Aug 19, 2015 - Citizens Demand Transparency and Protection of Diné Water Security
Window Rock, Arizona– Friday August 14th, 2015 a group of inter-generational Diné Citizens concerned about the intention of John McCain’s visit to the Navajo Nation staged a peaceful protest. Utilizing the power of song and prayer, a small group staged a sit-in in the room where the congregation was supposed to take place. A second group took position outside of the museum to greet elected Navajo officials, requesting them to stand strong as leaders.
“We were there to let our voice and presence be known that our water will never be given away and our rights, gifted to us by Diné Diyiin and Nihima Nahasdzaan, will not be taken away.” – Indigenize
Navajo Nation Speaker Lorenzo Bates and Arizona Senator Carlyle Begaye invited Senator John McCain to the Navajo Nation to meet with several Navajo Nation Council delegates—a meeting that was closed to the public. Despite the stated purpose of McCain’s visit to attend the annual Navajo Code Talker’s Celebration as a speaker,
McCain spent the majority his four hour Window Rock visit in the company of Speaker Lorenzo Bates and Senator Carlyle Begaye. Senator McCain and Senator Carlyle face ongoing criticism for their close affiliation with corporate entities, particularly in the area of energy and mineral development, which has predominately disadvantaged Native American tribes throughout the Southwest. Navajo citizen’s demands for protection of existing water claims are framed within larger assertions of sovereignty over land and resources and Speaker Lorenzo Bate’s actions are contrary to these goals. A primary message of today’s protest was the centrality of water for Diné existence—both physically and spiritually. The use of drum and prayer during the demonstration was especially effective in gathering public affirmation and support.
“We would really like to thank the Code Talkers and their Families for gifting us with food and water, and taking time to learn about why we were here. It was beautiful seeing the younger generations and their grandmothers supporting the code talkers and extending that support to us when we shared with them what we were there for.” – Diné Advocate
It is evident that “business as usual” politics are no longer accepted and that greater accountability of all elected officials is demanded by those who understand the sacredness of Water. Water connects all life, connects all communities and connects all struggles.
Video of Sen. McCain being chased off of the Navajo rez