[Marxism] Navajo Nation President Blasts Iraq War
hunterbadbear at earthlink.net
Thu Dec 30 18:46:28 MST 2004
"But as Shirley and other Native American leaders speak
out against the war, more and more young Navajos seem eager to join it. In
fact, recruiting stations in the border towns near the reservation all
report increased enlistments since the war began - in contrast to the
national trend of plummeting enlistment numbers."
Traditionally, young Native American men are very fast
to enlist in the United States military
in time of war. Warrior ethos, challenge, patriotism --
occasionally economic reasons -- are among the
reasons. In most cases, Indian men are highly
skilled in marksmanship. And the Navajo Code Talkers
are role models across tribal lines.
Hunter [Hunter Bear]
Shirley blasts war in Iraq
By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times Navajo Times 12/30/04
GALLUP - Calling it a waste of life and money, President
Joe Shirley Jr. lashed out Monday against the war in Iraq.
"I ask myself why (we are fighting the war)," Shirley said
during a year-end press conference in his office.
This has become tragic for the Navajo Nation as several
times during the past year, the nation has mourned the death or injury of a
tribal member who had been fighting the war, he said.
So far, three Navajo soldiers have died in the war and
several have been injured. Shirley said that one Hopi soldier has also been
And as the injury and death toll has mounted, Shirley said
the only thing he can do is ask why.
"What was the rush (to go into the war)?" he said.
Not only has the war caused misery to Navajo families who
have lost a loved one but it also affects all members of the Navajo Nation
directly because the federal government is taking money from existing Navajo
programs and diverting it to the war effort.
As domestic programs take a back seat to the war effort,
Shirley said he is seeing federal officials raid the Native American
programs because that causes less political dissension across the country.
He pointed out that the Bureau of Indian Affairs is
currently budgeted at 60 percent of need. The Indian Health Service is even
worse, with only 50 percent of needed funds budgeted. As the war continues,
the shortage will only get worse, Shirley predicted.
But there's something else that tugs at Shirley's
heartstrings - the photos that appear in newspapers and on television of the
war's effects on the civilian population in Iraq.
He said that it sickens him to see the photos of
grandmothers and children lying on the road dead or severely injured.
"That really concerns me," he said. Grandmothers are the
ones who hold the stories of the people and as they die off, the stories are
lost, he said. And the death and suffering of the children is just as bad.
"I look at all of this as a waste," he said.
Shirley said he couldn't understand why leaders in
Washington can't understand what this war is costing the American people.
"Except for England, we have no allies. The (other nations) have all come
out against us," he said.
But as Shirley and other Native American leaders speak out
against the war, more and more young Navajos seem eager to join it. In fact,
recruiting stations in the border towns near the reservation all report
increased enlistments since the war began - in contrast to the national
trend of plummeting enlistment numbers.
Local recruiters point out that Navajo youth are very
patriotic and come from a society that does not shirk its duties to its
But Shirley can only shake his head and hope the war ends
He said, however, that despite his feelings about the war,
he would not urge Navajo young men and women not to enlist.
"That's a personal choice," Shirley said. "Each person
should make their own choice."
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR] Micmac /St. Francis Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings. Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]
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