Category Archives: Native Politics

“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


In 1929 The First U.S. Vice President was Native!

Note: For those who gather with family this year, please remember to be safe. For more guidelines visit Celebrating Thanksgiving  CDC (Center for Disease Control)  


“Charles Curtis, who served as Vice President from 1929 to 1933, grew up in part on Kanza land and spoke proudly of his Native American ancestry.”C. Hauser, The New York Times (11/10/20)

Vice President Charles Curtis meeting with chiefs of the Rosebud Reservation, who promised their support during a presidential election.Credit: Pacific & Atlantic Photos

Excerpt: Before Harris, This Vice President Broke a Racial Barrier, By Christine Hauser, The New York Times

Kamala Harris broke gender and racial barriers this year as the first woman [ of mixed race] to be elected vice president.

But historians and Native Americans are also revisiting the legacy of Charles Curtis, whose Kaw Nation ancestry gives him a claim as the first ‘person of color’ to serve as vice president, though the term’s current usage emerged decades later. Mr. Curtis, who served under President Herbert Hoover from 1929 to 1933, often referred to the novelty of his background while in public office, speaking of his rise ‘from Kaw tepee to Capitol’ as his Senate biography notes…His embrace of his heritage, however, also came with a legacy that some historians and advocates say undermined Native land rights…Mr. Hoover chose him as a running mate in 1928, possibly because of his popularity in the pastoral Midwest…He learned the language and excelled at horsemanship, according to the Senate. And he pursued his early education in Topeka, shuttling back and forth between the city and the reservation, said Crystal Douglas, who runs the Kanza Museum in Kaw City, Oklahoma…Many Native leaders thought a man who grew up with a tribe would look out for their interests.

But parts of his legacy, historians say, are overshadowed by his role as the original author of the Curtis Act of 1898,which orchestrated allotment of Native lands and curtailed tribal leadership…Ms. Douglas, the Kanza Museum director, said that Mr. Curtis “did some wonderful things” for his people, and introduced bills backing women’s voting rights and child labor laws..She said that Mr. Curtis’s personal papers show he was “disappointed” with how the Curtis Act ultimately harmed tribal identity…Then he faded into relative obscurity, until this year, as Ms. Harris’s selection on a major party ticket renewed interest in his stature as the highest-ranking person of Native descent in the federal government.”  Find out more about Charles Curtis at wikipedia


Black Hills Woman Painting By Maxine Noel- Canadian First Nations artist