7/24/2012 11:32:00 AM Letter: We need water now, not years from now
To the editor:
I was very disappointed to learn that the Navajo Nation Council has voted against a settlement that would secure our rights to the Little Colorado River. I understand some of the arguments against this proposal. However, I believe this agreement and the Council's vote should be reconsidered.
Right now, there is no way to prevent those who buy land upriver from developing water that should rightfully belong to our people. A court decision on this matter could be years away, and might not go in our favor. An Arizona state court should not decide our future - we should.
The people who live in the southwestern part of our nation, in communities like Dilkon, Leupp, Bird Springs, Indian Wells, White Cone and my community of Teesto, must haul water to survive. This is a difficult way of life that could be easily improved. This agreement would bring critical pipelines to provide the water that our brothers and sisters need to survive. We need water for schools, hospitals and economic development. We are working to secure water for the Dilkon Health Center as we are on the IHS national priority list and will be receiving funding in another two to three years. We need this water today, not years from now.
There is still time to address aspects of this agreement that are not popular with our people. But we should not throw away this real opportunity in favor of a court verdict that we think will be better, when we all know it could be much worse.