Gorton, Republican from Washington State, has added an amendment to an Interior Department funding bill that forces all the tribes to choose between giving up their sovereign immunity or losing as much as $767 million.

An 1832 treaty, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court in all cases, states that this federal funding is payment for lands taken from the tribes.

The amendment, which has been called a "choice between bankruptcy and sovereignty," was quietly attached without any public discussion.

Loss of sovereignty would be the loss of immunity from civil lawsuits, which is a right that all tribes, states, and the Federal government share.

One man stands against this: Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a Republican from Colorado, and the only Native American Indian in the Senate.

The Right To Believe

A statement by Mr. Abdelfattah Amor,
United Nations Special Rapporteur

At a press conference in Phoenix, AZ, on February 9, 1998, Mr. Abdelfattah Amor explained his mandate as Special Rapporteur, and spoke on the right to believe.

Here is a link to the full document on Universal Declaration of Human Rights

He is in the United States to investigate religious intolerance and abuse of human rights. This investigation includes charges concerning human rights being abused at Black Mesa.

Mr. Amor, speaking in French through his interpreter, stated plainly that the right to believe is absolute, and that there are no limitations as to how old or new any belief is, nor how large or small any group of believers, nor whether that belief is accepted by tradition, the right to believe is unabridgable. This right includes the freedom not to have a religion or a belief.

He gave these examples of the many documents originating from the United Nations concerning the freedom of religion and belief.

  • The 1948 Declaration, Article 18, which deals specifically with the freedom of religion and belief.
  • The 1966 Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, Article 18.
  • The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion and Belief. Adopted on 25 November, 1981.
  • The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has not yet been ratified by the United States or by Somalia.

Good Intentions - Bad Medicine

An Aspen, CO City Councilman has unwittingly called a curse upon himself says Kenny Frost, a Southern Ute spiritual consultant.

When the Utes were removed from the Aspen area in 1879 they put a curse on the area, which includes Burnt Mountain.

To protest the expansion of a skiing area, the councilman, Terry Paulson, climbed the 13,000 foot mountain in 1992 and built a circle of stones, working through the night.

This was accompanied by a self-devised ritual to "lend power to the mountain." Those were the good intentions.

The bad medicine has several sides to it. Since then there have been personal mishaps to Paulson, such as a crashing a paraglider into a ski gondola cable and a few other accidents, but these have been dismissed as "ordinary."

Added to this is the fact that the mountain is a Native American Indian archaelogical site and is under the protection of the Native American Antiquities Act. Federal offense.

Paulson has stated that his actions were with good intentions and he is willing to remove the stone wheel with the guidance of Frost.

When Frost speaks of the evil spirits and the desecration of the mountain he uses the phrase: "We have been lenient until now, but we want it removed."

Classic Navajo Rug for Sale

Some say it is worth $1 million, some say $5 million, but everyone agrees that it is a big rug.

The Chilchinbeto rug measures 26 by 28 feet and it is the second largest multi-designed Navajo rug in the world. And it is for sale to the highest bidder this June.

Sotheby's of New York is offering this classic Navajo rug as part of an auction featuring Native American Indian arts and crafts.

The rug was a group project by weavers of the Navajo Chilchinbeto Chapter as part of a public works program about 15 years ago, and has attracted the interest of foreign buyers.

The Chilchinbeto Clinic, who will benefit from the proceeds, will be sending a medicine man in April to bless the rug. The results of the auction are in Little Sister Unsold

The Electric Prayer

With all of the confusion going on between the traditionalists and the new wave modernists, I thought this was going to be something strange.

But it seems that this artist has captured a thought and a lesson in an appealing and startling new artform.

The artist, Navajo Bert Benally, has entitled his creation Hataal/Ceremony.

It is a moving exhibition. Literally. The metal figures are animated and the display is lit by neon tubes that Benally crafted himself.

In the center is a sandpainting that represents the Navajo healing ceremonies and this is surrounded by an inner circle that Benally says shows the "root causes of the deep pain and confusion of the world."

The directions in the circle:

  • EAST: A white neon Bible as a statement of the damage that Christianity has done to Navajo religion and beliefs. Overlooking from the outside at the East is a Navajo Medicine Man, as a reminder of balance.
  • SOUTH: A large dollar bill, with traditional values represented by plants and livestock.
  • WEST: Two neon guns, with figures representing the family as being able to overcome violence.
  • NORTH: A television set, the figures of Mother Earth and Father Sky, and an old Navajo man kneeling and holding an eagle feather.
Four figures that represent gods watch from the edge.

One of the figures in the artwork is a "white person who separates the West from the North."

EDITOR: "White" as a value puzzles me. Is it the mix of all color,
or the absence of all color?
It seems to be a choice.

Hopi Masks

The three Hopi villages of Shungopavi, Mishongnovi, and First Mesas are now closed to non-Native American Indians during kachina dance ceremonies.

The decision, which is called "unfortunate" due to a reliance on tourism, was prompted by the theft of eleven sacred Hopi ceremonial masks.

An art dealer, who had been called "the devil," had begun the thefts in 1995 and was later tried and convicted.

The Kickapoo and Willie, Too

He's everywhere, again!

Remember when turning on the radio meant hearing Willie Nelson - and turning the dial meant hearing Willie Nelson?

He's back.

The Kansas Kickapoo Tribe and Willie Nelson are now partners in a world-wide 24 hour satellite TV network, which began operations on January 24, 1998.

A feature of the network is "Outlaw Music Channel," which began operating on February 14, 1998, and presents over 1400 hours of "old time" country music, ie, "Virtually every country music artist that performed from the 1960's to the 1980's."

This has been a dream of Willie's for a long time and his goal is two-fold: To honor the originators of American country music, and "to preserve the heritage of Native Americans by presenting their music, culture, history and legends."

This will be a first, and the Kickapoo Tribe will go down in history books as the first Native American Indians to be TV moguls.

The name CNI stands for "Cowboys and Indians" network.

Not A Fish Story

Sports Afield magazine has named Navajo Dam as one of the top 50 sporting towns in the nation. One community in each state was chosen and this little town of 300 people ranked first in New Mexico.

Many factors were considered, such as low prices and "real people," but the main reason is no secret to any fisherman. World class waters; world class trout.

The minimum keeper size is 20 inches and the San Juan River often yields rainbow and brown trout "as big as a man's leg." That's the tailwater fishing, there's more just upstream.

Navajo Lake is known for it's pike and salmon and all the other gamefish that are expected. If you don't want to catch them the water is clear enough for snorkeling, and for the more adventuresome, scuba diving will get you right down there where the big ones live.

This sounds like an advertisement but I got excited about all this as I was writing it.

Bisti Drilling

An area called the "link" between Bisti Wilderness and De-Na-Zin Wilderness may come under gas and oil development. An impact statement will be completed by the year 2000. Some testing has already begun in the area. The protests are soon to follow.

To Abolish The Reservations

Alan Aker, a candidate for the U.S. Senate wants to do away with the "reservation system" entirely, claiming that it is a failure. He also says reservations conflict with "many of the principles which make America a great nation." Here are his statements against the reservation system:

  • Indian reservations, as they exist today, do not satisfy the terms of the treaties in question.
  • If those treaties were in force today, over half the land in South Dakota would be a sovereign tribal nation or nations.
  • White people would live there at the pleasure of the tribes and would live under laws enacted and enforced by tribes.
  • Reservations are not now and haven't been sovereign nations. They have been an American ghetto forced on defeated nations by conquerors who were too bigoted to accept Indians as Americans with equal status.
  • They have been an inefficient way to deliver federal welfare on the basis of race.
  • No substitute exists for self-sufficiency and economic development in solving the problems that exist now on reservations.
  • There is nothing inherent in Indians as a race which condemns them to live in the conditions we find on reservations.
Aker is running in the November 1998 election, but promises to serve only two consecutive terms if he is elected. He said that career politicians "eventually lose their ties to constituents."

After a stint in the Senate, Aker said he might return to logging "or even run for the House."

Editor's Note: Here's the place where I get to say what I want, but to contradict one of the statements would be to agree with another.

A Different VISTA

A letter to an editor reveals this statement by Carl Gorman over 30 years ago:

At Fort Defiance at a meeting of VISTA volunteers Carl Gorman shared his view of the VISTA program saying that he understood it. "You have young people in your culture that don't fit in. You are sending them here so that we Navajos can work with them to help them."

Black Mesa Report

One of the largest coal deposits is at Black Mesa, AZ. A strip mining project by Peabody Coal, of England, has led to serious charges by the Navajo people.

Here is a general outline as reported:

  • The Navajo foundation of belief is hozho, "to walk in beauty."
  • This interfers with many development projects by many outside interests.
  • In the past 30 years 10,000 Navajo sheepherders has been removed from land near Black Mesa. Some at gunpoint.
  • Four thousand graves and sacred places have been desecrated.
  • Charges are that the Peabody Coal Company, U.S. agents, and Hopi police have impounded livestock illegally.
  • Nine thousand people have been moved, many to a large radioactive area along the Rio Puerco. This compares to the Internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War Two.
  • The price tag of this has been more than a quarter of a billion dollars to U.S. taxpayers.
  • Destruction to the land by coal strip-mining has made the land uninhabitable, possibly for 75,000 years.
  • Coal revenues account for nearly 40% of the Navajo Tribal budget and 80% of the Hopi Tribal budget.
  • The slurry line, which mixes coal with water to send through a pipeline, has used nearly one billion gallons of drinking water from the Navajo and Hopi aquifer.
  • All of the wells may be dry within four years.
  • Peabody Coal plants trees as "restoration." All of the trees are dead.
  • This is not "walking in beauty."

New Hopi Tribal Chairman

Wayne Taylor, Jr. was sworn in on February 5, 1998 as the new Hopi Tribal Chairman, and stated that the Hopi will enter the year 2,000 "on their own terms."

Attending the ceremony was Thomas Atcitty, who is now the new Navajo Nation President.

Taylor claimed that the two tribes are entering a period of peace between them, and that the Hopi Partitioned Lands dispute is now settled.

Recently the Hopi refused to allow a burial request by the Navajo
on the now "undisputed" land.

And this just in: On March 3 a candidate claims he was excluded from the general election for Tribal Chairman illegally.

Caleb H. Johnson has asked a federal court for a new election, contending that absentee ballots from precincts off the reservation were against tribal election rules, and that many of the absentee ballots were not marked or counted correctly.

Furthermore . . .

Jicarilla Politics

There is a lesson here. I'm not sure what it is. But let us hope that Washington, D.C. does not get it.

  • February 6, 1998: Jicarilla Tribal Council presents a document of impeachment charging Tribal President Arnold Cassador.
  • February 10: Cassador resigns two days before his scheduled meeting to face the charges.
  • February 13: Vice President Roger Vicente serving as acting president.
  • February 19, 1998: Cassador withdraws resignation claiming the Tribal Council did not have a quorom when accepting resignation.
  • Same day: A petition with signatures representing 30 per cent of the Jicarilla voters is filed calling for the recall of the Tribal Council. The requirement for a recall election is 25 per cent.
  • February 24: The recall petition is certified by the Tribal Election Board, but a week later they declare the petition to be invalid, as it was "improperly written." The Acting Tribal President, Ron Julian, (I don't know when this happened) believes force was used to get signatures.
  • In the interim is "a constitutional question." There was no quorum when resignation was accepted. Resignation was withdrawn. Quorom was formed with nothing "on the table" as it had been withdrawn.
  • March 3: An interesting statement by Cassador, "I had to choose between man and God." On the same day that the papers of impeachment were served Cassador's sister-in-law passed away, and since this required an eight-day cleansing ceremony, Cassador resigned to fulfill this without distraction. After the eight days Cassador withdrew his resignation.
  • March 20: Petition is filed for the recall of all of the council members and the vice-president. That would be Roger Vicente, who lasted about a week as acting president. The charges are that the council "groundless charges" against Cassador, and for ordering the tribal police chief to evict officers and employees.
  • April 10, 1998: Is the date set for Special Primary election for new president.
  • Cassador is a candidate in the special April 10th election.

The Jicarilla are not the only tribe to be embroiled in these shake-ups. As the un-rest spreads . . .

Apache Political Coup

The San Carlos Apache tribe has taken politics one step further. Talk has ceased on March 20 and the supporters of the Tribal Chairman Raymond Stanley affected a coup by occupying tribal headquarters.

Sandra Rambler, the tribal press spokesperson who has been fired many times by the Tribal Council, but has been re-instated by Stanley, said, "We're taking over the government. This is a day in history."

At the heart of the matter is a budget deficit of $8.6 million and a constitutional reform.

Stanley and his supporters want a separation of powers, a larger tribal council, and to remove the BIA's veto power in many areas. This reform was rejected by the Tribal Council.

The takeover is to remove Vice Chairman Marvin Mull Jr. and the nine elected members of the council. The BIA has stated that they will not get involved unless reinforcements are needed by the tribal police.

Conditions on the San Carlos Indian Reservation are not good. Unemployment is at 65 per cent and 80 per cent live at or below the poverty level.

The Long Walk Memorial

June 1, 1868 was the signing date for the treaty that allowed the Navajo to return to their homelands, and since then many ceremonies have taken place to put unpleasant memories to rest. Four generations have passed since Kit Carson "crusaded" against the Navajo.

So it is with "mixed feelings" that the Navajo consider the building of a memorial to that Long Walk.

First the history:

This should not be forgotten. It should ring down through history
as a reminder that being "right" is the most dangerous belief.

The Long Walk Memorial

Since 1971 Navajo have been bringing stones to Bosque Redondo creating a shrine. Now there are plans to spend $3.5 million for a visitors center and memorial. The money has been approved since 1992, the drawings are done and the target date for completion is the year 2000.

Now I'm sure going to say what I want:

That's a lot of money. There are almost a quarter of a million Navajo out on the Rez.

Every winter these people are hungry and cold.

So what a grand idea to spend money on a project to remind us of the hungry and cold of Bosque Redondo while neglecting the hungry and cold of today.

Did I say "hungry and cold" enough? Hungry and cold.

Navajo Notes

French Fry Project Approved

Though the proposal has "irked" many Navajos, the french fry project has been approved. The Navajo Nation Council will spend $10 million as their share of financing of the project, which has a price tag of $65 million.

The potatoes will be grown right next door, 15,000 acres of them, and the frozen fries will be sold to national fast food chains.

George Arthur, who is a past board member of the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry (NAPI), and is now Council delegate for the Nenahnezad and San Juan chapters of San Juan County, has some doubts, and says that "past joint ventures have never been successful."

Arthur also states that though he has been informed that NAPI has operated at a profit for 3 out of 5 years, in the "real business world" this would not considered to be true.

He adds that cost of land and water are not included as factors in this, and the statistics are "somewhat misleading."

Mr. Arthur, would you explain that to the U.S. government? Your wisdom could be applied to the fiasco in Western Kansas.

Hale Defines Sovereignty

Mr. Albert Hale, who recently resigned as President of the Navajo Nation, is not really gone and will certainly never be forgotten.

In a statement in January of 1998, Hale presented his definition of sovereignty: "The right to be or not to be, the right to be Navajo," and "the right to live as we have lived before."

This is one of many statements from tribal leaders as the various tribes seek to present a united front of Native American unity, based on a "statement of fundamental principles."

This should prove to be interesting as it develops and may even serve as guidance to many issues facing the United States today. It was, after all, the advice of the Eastern Tribes that helped form the U.S. Constitution.

You may find a related article on Iroquois Women of interest.

English Only In Utah

"Save a little and lose a lot" seems to be the reasoning behind a bill being considered by the Utah State Legislature. The bill is now in committee and would make English the official language of Utah.

This would save some money as state documents would not have to printed in other languages. Farther reaching consequences would be "English only" in newspapers, on the radio, and at public meetings.

One of the protesters in a 1,000 strong march in Salt Lake City was Sam Billison, a World War Two Navajo Code Talker. The eloquence of this requires no comment.

It does however raise some questions, and some that puzzle me most are:

  • Is the Navajo Nation part of Utah?
  • Will Utah need a name change? Named after the Ute Tribe.
  • Who will teach English, like, whatever?
See our
Language Links page.

Navajo National Anthem

Yes, there is an anthem for the Navajo Nation, and the writers are serving notice that it has been copyrighted.

As much of it as can be, but more about that later.

First of all, congratulations to Katherine Corrine Arviso, a co-owner of the copyright with her father; her parents, Paul and Doris Tsosie, who wrote the words "from their hearts and minds with prayer;" and to her uncle, Jack C. Jackson, who had first requested Katherine Arviso to sing the song in Navajo.

Arviso says that the song has been growing in popularity since her first performance of it at the Indian Rodeo at the Arizona State Fair in 1991.

Two points to make: The melody is older than this country, so it is in public domain and is not copyrightable, as the new words are.

And, DO NOT invite Rosanne to sing it.

Native American Performers
Honor Three Navajo Talents.

At the Sixth Annual First Americans in the Arts (FAITA) awards ceremony these three Navajos were presented what have been called the "Academy, Grammy and Tony" equivalents for Native American Indians.

  • Harrison Lowe, Navajo: Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for a Television Movie or Special. For "Buffalo Soldiers," as Apache warrior Victorio.
  • Brent Brokeshoulder, Navajo/Hopi/Shawnee: Outstanding New Performance by an Actor in Film or Television. For his role as Sam Coyote in "Walker, Texas Ranger." Brokeshoulder attends Gallup, NM, Mid-School, is 12 years old, and is shy. Way to go Brent!
  • Jock Soto, Navajo/Puerto Rican: Trustee Award for accomplishment in ballet.

Navajo Paradigm

The white man's paradigm is fractured. So says James A. Mischke, a social scientist and film maker.

He has been filming the Navajo way and believes that an understanding of ancient Navajo views of nature can guide mankind into the 21st century.

The fractured views of Newton and Descartes are at odds with the holistic practices that are to be found in the Navajo culture and discoveries such as the "Tao of physics" shows that the Navajo may be "in the forefront," says Mischke.

Mischke has been filming Navajo culture: In 1995 he made a documentary of "Trees for Mother Earth," a replanting project on the reservation that has replaced 50,000 trees since 1985. You may remember that the burning of Navajo fruit trees was one of Kit Carson's projects to bring about the relocation of the Navajo. See Longwalk.

Other films by Mischke have been about Navajo medicine men and the four sacred mountains. All projects have been produced by Italian film companies. The Italian interest is due to four sacred mountains in Italy, and Mischke says that he believes that "the universal unconscious mind puts things into fours."

The Navajo creation myth has shown concepts that are closely likened to discoveries in laser physics, and Mischkes goal is to present Navajo philosophy to the world in his belief that it contains metaphors that are very much needed in these times.

Hey, Dude

Plans are afoot for the Navajo Nation to open an Indian Cowboy Dude Ranch as early as April 1998 - at the base of the San Francisco Peaks.

These mountains are very much in the news lately, as there has been opposition to the expansion of a Ski Bowl which uses part of the area.

San Francisco Peaks are the home of the katsinas, who leave the mountains at the winter solstice in December to live with the Hopi until July. So according to Hopi belief the kachinas will not be present when the dude ranch begins operation.

The U.S. Forest Service says that it is "confused."

No Work - No Pay

This is a novel approach to politics. The Navajo Nation Council is considering a resolution that states that the salaries of Division Directors will be withheld if they do not act on directives made by Council Delegates.

No problem. Just don't act on this one, either.

Hopi Prophecy

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