Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., today ordered flags on the Navajo Nation to be flown at half-staff from June 3 through June 6 in honor and recognition of the late Navajo Code Talker Lemuel Bahe Yazzien of Whitecone, Ariz., who died Friday. [May 28, 2010]
He was 91. He was born on June 2, 1918, and would have turned 92 today.
“The late Reverend Lemuel B. Yazzie was a renowned Navajo Code Talker who served the United States of America, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the Navajo Nation during World War II with courage, honor and distinction,” President Shirley said in a proclamation to be issued Thursday.
“The Rev. Yazzie endured the horrors of combat during the occupation of China and was in a radio platoon in a forward echelon against hostile forces. The Navajo Nation unites and offers prayers and deepest condolences to his family during this time of grief.”
In 2002, he received the Congressional Silver Medal for his Marine service.
Seven teen suicides around the small towns of Thoreau and Prewitt in McKinley County have led state, federal, school and Navajo officials to join forces, the Albuquerque Journal reported over the weekend.
Agencies, especially those of the Navajo Nation, are providing counseling and staffing a 24-hour hotline to deal with the fallout from seven suicides by teens 17 and younger, the Journal tells us.
Residents and mental health professionals have posited various explanations for the spree of suicides, ranging from the region’s struggling economy to drug and alcohol abuse and a lack of opportunities and activities, Uyttebrouck writes.
VIEJAS GRANTED RESTRAINING ORDER TO PROTECT SACRED BURIAL GROUND
June 8, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians has been granted a restraining order in the Superior Court of California-San Diego County to halt the Padre Dam Municipal Water District from “further desecrating a recently-unearthed Kumeyaay burial and ceremonial ground,” a statement issued by Viejas announced. Padre Dam Municipal Water District is constructing a new reservoir and pumping station at the site, which is on approximately two acres south of I-8 near Lake Jennings Park Road and Old Highway 80.
In a hearing yesterday, Judge Judith Hayes ordered the District to avoid construction over roughly two-thirds of the construction site until at least June 25, when the hearing for a permanent injunction is scheduled. A representative for California Attorney General Jerry Brown’s office appeared at today’s hearing and spoke in favor of the restraining order.
Lawmakers on the country’s largest American Indian reservation have voted to formally oppose Arizona’s tough new immigration law.
Council Delegate Kee Allen Begay sponsored the measure. He says he sees the immigration law as an attempt to harass American Indians, who can resemble Mexican nationals.
Navajo lawmakers came out against a state measure that prohibits classes that advocate ethnic solidarity. Begay says the Navajo culture should be respected and protected.
Letting the Arrows Fly at Hollywood Stereotypes
June 14, 2010
Setting off in his barely road-worthy “rez car,” Mr. Diamond films a series of bittersweet, and sometimes bitingly funny, encounters. A husband and wife, Navajo elders who worked as extras in John Ford westerns, see themselves on screen for the first time and recall how the Indian dialogue in those films was often significantly different from (and more obscene than) what was in the script. At the Pine Ridge reservation, the activist Russell Means remembers being in the trading post during the 1973 stand-off at Wounded Knee and watching on television as Sacheen Littlefeather turned down the best actor Oscar on Marlon Brando’s behalf, citing “the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry.”
In a more somber and troubling sequence, Mr. Diamond’s camera watches the faces of grade-school students at the Crow Agency as they watch the scenes of Indians being slaughtered in “Little Big Man.”
Clips from decades of Hollywood westerns illustrate Mr. Diamond’s points; one withering sequence shows white actors in red face: Burt Lancaster, Charles Bronson, Elvis Presley, Burt Reynolds. The gallery of talking heads includes American Indian artists like the director Chris Eyre, the artist-activist John Trudell and the comedian Charlie Hill, who over a montage of death-by-arrow scenes says: “The best part of any movie was when you heard pffffft. Oh, I loved that.”