For Immediate Release:
Friday, November 19, 2010
Navajo Water Rights Groups Respond to
President’s Water Settlement Signoff
Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., has signed the Northeastern Arizona Water Rights Settlement, as expected. By doing so, he now makes complete the coup, or outside takeover, of the three branches of our government. That settlement minimizes our rights, constrains us like a straightjacket, and puts us farther on the road to complete suppression.
“Great nations like great men should keep their word.” This famous sentence was written by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, in his dissent in the 1960 case of Federal Power Commission v. Tuscarora Indian Nation. He was distressed that the majority of the Court betrayed both the Tuscarora’s trust and the honor of the United States by allowing the violation of treaties with the Tribe and the flooding of their reservation. That is how we feel today; distressed and violated by our own Council and President, who have dishonored the People’s trust and the oaths they took to uphold the promises of our Treaties.
Like tribes of old, our government has been infiltrated by representatives of outside interests who completely control the information received and decisions made by our central government leaders, while, at the same times, excluding the People from access to their own government. Worst among these infiltrators is long-time water lawyer Stanley Pollack. (You can “google” the 2008 article “Navajo Water Rights: Truths and Betrayals” for some of the deceptions, falsehoods, misrepresentations, etc., Pollack has perpetrated against our People) This kind of thing is not new to tribes in modern times. For example, our neighboring tribes, the Hopis, were, for decades, duped and subverted by their late and mistakenly trusted lawyer, John Boyden, who secretly sold them out to corporate and state interests. They were able to confirm this only after his death. (See the book “Fire on the Plateau” by renowned federal Indian law professor Charles Wilkinson.)
While state and corporate interests refer to Stanley Pollack as the best lawyer they ever had, our naïve, deceived, and self-interested leaders, the majority of whom are now under criminal indictment for misappropriation of funds, merrily follow his every whim—like sheep down to the watering hole.
In our session with the president, it was obvious President Shirley had no intention of vetoing the settlement. We knew this before going in, but we did so, out of respect for the President’s office and on behalf of the people. Half way through the presentation of the facts, President Shirley put the information packet containing the true and hidden facts of the settlement, aside, no longer bothering to follow the points in the slide show. This was a clear indication he was just paying us lip service, which he confirmed by signing off on the settlement.
It is now left solely up to the Navajo People to try and dig ourselves out of this quagmire of treachery, disloyalty, and internal abuse that President Shirley and the Council have aided outside interests with–in oppressing the Navajo people. To the 51 council delegates and President Shirley, your legacy will be forever remembered as the ones who gave up our precious water rights to outsiders, in 2010.
Pollack and the Water commission must be held accountable for their actions, if it means filing charges against them for their lies and deception, then we must do so. From them we will learn that Pollack was actually the person behind this all and warrants banishment from our reservation.
Submitted by members of Dine’ Waters Rights
Kim Smith, 505-573-8171, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronald Milford, 928-606-0787, email@example.com
Adella Begaye, 928-349-0381, firstname.lastname@example.org
Water is Life! Protect our Future!