I’ve run into a bump on the road, folks and so I’m not sure how long I’ll be blogging, taking photos, and video taping. I came into the Navajo Council chambers this morning to blog about the Council work session on Delegate LoRenzo Bates’ Legislation 0367-13, which relates to the tribal government take over of BHP coal mining operation via Navajo Transitional Energy Company, LLC. As I started to set up my laptop, tri-pod, video camera, a legislative staff member told me that I was no longer allowed on the Council floor. I went into the Council’s west conference room which is basically the coffee room to ask why I was not allowed on the Council floor. Delegate Joshua Butler told me that it was for safety reasons because of what happened during the Council’s Dec. 23 session. Former Council Delegate and current Shiprock, NM, Chapter President Duane “Chili” Yazzie stood up to the Council and demanded that the voices of the People be heard. Chili also sharply criticized the Council for making a decision regarding their take over of BHP’s coal mining operation without public hearings. He basically called the Council shameless. Speaker Naize called the Navajo police on the Shiprock Chapter President. But he refused to leave and so the Council’s Naa’bik’iyati Committee adjourned. Representatives of the Dine’ CARE and other grassroots groups spoke out in support of Chili and the police escorted them out of the Council chamber.
Delegate Leonard Tsosie said that the Council floor belonged to the Council. Jarvis Williams, chief of staff for Speaker Naize, said that they googled my name and I was not working for any news media. I said that I was Independent Media. Delegate Butler said that I wasn’t Independent and he knew that because he read my website/blog. Chief of Staff Williams also cited my website/blog as the reason that I was no longer allowed on the Council chamber. But the Council said that individuals working for newspapers, such as the Navajo Times, Farmington Daily Times and Gallup Independent would be allowed on the Council floor.
And so I thank Chief of Staff Williams for acknowledging the power of Independent Media and that my website/blog was doing what it was created to do which was to keep an eye on the Navajo government because the People were being informed and they were questioning their elected officials.