Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Milestones | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | GrandCanyonTourGuide.com
Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions August 30, 2016

1/29/2013 10:24:00 AM
Letter: Escalade Project not right for Navajo Nation

To the editor:

I am going to be very direct and candid in this letter. First of all, I am very upset with the leadership of the Bodaway Gap Chapter and the proceedings of the Special Meeting held on Oct. 3 regarding the Escalade Project at the Sacred Site known as the Confluence in the Grand Canyon on Navajo Nation reservation lands.

I am expressing publicly my anger and dissatisfaction with the heavy-handed decisions being forced down the people's throats by Gap Chapter officials. It is also disappointing to learn that they have been secretly consulting and meeting with Navajo Nation leaders, receiving instructions on how to conduct the meeting in order to move the Escalade Project forward.

On Oct. 3 a Special Meeting was called, which was posted at the last minute and also held in the middle of the week, disenfranchising people from participating in the discussion and decision being made on their behalf. This decision to move forward ignores the rights of local residents (grazing permit holders and allottees) and excludes them from voicing their opinions on what is in their best interest in regards to development of their ancestral lands.

President Arizona barely called the meeting to order when he immediately called for a motion and vote to approve a resolution to rescind all prior resolutions opposing the Escalade Project and accept a new resolution in support of the project. This action was in complete violation of Robert's Rule of Order, because it purposely disallowed a discussion by the people before voting on such an important and contentious issue. It was then that I stood up and protested and I was punished by being escorted out of the Chapter by two policewomen for voicing my concerns.

When it came to the vote, I could see Chapter Vice President Williams counting votes in a rapid and disorderly way. I witnessed also that even though there were many people outside peering into the crowded chapter trying to participate, she was counting only those inside the Chapter building. The policewomen kept me from re-entering the Chapter completely and effectively disenfranchised me from having my vote counted against the development of the Escalade Project at the Sacred Site in the Grand Canyon near the Confluence on the Navajo Nation reservation.

The Gap Chapter leadership betrayed their moral and ethical obligation to respect our Treaties established to protect the peoples' rights in the development of our precious Dinetah by conducting themselves the way they did to rescind the resolutions in opposition of the Project.

I, Louise Yellowman, strongly urge Navajo Nation President Shelly and Vice President Jim, State Representative Hale, Bodaway Gap Chapter officials and all leadership officials in favor of this project to reconsider their ill-advised support of the Escalade Project.

Furthermore, I ask that they cease and desist any development that exposes and exploits our Sacred Sites and allow the natural and beautiful to exist undisturbed.

I lived and raised my children in Gap and Cedar Ridge from 1965 - 1984. I was voted Chapter Secretary in 1968 and served until 1980. I also served as Coconino County Supervisor from 1980-2008. During my time I accomplished many things including advocating tenaciously for my Native American people and serving as their voice on important issues such as Rare Medals Uranium Mine clean-up in Tuba City, advocating for intervention programs dealing with alcohol and domestic violence prevention programs and drafting proposals for the Gap Elementary and Cameron Schools to meet the need for K-4th grade with the help of these communities and district school officials.

I also participated in bringing water, electricity and housing from Gap to Cedar Ridge and additional housing to the Bitter Springs area. I was responsible for establishing a transfer station at Gap. I also negotiated a waste collection and disposal shared cost between Navajo Nation and Coconino County.

It would be more prudent and wise of our leadership to consider other types of projects that empower the Dine; projects that benefit the people and respect the voice of the people who have a right to participate in discussions and decisions that affect their future and their livelihood. Rather than focus on tourism as a form of development that serves non-Dine, and further supports the exploitation of our people and lands, consider projects like the ones I supported while in public service.

Neither I, nor my family is against development or progress. We are only opposed to the proposed Escalade Project because it is near our Sacred Site in the Grand Canyon where many of our relatives live and care for their livestock and value their traditional way of life. This project simply stated, jeopardizes their survival. We are grazing permit holders and our voices have not been heard or our vote recognized.

I strongly recommend that before our leaders and decision-making bodies agree to any economic development they adhere to values and standards that ensure that the people's best interest and voices are respected and protected and not rejected or ignored which is a current standard.

The basic issues in responsible development include transparency, consent of the governed, third party monitoring, establishment of best management practices, metrics, indemnification and social contracting.

My son, Don Yellowman, who now serves as President for Forgotten People, believes, and I agree with him, that the Dine who have been displaced and/or deprived of opportunity resulting from the Bennett Freeze deserve better! We are entitled by our Treaties to be informed and empowered to determine a way of life that is not dictated for our community. In closing, the Escalade developers are concerned with one thing; their own self-interest and short term gain. We stand for social, environmental and economic justice and do not support selling out to non-native corporate interests for the sake of seasonal tourism.

Louise Yellowman

Former Coconino County Supervisor

    Recently Commented     Most Viewed
Mapmaker continues quest to document indigenous cultures
New documentary focuses on Native American veterans on Navajo Nation
Letter to the editor: Where do children learn to speak fluent Navajo?
Delegate Edmund Yazzie continues work for Thoreau, N.M. clinic
Pirates of the Navajo Nation under attack

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: winnie posey

I disagree with the development that is being discussed. Why is it that if it comes to money, people get greedy, disrespectful, dishonest, and start following the wrong people. Gap People, please get real and listen to the people that live on the confluence area. This is what I remember long ago, my Nali man is from the Cedar Ridge area. Long ago, while passing the Gap trail up the mesa, a land slide took place. I remember stopping at one of my Aunt place there they discussed that a rock slide took place. The family got together the medicine man came, perform his ceremony and he told my Nali man that the rock slide was telling the community that things are changing and we need to respect mother earth for what it gives us. That in time it will remind us again! I believe the town of Gap/Bodaway community has gotten it's message. Take a look at Page, the land slide. I believe the "holy people" are reminding the Gap/Bodaway community to leave the Grand Canyon alone...

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. The email and phone info you provide will not be visible to the public. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to 1300 characters or less. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit your comment entries to five(5) per day.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Flagstaff, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Submission links
 •  Submit site feedback or questions

Find It Opinions Features Submit Extras Other Publications
Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Milestones | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | Site Map
© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Navajo-Hopi Observer is the information source for the Navajo and Hopi Nations and Winslow area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Navajo-Hopi Observer Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, nhonews.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the site's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Navajo-Hopi Observer Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved