By Brenda Norrell
Klee Benally, Navajo, points out that the US puppet governments are continuing to appease the United States and corporations.
"I would expect this type of declaration from totalitarian government dictators, not those who are democratically elected leaders of Tribal Nations. Considering the history of colonization and BIA established puppet governments on Native American lands, Shirley's statement is not surprising.
"Attempting to silence the voice and limit the rights of Dine' people to protect their life, land and liberty is not sovereignty, it is in the direction of totalitarianism."
Benally points out that Shirley uses the catch word "sovereignty" to defend his stance against anything Shirley disagrees with. Benally said, "Does sovereignty really mean being dependent on non-renewable energy that destroys Mother Earth, pollutes drinking water and air and compromises our holy covenant with nature? Does it mean being dependent on casinos and outside corporate interests?"
The same thing happened with the battle over Big Mountain. Then the US government tried to divide the tribes' Joint Use Area between the Hopi and the Navajo. Representing the tribe, the Hopi tribal council said the Big Mountain area was part of the traditional Hopi homeland.
Klee Benally, Brenda Norrell, and their ilk responded that the Hopi tribal council was a "puppet government." Never mind that the Hopi had been saying the land belonged to them for generations. Eventually Benally and company abandoned the argument--presumably because castigating the Hopi government didn't affect the Hopi's love of their land.
Any time activists try to demonize a tribal government by calling it a "puppet government," beware. It suggests they're resorting to propaganda tactics because they can't win the debate on its merits.
For more on the subject, see Navajo vs. Environmentalists and Hopi vs. Environmentalists.
Below: The Big Mountain area.