Tag Archives: Navajo Nation

My ‘Navajo’ Become The Largest Tribe In The U.S. Overtaking The ‘Cherokee’.


by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE. From ‘ABC News’. Check ‘Google News’ for more.

‘Navajo Code Talker’ statue at ‘Navajo Nation’ HQ in ‘Window Rock’, NM.
I took this picture in August 2018.

I, alas & alak, am NOT Navajo! But, I do identify with them very keenly & profoundly. I have spent a lot of time with them & on their reservations in Arizona since 1980. That I look like one helps & adds to why I relate with them at such a deep level. Native Navajos have said, more than once, that if they saw me in the reservation they would just think I was one of them & give it no further thought.

This increase in numbers, ironically, is related to COVID that continues to wreak havoc among the Navajo. A lot of folks that were Navajo, but had never registered as such, have done so recently to get the aid that is being given to these hard-hit folks. Sad.

COVID is still taking its toll. I just read that COVID-related Navajo deaths just surpassed 1,300. We really can’t afford to lose so many of these wonderful people.

‘My’ ‘Navajo Nation’ Decimated By 940 COVID Deaths To-Date!

by Anura Guruge


There wasn’t, because they were so persecuted & hunted down, that many to begin with — and by that I am only going back 18-months or so. Yes, they don’t help themselves when it comes to their health. Obesity & alcoholism & with that diabetes is epidemic. It is very, very sad. AND now COVID.

They can’t afford to lose this many, this quickly. Many, by nature, will be ‘elders’. With them we will again lose more culture, expertise, local knowledge & wisdom.

I wonder how many ‘Canyon de Chelly‘ guides MIGHT have died. Wow. I am trying to find out. Not good.

Please, at a minimum, share a THOUGHT for them.


My 2020 Thanksgiving post for MY Navajo.


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by Anura Guruge

Will The ‘Canyon de Chelly’ Navajo See Even A Cent Of This $6.5 Million ‘Wells Fargo’ Settlement With ‘Navajo Nation’?

by Anura Guruge


Click to access the original from “The Hill”. Google for more.


My concern is very simple. Will individual Navajo, like those in ‘Canyon de Chelly‘ (some of whom I know), get any of this money as a stipend, or Will the ‘Navajo Nation‘ insist on spending it, on behalf of them, on supposed projects that will benefit them?

To be fair, I see the pros and cons of both ‘solutions’.

True, some of the Navajo, though not all, will just fritter away whatever they get, on trivials, and will have nothing to show for it in days if not the end of the first day. Yes, they can be irresponsible and juvenile with money. But, part of that is that many have never had that much.

On the other hand, though they are supposedly getting better, I do not trust the ‘Navajo Nation‘. I think they are irresponsible, often naive and (as with all organizations of this type) there is the inevitable corruption.

So?

I have never been (thankfully) a Wells Fargo customer. I know that they were forced to pay all sorts of restitution for all of their egregious crimes. What I do not know is whether some of these other settlements will DIRECTLY compensate Navajos who were cheated, abused and robbed directly. I want restitution, directly, for whatever they lost.

Well, I just wanted to get this out. I am powerless to do anything. I am but a concerned outsider thousands of miles away.

But, I care deeply for the Navajo and always want what is BEST FOR THEM.


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Search ‘Navajo‘ and ‘Chelly


by Anura Guruge


Native American Tribe, In Wyoming, Get Back Their Ancient Hunting Rights Thanks To The Supreme Court.

by Anura Guruge


Click to access the CNN story.


This is not my beloved Navajo BUT I applaud and celebrate each victory, how ever small, when it comes to all Native Americans. I can relate with them and to them.

This one, involving the Supreme Court no less, is a good one. Has to be with a BASIC right, that of hunting for food. They now have the freedom to hunt they enjoyed before the European incursion. That is how it should be. I am glad.

Another one for the Indians. Good for them.

That 4 Supreme Court judges voted against this shows the sad divisions faced by this country. This should have been a no brainer, BUT then again there is at least one who voted ‘no’ who has proven that he has been brain dead for decades.


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by Anura Guruge


Renewed Measures To Provide More Navajos, In ‘Navajo Nation’, With Grid-Based Electricity.

by Anura Guruge


Click image for ‘ABC News’ coverage.


Click to ENLARGE. The town talked about in this story. It is pretty remote.


More good news for the Navajos and they sure can do with as much as they can get.

On-demand, grid-based electricity is such a necessity. So much else depends on it — phone charging, Internet access, reliable refrigeration etc.

So, I was delighted to read about this. Must be so exciting. I hope it is affordable — because the Navajo are NOT rich. But, lovely people.

I hope this initiative dovetails with their new efforts to break into Solar Energy.


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by Anura Guruge


‘Navajo’ To Their Credit (But Also Cost) Moving From Coal To Solar Energy.

by Anura Guruge


Click to access ‘NPR’ original.


Click to ENLARGE and admire.


This is a painful and initially very-costly strategic decision by the Navajo. They have relied heavily on revenues from coal but it has also taken a toll on their health — and, alas, they are no longer the hearty and healthy folks they once were.

Navajo land is PRIME for solar farms. They have such huge tracts of SUN-BACKED open space, unused with no habitation for miles. So, this is good. I am glad and proud. I want the best for the Navajo. Such wonderful people (in general).

Not sure how they will cope with the transition. They really do need money. Poverty is widespread.


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by Anura Guruge


RED Dress Project (REDress), At The National Mall, To Highlight Violence Against Native Indian Women.

by Anura Guruge


Click to access the ‘Smithsonian.com’ original.


Click to access ‘The Washington Post’ article.



This the empty redress project is a wonderful thing IF NOT for the fact that it is trying to draw attention to a HORRIBLE crime taking place in this country — i.e., the violence against Native Indian women as well as their disappearance (as in gone forever).

It is tragic.

What makes it worse that much of it is perpetrated by Native Indian men, their relatives and their kinfolk.

The Native Indian authorities are doing an atrocious job protecting their own females, young and old.

I have seen it first hand in my many trips to the Navajo Nation.

The Native Indians have issues. This, the violence against women, is one of them.

We need MORE than just this eye-catching project. But, it is a good start. Bravo and THANKS.


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Search ‘Navajo‘.


by Anura Guruge


Partial Government Shutdown, Alas, Adversely Affecting The “Navajo Nation”.

by Anura Guruge


Click image to access the original article.


Click image to access the original article.


They, i.e., the Navajo living in and around the ‘Navajo Nation‘, have always been more vulnerable than most. Yes, some of it is their own making, but we are where we are. These folks rely on the Federal Government for many aid programs — even for clearing some of their major roads of snow during the winter.

This shutdown is really doing a number on them, but it goes unreported and unnoticed outside of Arizona and New Mexico because they have no media savvy. They basically have no voice.

There are quite a few Navajo working at ‘Canyon de Chelly‘ and ‘Monument Valley‘ — some as Park Rangers. They are not getting paid. That has a huge trickle down affect as many people rely on these federal salaries. Without that money, they are penniless. This is not good. This is sad.

I gather that ‘Canyon de Chelly’ remains open — in that both of the Rim roads are public thoroughfares and as such need to be kept open. Not sure how much snow they have had. If it has been dry the lookouts will be usable. Hate to think how much illegal trespassing is going on at the bottom. Upsets me greatly.

Just wanted to make sure you knew. So many don’t.


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by Anura Guruge


The Government Has To STOP Persecuting The Navajos At Canyon de Chelly!

by Anura Guruge


Click IMAGES to ENLARGE.


2015: Navajos permitted to sell on the pavement &
sell art featuring the local stone from the Canyon.


One of the paintings on stone shown above —
which we bought.

Notice the thickness of the stone.


Other example of paintings on stone.


The persecution of the Navajo at Canyon de Chelly by U.S. government authorities, now in the form of the National Park Service, is still happening — on an accelerating basis.

They are getting pushed around. The Navajo Nation is not doing much to protect them. They do not have the skills, experience & the resources to take on the Park Service. Plus, they are petrified of harassment at the personal-level. Being barred from access to the Canyon — chief among them.

It is true that they are no longer being shot, made to undergo ‘Long Walks’ or have their children forcefully send to Christian boarding schools. But, nonetheless, the persecution is cruel and hurtful.

Between our visit in April 2015 and our recent trip at the end of July, THREE very specific attacks have take place.

  1. Navajos can no longer display their wares for sale to the tourists on the ground or on tables. Their displayed good have to be on a parked vehicle. So, if they have a truck they can use the tailgate. Many do NOT have trucks. So, they put towels on the hood and trunk of their cars and display their wares that way.
     …..
  2. Navajos can no longer sell any art featuring stone from the Canyon. They have to use purchased slate.
    ……
  3. The Park Service is threatening to stop them living in the National Monument part of the Canyon.
    …..

This persecution in inane and very distressing.

In the end this is THEIR land. What is left of all the land that used to be theirs by right.

Having them sell their art and jewelry from the ground or tables did NO harm. They did NOT get in the way. This is not the Grand Canyon or Yosemite. The car parks are rarely packed. Plus the Navajos provide a VALUABLE service — since you will never find or see a Park Ranger on the Rims. The Navajos acts as FREE guides and narrators.

As for the stone … What can you say. Yes, I agree that nobody should be allowed to chisel any new stone from the Canyon. But, there are tons of stone lying around. And here is where it gets crazy and very frustrating. There are NO such restrictions re. stone at ‘Monument Valley‘ and that is Navajo land too. Difference, NO Park Service.

They say they want to build a pavilion in which the Navajo can sell their wares. They have one of those at ‘Monument Valley’. It is EMPTY!

Monument Valley. The EMPTY shops in the ‘pavillion’.

 


Related posts:
Search ‘Chelly’ & ‘Navajo’.


by Anura Guruge

Do You Know Of Any Famous Navajos?

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE.


I don’t, BUT do YOU — other than, of course, the justly famous Navajo Code Talkers?

Well when we were at Canyon de Chelly (AZ) last week I asked this from five ‘educated’ & ‘articulate’ Navajos: two licensed Navajo guides, two very bright and talented students and one gifted artist. They could NOT come up with any names — other than ‘you know there is that actor‘. I didn’t know, and had to Google him. Not sure he is that famous.

So, what gives here? This bothers & worries me.

There are supposedly (per what I heard on the radio while out in the ‘Navajo Nation‘) close to 400,000 Navajo in the U.S. That is a respectable number.

So, I started by checking it out on Wikipedia. I found this, NOT counting the native artists — and they, with all due respect, don’t really count because they have no competition so to speak.



Click to ENLARGE. Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navajo



Maybe I am being unrealistic or missing something. But, I, however, don’t think so.

Let’s go back to the start. You would have expected the five Navajos that I spoke to rattle off a list. A list they knew. One guide told me that nobody had ever asked him that question, i.e., who are the famous Navajo.

Yes, they have issues and problems. I have seen it first hand. This was NOT my first rodeo with Navajo. It was my fourth visit to the Navajo Nation and I have been spending time in Arizona Indian reservations since the early 1980s.

Things, ALAS, are NOT getting better. If anything worse. Yes, of course, you see a few exceptions — youngsters doing real well and that give you hope — but not as much as you would like,

I intend to write more on this because I did spend a fair amount of time talking to as many Navajos as I could to try and understand their issues and lives.

My goal is to try and help them as much as I can — and I know that I can’t do much. But, maybe I can give them a voice, some visibility and a platform.

Click to access post and the YouTube video of the haunting prayer song.


Related posts:
Search ‘Chelly’ & ‘Navajo’.


by Anura Guruge