Election season is again upon us, my fellow Navajo citizens and relatives, and the attention of a young nation is focused on the rhetoric and qualms of various leaders who upon election will seek to lead us in whatever fashion they deem as progressive. I, as well as you, have become incensed and frustrated with the dilapidated state our beloved Dine Bikeyah has fallen upon, wherever you may find us scattered about the world one unifying factor remains consistent; we are not content with our government.
The ears of our politicians favor the tongues of foreign- born lawyers and methodology rather than the voice and benevolent wisdom of our forerunners. Even in a scholarly capacity we are viciously silenced in all forums of government where we can effectively relay what we have learned in study to our own people. As a recent Navajo graduate of Arizona State University, I am finding the idea of “Education is the ladder” to be a façade used by my ‘Leaders’ to prop up foreign institutions that prepare our youth to fail in the outside world. This instance culminated in a visit paid by Ben Shelly and his cabinet to ASU on April 11, 2014. Whereas they demonstrated to an assembly of my cohorts and I they are completely unfit to hold the reigns of leadership of my Nation. No real plans for economic development were presented, and at times the cabinet displayed their own weakness by arguing with one another in a public forum over returned federal funding whilst we watched on in embarrassment. Shelly stood there with his finger waving in the air touting the progressive measures graciously pushed forward by his neo-socialism.
“The Navajo Nation is a socialist government!”
Things made much more sense after his self-damning declaration of foreign ideology as a cornerstone of Navajo Government. For my people unaware, Socialism is an economical idea standardized in the form of government innovated by Communist nations of the 20th century, whereby the power to consolidate economic decisions via committee is absolute. No ideas are allowed to fluctuate, and innovation is crippled in its capacity to renew a nation. Does the situation sound familiar?
The future of our young nation deserves better than a committee vote of outdated (and obsolete) political institutions created by non-Navajo people in a different time. Transparency has become a new buzz-word, so I, as a young patriot of my Navajo Nation beseech the voters to demand transparency and accountability from all of our leaders and branches. It is they who should fear the power of a unified Navajo people from all corners of our nation, not the other way around! Ben Shelly you are wrong, your people are not Socialist in their origin or values, and they do not consent to the continued misrepresentation of our values at home or abroad!
Our voice will be heard from the local chapterhouses to the border towns who abuse our patronage.
Faustino Trejo is 2009 graduate of Arizona State University. He is involved with indigenous issues of contemporary and historical importance and plans to further the advancement of Indigenous knowledge in the contemporary world.