[Marxism] Robert Carr -- Navajo activist, former NCC student of mine, good friend of Maria

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at earthlink.net
Tue Jun 15 07:52:33 MDT 2004

Robert Carr -- Navajo activist, former NCC student of mine, good friend of


Robert Carr is a Navajo activist; a long-time former student of mine at
Navajo Community College [main campus at Tsaile and now known as Dine'
College or occasionally simply Din College]; very good friend of Maria;
recently ran for mayor of Winslow, Arizona [a good sized border town 60
miles east of Flagstaff] where he lost by only a bare handful of votes.  He
also contributed a very kind statement to my Tribute whose official site, on
Lair of Hunterbear, may be found at

Still walking strong
By S.J. Wilson
The Observer
June 15, 2004


WINSLOW - Write-in Winslow mayoral candidate Robert Carr participated in two
major contests last month. Although he did not achieve the title of mayor,
Carr sees both journeys as victories.

Carr wore out two pairs of walking shoes as he logged in a total of 284
miles with John Tsosie's "Walking the Healing Path" march from Window Rock
to Phoenix. The purpose of the walk was to bring awareness to the problem of
domestic violence and substance abuse,

"I am a victim and perpetrator of domestic violence," Tsosie said in an
interview on May 16 in Leupp. "As I went through the recovery process. I was
amazed to see the lack of services for our people on the Navajo Nation."

Carr, who walked a total of 284 miles and wore out two pairs of walking
shoes, called his own effort in the walk as a personal journey.

"I took it step by step, mile by mile and city by city. Through the pain,
thirst and blisters that I experienced through the walk, I actually closed a
painful chapter of domestic violence from my past." Carr said. "But [the
pain of the walk] will not add to the amount of suffering that I see every
day of mothers and their children who are experiencing the traumatic effects
of domestic violence."

Tsosie and other members of his family, along with friends and supporters,
began their "healing path" on May 10. Carr joined the walk shortly
afterwards, and despite the Winslow City Election on May 18, walked on into

"We were met by most of the members of the Arizona State legislature
including Senator Albert Hale and Representatives Jack Jackson Jr. and
Sylvia Laughter," Carr said. Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. and his
wife, [Vikki], and Jesse Thompson, Navajo County Supervisor, walked with us
for 44 blocks in Phoenix."

"I know in my heart that it has made me a better human being-a better spouse
and father for my children," Carr said of the walk. "It had nothing to do
with my running for mayor."

It was while he was struggling through the physical challenge of this walk
that Carr learned he had failed to win the mayoral election.

Necessary changes

"One of the major motivations for my running for the office of Mayor was
that I wanted to make a difference in my community," Carr said.

Carr has spent the past decade of his life in Winslow, working as a
substance abuse counselor and advocating for services such as an alcohol
recovery center in this city.

His work continued with his service to Winslow as a community relations
coordinator from 2000-02, where he worked with street people.

Carr is a part of the Intoxicated Street People Task Force, which has been
meeting since December 2003. Carr describes the group as concerned citizens
of Winslow seeking the best possible solution to what citywide surveys have
indicated is the number one problem in Winslow at this time.

The task force, organized by Mayor Jim Boles, needs momentum and
consistency, as well as dependable and reliable individuals, according to

"In my personal opinion, the city of Winslow has a negative mentality
against the street people, and the majority of them are Native Americans.
The city of Winslow is in self-denial. We do have a problem, and as a matter
of fact, it is a major problem. It is like an elephant sitting at your
kitchen table," Carr said, "not knowing that it is there."

Many residents of Winslow, Carr said, see the street people as someone in
dirty clothes, begging for coins. That's what they see from the outside-but
I see them as human beings. Just like us, they have a heart, they have
feelings, they cry. Their blood is red, just like ours. All they need is a
chance to become productive individuals in their communities."

Cause and effect

After countless hours of research, Carr has documented a pattern among
Native Americans that contributes to the problems of alcoholism and domestic

"They grow up with no self-esteem, without a positive self-image and without
confidence," Carr said. "Through relocation and the boarding school
experience, I have recognized three main causes for the problems we see
today-and they are related. Number one is being separated from their loved
ones at an early age by being put in a boarding school. Number two is the
feelings of being abandoned and not being able to talk with others in their
own language, and finally, the loneliness that they have experienced. All of
this leads up to the creation of a grieving process," Carr added.

Many of the street people seen in Winslow have come to town in search of
work, Carr said.

"They come to look for better things, to provide for their families. Many
hitchhike into town from the reservation. If, by the end of the day, they
are unable to find a job, they try to catch a ride home. If they don't find
that, they turn back into town and end up drinking to self-medicate
themselves against the pain and shame," Carr said.

Native Americans who have been raised on a reservation also experience
culture shock when they are removed from their homes-either through forced
or voluntary relocation, or by other conditions beyond their control, Carr
pointed out.

"I really do believe that the city administration needs to get 100 per cent
behind the problem of the street people. I really don't think that gating
the alleys is a solution. By fencing off the alleys, all that will be
accomplished is moving the street people to other parts of the town," Carr

When asked to state three major goals his administration would have worked
towards had he won the seat of mayor, Carr answered without hesitation.

"One, I would have put in my best effort to work towards establishing a
shelter for the street people-the so-called number one problem of Winslow.

"Two, surveys have also established that there are no jobs available. I have
heard that the Payless Shoe Store is now closing. There used to be a
Coca-Cola bottling plant here, a western clothing store, a golf course-where
are they now? I would have city council members out visiting other cities
and big corporations, telling them how great Winslow is. I believe we can
bring in jobs and business-this has been long overdue.

"And finally, I would seek equal representation for citizens from all walks
of life helping to find the means for all to live well here in Winslow."

Carr admits that he really does like Winslow.

"My family calls this their hometown," Carr said. "My wife went to school
here, my kids are going to school here-I just had a daughter graduate from
high school. Education-wise, Winslow is really good."

At the end of this second journey, the race for mayor, Carr stated that
"even though I lost that election, in reality, I came out a winner. I gained
a lot of friends and supporters who believed that I could be the voice for

"I would like to personally thank the wonderful, caring people who voted for
me and believed in me. I have nothing to be ashamed of in losing the
election, and I will be back in two years-this time on the ballot," Carr
said with a smile.

HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR]   Micmac /St. Francis Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

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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