Letters: Readers weigh in on issues of the day

Farmington Daily Times
Letters to the Editor

Thanksgiving: a Navajo Perspective


After five months of immersing myself in the Navajo culture more ever before, I felt differently about Thanksgiving this year. I felt as if I shouldn’t be happy about this holiday, and resentful of the people who were. If the general American public knew anything about Native American history, would we still be celebrating?

Perhaps Europeans shouldn’t have come to North America. But they came anyway. That caused havoc on the Native American population. Their foreign diseases alone wiped out millions of people. Then centuries of war, genocide, culture stripping, and broken promises plagued us. My heart breaks to think what my great, great Navajo grandparents endured. War. Displacement. Being hunted like animals. They watched their world turn to ashes. They froze. They starved. Their loved ones died around them as they watched in terror. As modern-day Native Americans, we feel the effects of what happened. We know the stories and took field trips to the sites of those atrocities. We have stood where our ancestors fell.

Historical trauma is real and it lives on the reservations where there is poverty, racism, abandonment, suicide, domestic violence, sexual and drug abuse, alcoholism, and disease. These are the symptoms of generations of brokenness and are a reality for many Native Americans today.

We have every right to hate.

But I can’t.

See, my mother descends from those “intruders”. Her great grandparents immigrated to America from Europe with high hopes of finding a good life. Decades later, their great granddaughter married a Navajo man in New Mexico whom I call “Dad”.

Because of this, I do not feel hate toward those European intruders. I feel gratitude. Without that grotesque history, I wouldn’t be here to have an opinion. Many of us wouldn’t.

In addition to my gratitude, I am saddened by what led us here. We still have wounds that can only be soothed by forgiveness.

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln suggested that we use this holiday as an opportunity to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He wasn’t talking about the sad history of the Native Americans. But it’s time to.

None of us were there. But the responsibility to heal this wound belongs to all of us. We have to forgive each other. We have to participate in the conversation, bringing compassion and understanding to the table. Only then will the wounds of our nation begin to heal.

Darrah Blackwater


Filing lawsuit to stop civil forfeiture in ludicrous


No clear-minded individual is sympathetic of drunken driving under any circumstances. Once is too much.

Nonetheless, the “policing for profit” label is not accurate. “Corporations for profit” is much closer to the real truth. To suggest that state government must file a lawsuit to stop these “acts of treason” (defying state statutes) is ludicrous. How is it possible that we have law enforcement agencies, police officers and even the courts openly defying due process to the people of New Mexico in violation of the state constitution and 4th and 5th amendments of the U.S. Constitution?

State lawmakers have realized the criminal wrongdoing they have been promoting. They finally took some measures to curtail the constitutional transgressions of civil forfeiture, and now we have unlawful conduct, including criminal misuse of public funds in open defiance of state law, and the Albuquerque City Attorney Jessica Hernandez telling the state legislature that state law doesn't apply to city municipalities. That's called an insurrection.

However courageous the two state senators bringing the lawsuit against the city of Albuquerque may be, what kind of de-facto government whoredom do we actually have in this state? Why has common law been illegally replaced with prima facie commercial law with disregard for due process within the several states?

The hypocrisy of the city attorney making the claim that state law doesn't apply (using public funds) and then filing civil forfeiture charges in state district court (having no jurisdiction if her argument was correct) speaks of her incompetence.

No public official under oath and so completely ignorant of the Constitution and so intoxicated with power and financial gain is qualified to hold public office now or in the future. The attorney general should prosecute each one of the insurrectionists for perjuring their oath of office to support and defend the Constitution for the U.S. and New Mexico.

This raises an interesting question. As chief law enforcement officer, why isn't the sheriff in Bernalillo arresting those engaged in these unlawful activities?

Ron Lyman

President of San Juan County Government Oversight Group