Navajo Nation Police Need 775 New Officers

With less than 200 officers on the Navajo Nation Police force, getting to this large amount is a lofty goal, especially when it comes to the budget.” A. Becenti Navajo Times, June 11, 2021

Navajo Nation police June 13 2021

Excerpt:Navajo police need 775 new officers, report says Arlyssa Becenti Navajo Times, June 11, 2021

“The Navajo Nation Police needs 775 officers to meet community demands across the Navajo Nation, according to an assessment done by Strategy Matter and Navajo public safety leadership…’The demands on this department are extreme,’ said Liz O’ Connor, consultant team lead. ‘The range of issues officers are called upon to address, the vast distances they must cross, and the limitation of radio and cellular coverage as well create a nearly impossible situation every day for so many officers in a department of this size.’

The Navajo Police Department’s assessment is 174 pages long and took 18 months to develop. The assessment was unveiled to the public in late May. With this assessment three basic questions are answered such as: Where are we now? Where we want to go? And how will we get there?

But the number of officers needed was the big takeaway from the report…’It’s a unique report for the Navajo Police Department,’ said Chief Phillip Francisco. ‘It’s a lot to digest…some of the recommendations is we are extremely short staffed. Seven hundred fifty would be the ideal number of officers to really do the job that our community demands and to keep our officers safe,’ he said. ‘We have a long way to go to get to that point.’

Navajo Nation

When it comes to the demands placed on the Navajo Nation Police, Navajo lawmakers are quick to express needed service from officers without investing in them. The biggest example is absolutely nothing is done to acquire safe buildings for officers and personnel in Window Rock and Shiprock.

Even more obvious is delegates continuing to advocate for outside police forces to come onto Navajo Nation to help police the Navajo people, an option that Francisco doesn’t agree with…Other weaknesses include: the sense of department unity is not consistently present; information flow is a real challenge for technical and organizational reasons; facilities, the Window Rock station is in a serious state of disrepair, and the Shiprock station is closed; general orders and rules and regulations are outdated (1979) and unhelpful; COVID-19 impacts: it is harder than ever to connect with residents; there is significantly increased demand on dwindling resources at NPD and for partners; recruitment challenges: money, interest, training, disqualifications, available housing, and perceptions among youth.

But the strengths identified include: commitment and dedication of officers at all ranks; younger generation of NPD staff see the department as a unified whole; greatly improved—and growing—confidence in department leadership, among officers, civilian staff, partners and others; thorough (top to mid-managers) commitment to officer wellness and improving early intervention programs; partners and potential partners recognize the challenging circumstances of law enforcement on the Nation and want to support efforts to improve operations, safety, and coordination…‘We learned the NPD leadership is visionary, highly accountable, and trusted by officers, residents, and staff alike,’ said O’Connor. “Invest in this department.”

 

A bakery lost a client when it made rainbow Pride cookies. So others bought every item in the shop.  By Sydney Page, The Washington Post, June 9, 2021

“When a small Southern bakery made rainbow-themed cookies to celebrate Pride Month, there was a swift backlash. On June 2, Confections, a tiny store in Lufkin, Tex., shared a photo on its Facebook page of heart-shaped rainbow sugar cookies with the caption, “More LOVE. Less hate. Happy Pride to all our LGBTQ friends! All lovers of cookies and happiness are welcome here.”

 

The photo of rainbow Pride cookies that was posted on Confections’ Facebook page on June 2.

Category: Culture

“Navajo Nation Police Need 775 New Officers”

“With less than 200 officers on the Navajo Nation Police force, getting to this large amount is a lofty goal, especially when it comes to the budget.”Arlyssa Becenti Navajo Times, June 11, 2021

Navajo Police Chief Philip Francisco walks down a roll of newly recruited police officers at the Navajo Police Training Academy on Jan. 2 in Chinle, Arizona.(Photo by Sharon Chischilly/Navajo Times)

 

Excerpt: Navajo police need 775 new officers, report says...Arlyssa Becenti Navajo Times, June 11, 2021

“The Navajo Nation Police needs 775 officers to meet community demands across the Navajo Nation, according to an assessment done by Strategy Matter and Navajo public safety leadership…’The demands on this department are extreme,’ said Liz O’ Connor, consultant team lead. ‘The range of issues officers are called upon to address, the vast distances they must cross, and the limitation of radio and cellular coverage as well create a nearly impossible situation every day for so many officers in a department of this size.’

The Navajo Police Department’s assessment is 174 pages long and took 18 months to develop. The assessment was unveiled to the public in late May.  With this assessment three basic questions are answered such as: Where are we now? Where we want to go? And how will we get there?

But the number of officers needed was the big takeaway from the report…’It’s a unique report for the Navajo Police Department,’ said Chief Phillip Francisco. ‘It’s a lot to digest…some of the recommendations is we are extremely short staffed. Seven hundred fifty would be the ideal number of officers to really do the job that our community demands and to keep our officers safe,’ he said. ‘We have a long way to go to get to that point.’

When it comes to the demands placed on the Navajo Nation Police, Navajo lawmakers are quick to express needed service from officers without investing in them. The biggest example is absolutely nothing is done to acquire safe buildings for officers and personnel in Window Rock and Shiprock.

Navajo Nation

Even more obvious is delegates continuing to advocate for outside police forces to come onto Navajo Nation to help police the Navajo people, an option that Francisco doesn’t agree with…Other weaknesses include: the sense of department unity is not consistently present; information flow is a real challenge for technical and organizational reasons; facilities, the Window Rock station is in a serious state of disrepair, and the Shiprock station is closed; general orders and rules and regulations are outdated (1979) and unhelpful; COVID-19 impacts: it is harder than ever to connect with residents; there is significantly increased demand on dwindling resources at NPD and for partners; recruitment challenges: money, interest, training, disqualifications, available housing, and perceptions among youth.

But the strengths identified include: commitment and dedication of officers at all ranks; younger generation of NPD staff see the department as a unified whole; greatly improved—and growing—confidence in department leadership, among officers, civilian staff, partners and others; thorough (top to mid-managers) commitment to officer wellness and improving early intervention programs; partners and potential partners recognize the challenging circumstances of law enforcement on the Nation and want to support efforts to improve operations, safety, and coordination.

For this, the Strategy Matters and public safety leadership consulting team suggested that NPD set an initial target of 500 personnel, with 300 serving as patrol officers, and 200 serving as command and support personnel. These numbers are based on a budget-driven authorized-level approach the Nation has been using and the workload-based approach. ‘We learned the NPD leadership is visionary, highly accountable, and trusted by officers, residents, and staff alike,’ said O’Connor. “Invest in this department.”

 

Celebrating Gay Pride Month!

Lesbians in Ballet: ‘Has Anyone Like Me Ever Walked These Halls?’ By Siobhan Burke, The New York Times, June 1, 2021

Two Juliets- Audrey Malek, left, and Cortney Taylor Key, rehearsing a duet with the choreographer Adriana Pierce. Credit- Yael Malka for The New York Times

“Ballet’s strict gender norms put pressure on women to conform. But dancers who don’t are finding they’re not alone.” S. Burke, The New York Times, June 1, 2021

 

A Two-Spirit Couple Breaking Barriers on the Rez…And Off

“In the summer of 2019, at Minnesota’s Prairie Island Indian Community, photographer and filmmaker Tomás Karmelo Amaya took a portrait of a couple kissing while wearing colorful regalia. The couple, Nevada-based dancers Adrian Matthias Stevens and Sean Snyder, were visiting the reservation to dance in the Tinta Wita Wacipi powwow, a tradition that brought them together — and a tradition in which they are now making history.”J. Palumbo, CNN, February 3, 2021

Adrian Matthias Stevens and Sean Snyder in their own beadwork. Brass work by Jeremy Dial. Photo- Ceylon Grey

 

Excerpt: The Native American couple redefining cultural norms — By Jacqui Palumbo, CNN, February 3, 2021

Stevens, who is of Northern Ute, Shoshone-Bannock and San Carlos Apache heritage; and Snyder, who is of Southern Ute and Navajo heritage, are a Two-Spirit couple that have been together for seven years. Within North American Indigenous communities, Two-Spirit refers to people who possess both masculine and feminine spirits, but it can also be used to represent LGBTQ+ Indigenous people more broadly.

Adrian Matthias Stevens and Sean SnyderPhoto- Tomás Karmelo Amaya

‘It’s not biological, it’s spiritual, and it ties back to what I was taught growing up,’ Stevens told Vogue in 2020. ‘My aunties recognized me as a Two-Spirit individual way before I even recognized it.’

Through his images of the pair, Amaya shows their bond and the beauty of their movement. When Stevens and Snyder met, they were both dancers on Utah’s powwow circuit but it took years for them to perform couples routines — called ‘sweetheart specials’ — together.

Adrian Matthias Stevens and Sean Snyder in their own beadwork. Brass work by Jeremy Dial. Photo- Ceylon Grey

That category was exclusively performed by male and female dancers until 2018, when they became the first Two-Spirit pair to do so, after being disqualified from a dance the year prior.

‘Because our styles are so different, we had to find a way to dance together,’Snyder is quoted as saying in Vogue. ‘And for us being two men, it was surprisingly difficult. You don’t grow up going to dances and learning to dance with another same-sex partner. We had to learn how to lead and how to take direction.’

Since then, their routines and matching regalia — each embellished with their own handmade beadwork — have brought them widespread attention.”

Celebrating Gay Pride Month:

Frank Kameny

Franklin Edward Kameny (May 21, 1925 – October 11, 2011) was an American gay rights activist. He has been referred to as “one of the most significant figures” in the American gay rights movement. n 1957, Kameny was dismissed from his position as an astronomer in the U.S. Army‘s Army Map Service in Washington, D.C., because of his homosexuality, leading him to begin “a Herculean struggle with the American establishment” that would “spearhead a new period of militancy in the homosexual rights movement of the early 1960s”. Wikipedia

Category: Culture, Pow Wows, Social | Tags: ,

Native Artists Receive Help From COVID-19 Relief Fund

Noah Watts is a Native American [Crow] TV, film, and theater actor who’s best known for his onscreen roles in ‘Ringer,’ ‘Sons of Anarchy,’ and ‘Skinwalkers.’ He is also  widely known for his voiceover work on the video game franchise ‘Assassin’s Creed…’ But COVID-19 brought those plans to a halt…‘And so, with that, income goes down,’ he added. Then in January, Watts received a $2,000 check that helped him make rent and pay for his groceries.” G. D’Elia, ICT, MAY 25, 2021

Noah Watts Alchetron-

 

Excerpt:Boosting Indigenous creativity, By Gianluca D’Elia, ICTMAY 25, 2021

“Once he learned that the coronavirus could compromise his lungs, Watts, 37, who has asthma, barely left his Billings, Montana, home.  He stopped taking new gigs or roles, except for voiceover work on a video game that he could record remotely.

Assassin’s Creed III

‘I basically had to shut in for a while,’ Watts recalled during a recent Zoom interview, ‘I couldn’t audition for any films. I was auditioning quite a bit when I went to L.A. in 2019. I couldn’t do any of those roles, any theater productions, anything where I had to be live and be around anyone else.’

Watts is one of more than 225 recipients of a grant from the Natives in Entertainment COVID-19 Relief Fund, created in a partnership between the Native American Media Alliance and Netflix to support Indigenous writers, directors, actors and other industry professionals who lost jobs to the pandemic.

Noah Watts in SOA

Ian Skorodin, Choctaw, a filmmaker who is the director of strategy for the alliance, said he encourages all Natives who have lost work to apply, even if it just provides some short-term relief. More than $450,000 worth of grants distributed as of April, and there are still more grants available…’While this amount isn’t life-changing, what we’ve been hearing is that it’s providing an adequate amount to get people through beyond what they were expecting. For makeup artist Mayera Abeita, a citizen of Laguna Pueblo, the COVID-19 relief grant helped cover preschool tuition and enrollment for her 4-year-old son. In March 2020, Abeita, 43, had just started working on a TV show pilot that was quickly shut down when the pandemic reached California. That marked the beginning of a six-month period in which the Los Angeles-based artist couldn’t find work…‘However strenuous it was, there were some little things that I was happy to be around for,’ she said.

Watts used his pandemic downtime to go back to school at Little Big Horn College, a tribal community college on the Crow reservation in Montana, for education and Crow Studies. The end goal, he said, is to teach music and acting to Crow youth and fill a gap left by public schools that tend to focus more on athletics than the arts. He said his determination to work with kids inspired him to leave Los Angeles and return to Montana in 2020. Watts, who recently got the COVID-19 vaccine, said he looks forward to working on film and theater projects with members of the Crow tribe.”

For More information Visit: Natives in Entertainment COVID-19 Relief Fund,

 

Category: Culture

Cicadas on the Menu? Let’s Explore Options!

“Brood X, one of the largest of the 15 periodical cicada broods in the U.S., had recently awakened from its 17-year underground slumber…Resembling a scene from the 1979 film “Alien,”… baby bug-like creatures slumbered in vertical pods, the cicadas were burrowing their way out of the soil. These bugs, however, were not evil extraterrestrials; they were simply lunch. It turns out, they are a tasty, high-protein treat for dogs, cats, birds, squirrels, raccoons and sometimes even humans.”M. Annette Pember, ICT, May 2, 2021

Cicada: Photo- Opera

 

Excerpt:  Cicadas: ‘The other white meat’ By Mary Annette Pember, ICT, May 2, 2021

“When the soil temperature reaches about 64 degrees in the next few weeks, Brood X cicadas will surface in parts of Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C. and New York. Anticipating this year’s cicada occupation, I began to wonder if our Indigenous ancestors also feasted on this protein bounty. Cicadas are big, more than an inch long, with a wingspan of 3-4 inches and bright red eyes.

Fried cicadas (Getty Images)

Despite their impressive appearance, however, they are harmless. Clumsy and slow, they fling themselves at every available vertical surface, including humans, as they fulfill their life’s mission – to mate, lay eggs and die.

Male cicadas attract their mates through sound, using drum-like tymbals on the sides of their abdomens. Their mating calls, loud whirring sounds, can reach 80 to 100 decibels – the sound of a loud lawnmower or motorcycle.

Females drill holes into tree branches where they lay their eggs. The eggs hatch into nymphs that fall from the trees and burrow underground, living off the sap of tree roots. The whole process of emerging, mating and egg-laying lasts about six weeks. Then they stay underground for 17 years before starting the cycle over again.

Periodical cicadas, low in fat and high in protein, are considered a delicacy by some-shutterstock

And though there are few specific examples of our ancestors eating cicadas, many Indigenous peoples have and continue to include insects in their diets…Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota, the founder and CEO of The Sioux Chef, a nonprofit that brings access and awareness to Indigenous education and foods, wants to offer insects on the menu of his next restaurant.

Sean Sherman, the Sioux Chef, plates dessert at an exhibition in Fargo, North Dakota Photo- Sherman

‘We have all sorts of amazing, diverse proteins across North America,’ Sherman said. ‘If you’re looking at food from an Indigenous perspective, you really have to include insects.’

During his research, Sherman found tribes in the Great Plains, Great Basin and the Four Corners region that included insects in their diets.

‘Edible insects such as grasshoppers are still used in Mexico today; the history of colonialism has stripped away our Indigenous foods, depicting them as inferior,’ he said.

‘People should be open to exploring protein options beyond cows, chicken and pigs. It’s a great conversation to have. Insects can taste good if you know how to prepare them.’

Category: Native Food | Tags:

Jack Ahasteen: Famous Navajo Cartoonist…With a Shy Side

“Cartoonist Jack Ahasteen of the Navajo Times is not a fan of notoriety. In fact, during the most contentious days of the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute, he often didn’t sign his own cartoons.” R. Koeler, The Navajo Times, May 6, 2021

Jack Ahasteen has been drawing cartoons for the Navajo Times for many years. Navajo Times files

Excerpt: Drawing humor: A conversation with cartoonist Jack Ahasteen, By Rhiannon Koehler, Navajo Times, May 6, 2021

“Despite Ahasteen’s best efforts, a measure of fame has found him. Sometimes strangers will even approach his grown daughters in Phoenix, inquiring about Ahasteen. He says, ‘They say, ‘You know, whenever we introduce ourselves to somebody, they recognize our last name. And they want to know if this is your dad that’s doing (all these) cartoons(s).’

Cartoon by Jack Ahasteen 2021

Ahasteen’s work stands out for its unflinching representations of life in the Four Corners region and, specifically, the reality of the injustice of Diné forced removal.

It’s an issue that hits close to home. Ahasteen’s own family faced forced removal from their ancestral home at the hands of U.S. officials.

‘Right where that land was divided up, it was where I was born,’ he said. ‘I wasn’t born in the hospital.’

Facing relocation was traumatic, Ahasteen says, especially for elders who didn’t speak English and therefore couldn’t understand what United States officials were telling them.

‘They didn’t understand what the laws are, or what was going on,’ Ahasteen remembers, noting that he was getting most of the information about relocation and range wars from the Navajo Times that he read each week while studying at Arizona State University.

‘So really, I used to always tell my parents in a humorous way what was going on and they would just laugh about it,’ he said. “And that’s where I got the ideas, how to draw cartoons and stuff like that…I had to draw these cartoons in a way they could understand it.’

Soon, Ahasteen’s work became known to the Navajo Times…The cartoons that were created as a result gave voice to the trauma of forced removal. As Ahasteen remarked in a 2019 Navajo Times front-page article written by Rima Krisst, “There’s no word for relocation in Navajo. It was like a death sentence to them.”

Category: Culture, Healing, Humor | Tags: