Monday, September 24, 2007

Navajo tribal grassrooots groups call for referendum

Monday, September 24, 2007
Contact Elouise Brown

Navajo Tribal Grassroots Groups call for Referendum

Ram Springs, N.M.— For the first time ever, the people of the Navajo Nation are petitioning the Navajo Nation Council to demand approval and funding for a special election. The petition requests that the council conduct a referendum and will be delivered during the Fall 2007 Session. Dooda (NO) Desert Rock [DDR] is spearheading a drive to collect the thousands of signatures necessary to force the Navajo Nation Council to fund an election of the people's views on a number of issues profoundly affecting the future of the Navajo Nation.

"We the People are engaging in participatory democracy, we are speaking up to be heard, and we are holding the Navajo Nation Council accountable for their actions with this petition," said Elouise Brown, President of DDR. "The health of our children and the heart of our homeland are at stake here."

Petition signatures will be gathered at the two remaining Navajo Nation fairs, and the completed petition will be delivered by the people to the Council at the start of the Fall session. In addition to DDR, other groups will be collecting signatures including Black Mesa Water Coalition, Indigenous Environmental Network, C-Aquifer, ENDAUM and other supporters of Dooda Desert Rock. Prior signature drives by Dooda Desert Rock and DDR supporters have gathered hundreds of signatures in a few hours. With the large crowds at the fairs it is expected that the organizations will be able to gather thousands of signatures.

The referendum will address issues that affect the health safety and welfare of the people and the land such as power plants, water rights, uranium mining, and clear-cutting of forest land. A tribal constitution will also be addressed, which supporters claim will give the people an opportunity to voice their opinion and insure they have codified rights as Navajo citizens. Dooda Desert Rock and their supporters feel that currently the system does not insure that the government listens to the will of the people.

"We are tired of the roadblocks and barriers being put up to our people’s sovereignty. Navajo leaders are taking corporate money to poison our land, degrade our air and deplete our water," said Alfred Bennett, DDR supporter. "This referendum would reflect the express will of the people, and define the people as the ultimate authority."
Petition signatures will be collected at the Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock, NM on October 5th, 6th, and 7th , and at the Western Navajo Nation Fair in Tuba City, AZ on October 13th, 14th, and 15th. DDR and their supporters invite and encourage all tribal members to join in voicing their support of this petition in Window Rock, Arizona on October 15, 2007, opening day of the Navajo Nation Council Fall Session. “Crazy Horse, a Lakota Headman, once said “A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky”” said Elouise Brown, “We have our vision of a future where our people are heard. Without the people, there is no democracy”.

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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008:
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