I’m here at the Quality Inn where Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly and Albuquerque Mayor Berry and their staff are meeting behind closed doors – since 11 a.m.
Shelly’s staff assistant Deswood Tome came out of office and said that the meeting might open to the media/public in 20 minutes.
Here’s a link to the latest story regarding the brutal murder of two homeless Navajo men in Albuquerque, NM.
Columnist looks at efforts by the Navajo Nation to take care of its people wherever they may live:
In the wake of the beating deaths of two tribal members in a field on Albuquerque’s West Side last month, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly traveled to Albuquerque to get some answers.
He called for the FBI to investigate the killings to determine if the homeless men were singled out because they were Native American and he met with Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry to talk about how their two governments can do a better job of offering help and protection to homeless Navajos.
Shelly also spent time at the Albuquerque Indian Center, a social service center for urban Indians and a way station for men like Allison Gorman and Kee Thompson, the men beaten to death while they slept in a vacant lot, who find themselves unmoored by poverty, homelessness and alcohol and far from home.
In his talk there, Shelly reminded everyone that Gorman and Thompson were “five-fingered ones.”
During the decades I covered the Navajo Nation, I often heard that expression – “five-fingered ones” – to describe human beings and I always appreciated its descriptive eloquence. It’s a graceful way of saying, no matter who we are or where we come from, we’re all part of the same human family.
As a city family, Albuquerque has a responsibility to do everything it can to keep everyone safe – regardless of whether they’re tucked safely in a home in Four Hills or asleep in a field. And as a tribal family, the Navajo Nation has a responsibility to do everything it can to keep its people healthy and whole everywhere they live – not just on the reservation home.
There was nothing about the deaths of Gorman and Thompson that wasn’t utterly awful.