By Rosanda Suetopka Thayer
Many Hopis and Navajos consider the Grand Canyon and its surrounding areas, including the Little Colorado River Gorge, extremely sacred. The Hopi people consider the area an original emergence home-place. Zuni tribal members also consider this area to be sacred.
Milton Tso, Cameron Chapter president, spoke to members of the media on Sunday at the protest campsite near Cameron.
"Navajos are supposed to cherish life," he said. "But is this how we are now presenting ourselves as Navajos to the world? That we are willing to allow this man to gamble with his life over one of our most sacred places? All for the sake of tourism dollars?
He wondered who would be held liable had Wallenda fallen off the cable.
"Is the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation or the Navajo President and his Vice President willing to assume such high liability for a media-hyped event that has nothing to do with our culture or our tribal tradition?" Tso asked. "Also no provisions were made for any of the local Cameron people to even participate either personally or communally in this event if they had wanted to. More than half of the Navajos living in Cameron don't even have electricity, so how would they even be able to watch this Wallenda event on a TV that is happening in their own backyard on their own land?"
Tso said nobody from the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department met with the Cameron Chapter to explain the event.
"Neither the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation department, its director Martin Begay or his assistant director, Helen Webster, ever met with us here locally at the chapter, though we have asked them to come to our chapter meetings to explain to us what this event was about and how could we all work together to benefit, if this was truly going to take place. We were only notified about this event less than three months ago," Tso said. "Although Webster did say that she would be getting us a $5,000 check for our local student scholarship fund, we have never seen the check or any follow up activity on her promise."
Below: "Milton Tso, Cameron Chapter president, protests against the Nik Wallenda high wire walk June 23 at the junction of Highway 89 and High way 64 near the walk site." (Rosanda Suetopka Thayer)