I was doing a quick check of emails before heading to Navajo Council’s Budget and Finance Committee and I just had to share this press release from Gordon Bronitsky, who is a private entrepeneur that solicites Indigenous people to travel to Europe for cultural exchange. It appears that Bronitsky got Navajo Nation President Shelly to travel to Albuquerque, NM, to preach at a church. Part of his speech included his announcement that he signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Israel which means the Navajo Nation/Navajo people are in an MOU with Israel! Me thinks he’s abusing his presidential powers.
He needs to look after his own home. Yesterday, as I was driving back from the Uranium Task Force meeting, I saw a young mother with three children walking along the road. The kids were running around – playing. Their coats, which were unzipped, were flying from the coal winter wind. They looked like capes. I thought of my grandchildren and other children who prefer not to zip up their coats, no matter how many times they told to.
Anyway, I pulled over and they quickly jumped into my vehicle. The kids were 6, 8, 9. The mom was a single head of household. She told me that she had to go for a medical checkup and that her chidlren didn’t have school and so she had to take them with her.
The Navajo Environmental Protection Agency, which hosted the Uranium Task Force meeting, provided lunch, which was bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwiches and fries. I was too busy video taping and recording so I didn’t have time to eat. I offered the lunch to the kids and they quickly munched it down and fell asleep.
The mom said they missed the tribal transit bus to Ganado, Ariz., which is about 28 miles west of Window Rock, Ariz. She added that the transit bus no longer goes to Klagetoah, Ariz., which is about 14 miles south of Ganado. Klagetoh is where they lived. Her children have to catch the elementary bus at 6:10 am. Her two other children, who are in mid-school, walked about half a mile on a dirt road to catch their bus about the same time. They have running water she said but no electricity. Her only means of transporation, a van, broke down. The water pump went out and she replaced it. And then the battery died.
She was living at one of the reservation border towns but had to return home because she was unable to afford the cost of living. She tried attending nursing school but she said that she failed to apply for scholarships and so she ended up gettng about $1,200 in student loans, which is now keeping her from continuing her studies. The dad is no where to be seen…
I told her about the public hearings to gather data on the Status of Navajo Women. But the public hearings are in Tuba City, Chinle, and Shiprock, NM. Chinle is the closest site to her but it might as well be acros the country. I sugested that she submit her testimony via email and she said that she closest public wi=fi connection is in Ganado.
For years, and AI do mean years, about 28 years, I have been writing about the lack of child care services and more recently I wrote about President Shelly’s budget cut to the only public transportation on the reservation. The Council approved Shelly’s budget cut and then they approved a GRANT, not loan, for $4.1 million for Navajo Transitional Energy Company to buy a coal mine for $85 million from BHP Billiton, which is loaning the tribe the $84 million and another $4 million as a loan to NTEC to operate.
Meanwhile our children and mothers walk along the road in the cold.
And yes, I gave her and the children a ride all the way to their doorsteps and then drove back home to Window Rock.
May Peace Prevail on Mother Earth!
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly Speaks at Congregation Albert, Albuquerque, New
505 238 3739
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly spoke to Congregation Albert (http://
www.congregationalbert.org/) as part of erev Shabbat (Friday evening) services. He used this
opportunity to announce that the Navajo Nation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding
with the State of Israel to promote educational, business and cultural exchanges and
development. President Shelly first visited Israel this summer, and will meet with Prime
Minister Netanyahu in December.
His talk to Congregation Albert marks the first time any American Indian leader has addressed
a Jewish organization, and his visit sparked considerable interest and goodwill. Rabbi Harry
Rosenfeld presented President Shelly and his wife with a challah in appreciation of their visit.
After serving as a Navajo Nation Council Delegate for sixteen years and four years as Vice
President in the Shirley-Shelly Administration, Ben Shelly was sworn in as President of the
Navajo Nation on January 11, 2011.
President Shelly was born in Thoreau, New Mexico. He is of the Tó’aheedlíinii clan born for
Ts’ah Yísk’ídnii. His maternal grandfather is Ashiihi and his paternal grandfather is Totinii. His
wife of 45 years, First Lady Martha Shelly, is originally from Coyote Canyon. She is Tábaahí and
born for Tódích’ii’nii. Together they have five children and 10 grandchildren.
The President first began his service to the Navajo people in 1991 as a Council Delegate
representing Thoreau Chapter. As a member of the Transportation and Intergovernmental
Relations Committees, and chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, he also served for
12 years as a McKinley County Commissioner.
Before returning to the Navajo Nation in 1976, President Shelly lived in Chicago, Illinois for 16
years, working for a heavy equipment company as a supervisor. He owned and operated a fleet
maintenance and mechanic shop in Thoreau, before being elected to public office.
HERE IS THE WEB ADDRESS FOR BRONITSKY’S PRESS RELEASE