Navajo President Shelly says he is not stopping horse roundups, just delaying them

I’m here at Navajo Nation “Horse Project: Past, Present, Future” two day conference, Aug. 15 & 16, at the Twin Arrows Casino & Resort. Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly pre-empted presentation on Navajo Nation Roundup by tribal agriculture department.

the council legislative act to get funding and for the roundup of horses was approved. we looked at the resolutions from chapter houses that showed that authority lies with grazing officials for horse roundups. that is the process approved by the council. the chapters are doing a good job and that is what is being told to me. but i’m also hearing that it is not working well. there are several things for discussion by people which includes stopping the horse roundups.

the council passed resolution to stop roundups but the council needs to rescind resolution for horse roundups before council can stop roundups. i told council that they need to rescind resolutions that approved horse roundups.

the land board, grazing officials, chapters have authority over regulations for management of horses. the grazing officials know what is happening at chapter/community level because they know who owns/has livestock.

from what i heard from local government officials, changes should be made and so we need to get together and strategies to make amendments to these policies. the navajo people are asking about the status of horse roundups. what is happening with horses? but people shud ask about land management and livestock management. and i’m the only one here talking about this.

there is a lot of problems with rounding up horses, corraling them, feeding them. people are saying that horses are being taken from them, along with feral horses which is why there needs to be training about horse roundups and land management.

we are not stopping roundups, just delaying it until it is done correctly.

other people are saying at chapter meetings that they oppose horse roundups but local government officials and community people.

people we don’t know are part of the horse roundup is what community people are saying. i say that we should have local young people paid to do horse roundups. i was told that unknown people are using ATVs to round up horses. I don’t know.

in the eastern agency there is land policy. if grazing permit is stamped with red seal then that is okay.

i assume that what i am talking about is happening in eastern navajo, in new mexico. the council needs to deal with grazing permits and legalizing policies.

there are tribal leaders using navajo law/fundamental navajo law, and they know but the rest of us don’t understand.

some community people know what is going on with legislation for land management and they should educate other community people.

i set aside funding for jobs for tribal medicine man’s association to teach the people about fundamental law.

i also heard that sheep, cattle are being confiscated during horse roundups. i asked my office attorney if that was true and she said yes. now the people are talking about sheep and cattle. why are we involving sheep and cattle?

at end of Sept. 31, with beginning of new tribal budget…lot of people say they don’t oppose roundups, they oppose how roundups are being conducted.

on issue of wild horses, some of these horses are wild, mean and they can run after you and bite you. that is what i am being told. wild horses that attack you. that is what community people say.

and i think it is true. people working in tribal government need to know what is happening at local level. people are also saying that quarter horses were rounded up from their corrals and they are asking for compensation. some were compensated.

i’m doing the best i can. and the people cry as they tell me their stories. the people said tribal rangers involved in roundup are mean, disrespectful and that they have guns. that is what people are telling me.

when I participated in tribal fair parade, i use to ride a horse but it was stamped by state and i was told that i could not ride it.

and i think that it is true that we need to look into how horse roundups conducted and also funding. a man also told me that his herd of cattle were taken and i am helping people like that. and that is what people are telling me.

65,000 feral dogs are also on navajo reservation. dogs are everywhere. we have vetenarians getting rid of dogs cuz spread disease. a long time ago, grazing committee members, chapter public employment workers took care of dogs, dog castration.

this is just a brief information about what i was told. i hope you design humane roundups, youth initiative, sanitary programs, memorandum of understanding with Bill Richardson and Robert Redford is still being made. but Redford is overseas. we need people to work with Richardson, who has $4 million in funding regarding horses. In Reno, Nev., I saw mural of horses but there is sanctuary for wild horses in Reno. maybe we cud do that.

we raised a colt, very small, pretty soon these young horse can get very aggressive, kick you, bite you which is why i sold them.

in next two days you will probably come up with great plan. don’t shout at each other. there are laws remember. we all need to work together which is why we are having this two-day conference. there are other tribes facing same problem as us and they should be here too.

if you are livestock owner on navajo reservation, take care of them, feed them well. thank you for listening.

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