President Donald Trump made a number of remarks during an event honoring Navajo Code Talkers that have drawn condemnation. Trump met with three Navajo Code Talkers in the Oval Office, in front of a portrait of Andrew Jackson. Jackson was the president responsible for the Trail of Tears, a brutal removal of Native Americans from lands in the South. In all, thousands of children, women and men died and tens-of-thousands were displaced to make way for more slave plantations. There, he insulted a U.S. Senator calling her “Pocahontas.”
At the event, three Navajo Code Talkers attended the White House event and asked the federal government to create a museum dedicated to the role Code Talkers undertook during World War II.
On a windy Monday morning in May, residents packed the Counselor Chapter House. Some sat in plastic folding chairs, while others leaned against the wall, all paying attention to the speakers. Coming to the front of the chapter house, Marie Herbert-Chavez introduced herself in the Navajo language. “I’m going to talk real fast OK,” she said as she took the microphone to talk about fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, in her community near Chaco Canyon. This piece originally appeared at New Mexico In Depth and is reprinted with permission. Four members of the Navajo Nation Council, Speaker LoRenzo Bates, Councilor Amber Kanazbah Crotty, Councilor Davis Filfred and Councilor Leonard Tsosie who represents Counselor as well as nearby chapters, had come to hear testimony from area residents.
Top leadership of the Navajo Nation endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for president Friday. The Democratic National Committee announced the support of Navajo Nation president, Russell Begaye, and Vice President, Jonathan Nez, on Friday. The endorsements came as part of the DNC’s bus tour, which traveled to Albuquerque earlier that same day. Begaye praised Clinton’s work with Native Americans both during the campaign and during her time as U.S. Senator from New York. “In this campaign, she has committed to serving tribal nations through strengthening public safety, combating drugs and alcohol, advocating for access to high quality education, improving Indian health care, and fighting for our Native American veterans,” Begaye said.
The Navajo Nation announced they are suing the federal government over the Gold King Mine spill last year. The spill sent a sickly orange plume of pollution down the Animas River, from an abandoned mine in Colorado through the Four Corners area of New Mexico and into Utah. A contractor working for the Environmental Protection Agency caused the blowout. This included the Navajo Nation, the country’s largest reservation. According to the Associated Press, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye told the EPA, “We’re holding your feet to the fire.”
In all, an estimated 3 million gallons of polluted water was released into the water.
Navajo voters approved changes related to who can serve as top elected officials for the tribe on Tuesday. The voters approved changes to the law that says the President and Vice President of the Navajo Nation must be fluent in Navajo, the native language of the tribe, as well as English. Voters will now decide if candidates are fluent in the languages when they go to the ballot box. From the Navajo Times: A referendum to change existing tribal laws on that subject passed Tuesday by a vote of 13,017 to 11,778, according to the unofficial count done by the Navajo Election Administration. That’s a difference of about five percentage points.