Kayenta Native Serves on the Cutting Edge of Naval Aviation Modernization

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Electa Berassa, Navy Office of Community Outreach

LEMOORE, Calif. – A 2004 Monument Valley High School graduate and Kayenta, Arizona, native is serving in the U.S. Navy with VFA 147 The Argonauts.

Petty Officer 1st Class Berthia Sullivan works as a yeoman and operates out of Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore, California.

A Navy yeoman is responsible for everything personnel-related with pay and benefits.

“I have learned a lot about my Navajo culture,” said Sullivan. “I come from a long history of Native American veterans. From a young age my grandmother instilled in us a lot of our culture to make sure we are successful. She sacrificed a lot to get me here, and I don’t ever want to let her down.”

NAS Lemoore is the home of the F-35C Lightning II, which is slated to play a critical role in carrier strike groups’ integrated warfighting packages, according to Navy officials.

F/A-18 Super Hornets, with the ability to carry large payloads of advanced weapons, will continue to provide lethality and flexibility to complement the capabilities of the F-35C Lightning II. This combination of naval aviation assets will provide a mix of strike assets to deliver responsiveness and firepower across the range of military operations, according to Navy officials.

The F-35C will serve as the first stealth platform to operate forward from the sea, extending combat power in all threat environments and reducing the Navy’s reliance on supporting aircraft, tankers and jammers while enabling joint interoperability with newer systems.

The strike fighter wing, headquartered at NAS Lemoore, ensures that each squadron is fully combat-ready to conduct carrier-based, all-weather, attack, fighter and support missions for the Pacific Fleet.

Sullivan has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My grandfather was a WWII Army vet,” said Sullivan. “He helped set the standard before I was even born, and he talked about what it was like to leave the reservation and travel. That fueled my decision to join and get me where I am today.”

Sullivan is also proud of earning the Navy Marine Corp Achievement Medal in December for making sure everyone was taken care of regarding pay, personnel and benefits.

With the CSFWP consisting of more than 20 squadrons, highly specialized jobs range from training new aviators to maintaining airframes and engines, to handling and flying aircraft.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Sullivan and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“Serving in the Navy means making sure there is a future for my girls, and they are as free as I was growing up,” Sullivan added. “I am making sure they get the same opportunities, if not more.”

Taskforce Completes Successful Opioid Bust in Arizona

Over 9,000 Fentanyl pills and hundreds of pounds of other drugs seized

WASHINGTON – From May 15, 2018 through May 26, 2018, the Department of the Interior (DOI) Opioid Reduction Task Force conducted a Criminal Interdiction Operation in and around Tribal reservations in Arizona, seizing 9,050 Fentanyl pills, 48.2 pounds of methamphetamine, 1.2 pounds of heroin, 863 pounds of marijuana, one-half pound of cocaine, and $30,000 in cash. In total, the drug bust yielded a seizure of 913.5 pounds of illegal narcotics, with a street value of approximately $4,791,417.00, and led to 86 total arrests. The operation in Arizona is the second led by Interior’s Joint Task Force, which Secretary Zinke established to help achieve President Donald Trump’s mission to end the opioid epidemic.

“Our task force on opioids continues to distinguish itself as one of the finest operations in law enforcement today; I could not be more proud of these professionals,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “It’s heartbreaking to see the scale of the problem, and rather than further stigmatizing victims, we are cracking down on the dealers who are selling out our children, selling out our communities, and selling out our nation. I thank our partners in Indian Country, along with state and local law enforcement, for their dedication to this mission. These brave men and women are keeping the opioid dealers up at night, and with good reason; if you are trafficking these drugs, we will find you, arrest you, and bring you to justice.”

“A drug-free Indian Country is a healthy Indian Country. I commend the efforts of our BIA Division of Drug Enforcement agents, along with federal, tribal and state partners for successfully conducting this operation to eradicate drugs in tribal communities,” said John Tahsuda, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs. “Only together can we protect our loved ones from the harmful effects of these devastating substances.”

Significant Seizures:

Methamphetamine

33.2 pounds located in a vehicle tire with estimated street value of $1,754,212.00. (Tohono O’odham Reservation)

Methamphetamine 

15 pounds located in a natural void of a Toyota Scion with a street value of $790,952.00. (Gila River Reservation)

Heroin 

1.2 pounds located in a natural void of a Toyota Scion with a street value of $55,501.00. (Gila River Reservation)

Cocaine

0.5 pounds located in a natural void of a Toyota Scion with a street value of $22,680.00. (Gila River Reservation)

Marijuana

863.588 pounds (four separate seizures) with an estimated street value of $1,802,072.00. (Tohono O’odham Reservation)

Fentanyl 

Approximately 9,050 pills with an estimated street value of $366,000.00. (Gila River Reservation)

Total Seizure: 

913.5 pounds of illegal narcotics and approximately 9,050 fentanyl pills with a total street value of approximately $4,791,417.00.

Secretary Zinke has worked with tribes to carry out President Trump’s directive to stop the opioid crisis, conducting dozens of tribal visits to see the affected communities, while listening and learning about how to fight the crisis. In starting new initiatives to fight the epidemic, such as the creation of the Joint Task Force, the Department of the Interior is committed to giving all resources required to fight drug abuse.

The DOI Task Force for the Interdiction Operation consisted of Special Agents from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Division of Drug Enforcement (DDE) and BIA K-9 uniformed officers, along with the Tohono O’odham Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI-Sells, Arizona), US Border Patrol (USBP), Pascua Yaqui Tribal Police Department, San Carlos Apache Tribal Police Department, Gila River Tribal Police Department, Native American Targeted Investigations of Violent Enterprises (NATIVE) Task Force, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS). The Criminal Interdiction Operation focused on highways known for being high drug trafficking routes into and through Indian Country. This collaboration focused efforts on conducting high visibility enforcement operations with specialized drug interdiction teams.

Cold War Patriots Hosts Town Hall Meetings for Uranium Workers in the Four Corners Region, June 5-6

– New format enables workers to get more customized information about government compensation & healthcare benefits they have earned –

Denver, Colo. (May 23, 2018) – Cold War Patriots (CWP), a community resource organization that is the nation’s strongest and most sustained voice advocating for worker benefits, will host free town hall meetings for nuclear weapons and uranium workers in the Four Corners Region on June 5 and 6 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day. With a new format this year, CWP is making it easier for workers to get the specific information they need about the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) and the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA).

The morning sessions, starting at 10 a.m., will be customized for people who have already applied for RECA or EEOICPA benefits and have either been awarded a U.S. Department of Labor white medical benefits card or have a pending claim. At the morning session, participants will learn:

  • How to file for medical expense reimbursement
  • How impairment ratings can get them more monetary compensation
  • Why they should add conditions to a claim
  • Why in-home care might be right for them

The 2 p.m. afternoon sessions are for workers who haven’t yet applied for their benefits or those who have applied but whose claims have been denied. No new information is available for post 1971 uranium miners at this time. The afternoon session participants will learn:

  • If they qualify for up to $400,000 in monetary compensation and free healthcare
  • How to apply for benefits
  • What benefits are included
  • How to reopen denied claims

“Our goal at CWP is to ensure the workers who helped keep America free by building the nation’s nuclear arsenal and are now suffering illness because of their sacrifice and service are connected with the monetary compensation and health benefits they have earned,” says Tim Lerew, CWP Chairperson. “By segmenting our presentations in this way, we can better help the workers with their individual situations, which can be overwhelming to navigate on their own.”

Lerew says anyone who worked at any nuclear weapons or uranium mining facility is invited to attend a presentation. Resources will be on hand to help workers understand the financial and medical benefits available to them – including home healthcare – and to guide them through the process of proving the connection between their workplace exposure and their illness.

Below are the meeting dates and locations. Refreshments will be offered.

Tuesday, June 5

Courtyard by Marriott Farmington

560 Scott Ave.

Farmington, NM

Wednesday, June 6

Phil Thomas Performing Arts Center

State Route 504

Shiprock, NM

The EEOICPA program is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and offers monetary compensation and healthcare benefits to workers who participated in the nuclear weapons program from 1942 until the present day and became sick because of radiation exposure or other toxic substances. Learn more at https://www.dol.gov/owcp/energy/.  The RECA program is administered by the U.S. Department of Justice and offers monetary compensation to persons in certain situations who were exposed to radiation exposure. More information can be found at https://www.justice.gov/civil/common/reca.

About Cold War Patriots (CWP)

Cold War Patriots (CWP) is a division of Professional Case Management (PCM), which provides specialized in-home healthcare services to nuclear weapons and uranium workers. CWP is a community resource and advocacy organization and the nation’s strongest and most sustained voice to advocate for worker benefits. CWP helps former nuclear weapons and uranium workers get the recognition, compensation and care they have earned. CWP, the first national organization to connect workers with benefits, does this work for free on behalf of its members. Visit www.coldwarpatriots.org or call 888-903-8989 for more information.

Media Contact:          

Shannon Porter, Cold War Patriots

media@coldwarpatriots.org | 888-903-8989

Kayenta Earth Week 2018

Kayenta Township designated this past week earth week, and I must say that the community of Kayenta pulled it off. Altogether the community of Kayenta gathered 60 Cubic Yards of Trash!

 

 

Trash was collected:

  • North of Laguna Creek Bridge on US Highway 163
  • Heading east out of Kayenta on US Highway 160
  • South on BIA Route N591
  • West of Kayenta on US Highway 160

 

 

 

 

 

I would like to thank the following organizations for helping out with this effort and making this possible for Kayenta.

  • Community Members of Kayenta
  • The Teachers of Kayenta Unified School District
  • Kayenta Township
  • ADOT
  • Kayenta Fire Department
  • Blue Coffee Pot
  • The Kayenta Chapter

JoDonna Hall- Ward proud owner of Blue Coffee Pot and a Kayenta Township Commissioner helped tremendously with her 40oz bottle recycling that she puts together every year.

 

 

Altogether with her efforts she was able to collect 23,033 40oz bottles. That translates to $1,151.65 of her own money that she put up to get rid of this eye sore in the community of Kayenta. The Kayenta Township is currently assisting with the hauling and disposal fees of these 40oz bottles in White Mesa, Utah with an additional estimated cost of $2000.00.

 

 

 

I truly believe we banned together as a community and made Kayenta better for our community members and visitors from all over the world. I sincerely hope that we all take pride in our community and take a sense of ownership of Kayenta that we call home. Thank you to all who came out and assisted with “Earth Week” here in Kayenta and making this week one for the books.

Ahehee!

Gabriel Yazzie – Kayenta Town Manager

 

In First Raid, New Opioid Task Force Seizes $2.5 Million worth of Meth and $22,000 in Marijuana, Heroin and Other Narcotics

Secretary Zinke made the announcement at the opening of the “Prescribed to Death” traveling memorial remembering victims and survivors of the opioid crisis 

WASHINGTON – Today, just two weeks after U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced the Department was forming a new Joint Task Force (JTF) to combat the opioid crisis in Indian Country, the Secretary announced the JTF’s first raid seized 49 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of $2.5 million and more than $20,000 worth of marijuana, plus smaller amounts of heroin, and other narcotics. The raid was led by Interior’s JTF with partnership from the Pueblo Tribes and New Mexico law enforcement officials. Secretary Zinke formed the JTF in response to President Donald J. Trump’s commitment to end the opioid crisis.

“I am incredibly proud of the law enforcement officers on this Joint Task Force. The work they did over the weekend in New Mexico, seizing the very drugs that are poisoning tribal communities, will save lives,” said Secretary Zinke. “They successfully stopped $2.5 million worth of methamphetamine from stealing our children’s futures. Their work is a perfect example of what we can do when we leverage the resources of the government to address this crisis in Indian Country. President Trump’s leadership in the fight against opioids and other drugs has been tremendous. Together, we are cracking down on the dealers who are selling out our kids.”

“I am very pleased to see that the new leadership in the BIA Office of Justice Services is exceeding expectations in carrying out the Secretary and President’s direction to combat opioids across Indian Country,” said Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Bryan Rice. “Deputy Bureau Director Charlie Addington is leading a results-driven effort to address this epidemic in our communities and surrounding areas.”

The JTF consisted of agents and officers from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and their K-9 unit, Office of Justice Services, Division of Drug Enforcement, BIA District-IV Indian Country – High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, New Mexico State Police (NMSP) and their K-9 unit, NMSP Investigation Bureau’s Regional Narcotic Task Force, and the Department of Homeland Security Task Force.

This operation ran from April 3 to April 7, 2018, and was conducted at the following Pueblos around Albuquerque, New Mexico: Laguna, Sandia, Cochiti, San Ildefonso, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Picuris, Santo Domingo, Pojoaque, Nambe, San Felipe, Tesuque, and Ohkay Owengah. The JTF conducted 304 traffic stops and 93 vehicle searches, issued 129 traffic citations, and arrested 11 subjects for drug possession.

Last month, Secretary Zinke championed President Trump’s commitment to end the opioid epidemic in a series of tribal community visits during the week of the President’s Opioid initiative. The Secretary personally visited several tribal communities around the country — Tohono O’odham, Gila River, Salt River, and AK-Chin in Arizona; Oneida in Wisconsin; Spokane, Colville, and Lummi Nations in Washington State — to listen and learn about how the opioid crisis is impacting tribes and to show the Department’s commitment to addressing the resonating effects of this addiction. Tribes welcomed these visits and the President’s commitment to eliminating the opioid epidemic with the greatest appreciation.

Monument Valley KOA Journey Campground Open For 2018 Summer Season

KOA News Service (MARCH 27, 2018) – The Monument Valley KOA Journey campground, located at MM2, US Highway 163 in Monument Valley, is now open for the 2018 summer camping season.

“Campground owners at KOAs throughout the U.S. and Canada have been working hard to get ready for the season ahead,” said KOA President Toby O’Rourke. “They’re ready to provide outstanding experiences to their guests, and we are all looking forward to a fantastic season ahead.”

For the third year in a row, KOA has partnered with Keystone RV Company to get the camping season started off right. The grand prize winner of the 2018 “What’s Behind the Yellow Sign?” Giveaway will receive a Keystone Passport ROV Travel Trailer valued at $19,800, as well as a $500 KOA gift card and $1000 in cash.

The Giveaway will run through May 31, 2018. Campers can enter daily by visiting www.BehindTheSignGiveaway.com or on the Kampgrounds of America, Inc. Facebook page.

KOA has just released its 2018 Edition of the KOA Directory, a complete travel atlas of every U.S. state and Canadian province. It includes a descriptive listing of each KOA campground, including the Monument Valley KOA Journey, as well as detailed maps and directions to each location. It is free at any KOA campground and available online at http://koa.uberflip.com/i/784851-2018-koa-directory.

Kampgrounds of America is celebrating its 56th Anniversary in 2018. KOA, the world’s largest network of family-friendly campgrounds with more than 500 locations in North America, was born on the banks of the Yellowstone River in Billings, Montana in 1962.

PROPOSAL TO AMEND KAYENTA TOWNSHIP BUSINESS SALES TAX RATE

Pursuant to Section 2-107(C) of the Administrative Rules and Procedures Ordinance and Section 8-307 of the Business Sales Tax Ordinance (subchapter 3 of the Tax Ordinances), the Kayenta Township Commission (“Commission”) hereby provides notice of a proposed action to increase the Business Sales Tax from five percent (5%) to six percent (6%) by amending Sections 8.303 and 8.311(G) of the Business Sales Tax Regulations. The proposed amendments are as follows: http://kayentatownship-nsn.gov/Home/PDF/tax_6.pdf

Last Day for Public Comment April 14, 2018

Peshlakai’s SB1235 passes Senate, would create official Native American Day

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX Senator Peshlakai released the following statement after her bill SB1235 passed out of the Senate. SB1235 would establish June 2nd as Native American Day and an official Arizona state unpaid holiday.

Currently, California, Nevada and South Dakota have declared Native American Day an official state holiday and Tennessee celebrates American Indian Day.

“I’m deeply proud that my bill to create an official state Native American Day passed out of the Senate today. Twenty-two tribes are currently recognized in Arizona and tribal reservation land covers over a quarter of the state. An estimated five to six percent of Arizona’s total population is of Native American ancestry making it the second largest Native American population in the U.S.

“Before 1924, Native Americans were not U.S. citizens and we didn’t earn the right to vote in Arizona until 1948. With over 390,000 tribal members in Arizona and almost 11,000 veterans, it’s long past time we recognize the contributions Native Americans have made to our state’s history and the important role we play in its future. Arizona’s Native American Day is a good start and I hope my colleagues in the House will approve my bill and send it to the governor.”

 

Utah Diné Bikéyah cites creation narratives as further justification for protecting Bears Ears Triassic-Era phytosaur fossil resources

SALT LAKE CITY – Mark Maryboy, a board member for Utah Diné Bikéyah, says the recent discovery of phytosaur fossils in Bears Ears National Monument highlights another essential resource that is intimately tied to the Native wisdom, and in this case Navajo Creation narratives.

Kevin Madalena, a cultural resource coordinator for Utah Diné Bikéyah, adds that the Ancient Ones were aware of Triassic-era fossils, dinosaurs and the remains of other creatures like it, as indicated by historic Mammoth petroglyphs recorded at various ancestral Puebloan ruins.

These tribal connections around fossils and nearly every other natural resource at Bears Ears include stories, wisdom, and cultural teachings that we as tribal members have rarely shared with the public or the mainstream media. Utah Diné Bikéyah aims to show the benefits and legacy of Native oral history that showcases the diversity, intelligence and complexity of thought that these lessons hold. Dinosaurs and paleontology has shaped Southwestern Native American views of the world.

Recent media stories explained how the phytosaur and other creatures that lived in the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, are informing our scientific understanding of how “Mother Nature did experiments with life,” and called it one of the world’s richest collections of Triassic-era fossils. According to Rob Gay, the paleontologist with Colorado Canyons Association who discovered the fossil, the phytosaur closely resembles modern crocodiles and is part of the Chinle Formation.

In the Navajo creation stories, the phytosaur was most likely living during the Third World among other “Monsters.” The Third World, or Yellow World, is when the Hero Twins, deities in the Navajo universe, fought these monsters that wreaked havoc on Mother Earth’s many lifeforms. These Navajo “Hero Twins” made the world habitable by defeating most all of the monsters who roamed across DineTah (Navajo Territory), turned them into fossils and buried their blood and organs deep in the earth (some think this is oil, gas, uranium and other minerals that will wreak havoc again if dug up.) The physical evidence of these fossils that dot the landscape, combined with the life lessons of these teachings, shapes who Navajo people are today.

Some evidence of these notorious monsters still exists in Navajo territory, such as the huge bird that lived on Shiprock, a fossil bed in Red Mesa, Ariz., and dinosaur tracks near Tuba City, Ariz., all of which were killed by the Hero Twins and the weapons they secured from their father, the Sun.

“The monsters have been here since the First World,” explained Maryboy, who is also a Navajo cultural practitioner. “But, in the Third World, they became so big!”

Maryboy explained that the Hero Twins and other living beings in Third World had to listen to the universe and relied on astronomy for information to defeat these monsters. Such modern examples among Navajo people today are the use of star-gazers to help heal patients back into a harmonious state with nature, or Hozho.

During this primordial time, as the Hero Twins slayed these monsters, ceremonies, with guidance from Navajo deities, were created to protect and cleanse the spirit of the twins. This is where ceremonies like the Enemy Way emerged, Maryboy said, alluding to the association of how Navajo ceremonies were created to fight monsters, possibly like the phytosaur, before Navajos emerged as a people into the current, Glittering Fourth World, and continue to exercise these ceremonies today.

“A lot of what I am telling you is lost on the public. There are very few of us that know this knowledge,” Maryboy said, adding that the texts “Sharing the Skies: Navajo Astronomy” and “The Book of the Navajo” are sources that verify his claim. Yet, at the same time, every Navajo child is taught lessons derived from these teachings.

According to Madalena, the era in which the Tyrannosaurs lived and when humans emerged is determined by the Creator, or intellectual designer of the universe.

“Right now, it’s our turn to live. We were not meant to live during a T-Rex era,” explained Madalena, who is Jemez Pueblo and a trained paleontologist. “We have proof at the Bears Ears National Monument that ruins have Fremont Age 1 and Basketmaker II construction, with some of the kivas intentionally included Theropod fossils hauled from great distances and inserted as hearths or decorations in prominent locations in the home. Fossils are important to who we are.”

“We know that old Puebloans drew mammoths being hunted. They knew of the larger animals long after they existed. The depictions in petroglyphs come close to what we see in the modern dinosaurs at collections in museums.”

Madalena added the phytosaur discovery is an important piece of data and could help us understand climate change, particularly when the U.S. military has recently asked paleontologists and geologists about how to prepare for climatic threats. Similar threats to what we are experiencing today may have caused mass extinctions during other time periods.

“All that data is irreplaceable,” he said, referring to how the Trump Administration’s recent approval for Energy Fuels, Inc. to begin mining at the Danero’s Mine further disrupts tribal connections to Bears Ears.

Madalena previously worked with Gay as a member of the Bureau of Land Management and collaborated with Adrienne Mayor on “Fossil Legends of the First Americans.”

“As earth historians, we need to look at the data on earth before humans were here,” added Madalena. “That’s why it’s absolutely imperative that we protect Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. You cannot use an algorithm to construct environmental models out of thin air. The extraction of energy resources should always be weighed against the values that may be destroyed in the process, and in the case of Bears Ears Native wisdom should be given a chance to teach us what we know.”

Drivers should plan for extra time on US 163 north of Kayenta due to construction project that begins today

The Arizona Department of Transportation advises drivers to plan for extra time when traveling on US 163 north of Kayenta during a scheduled six-month-long construction project that begins today (March 14).

The 1-mile work zone, located between mileposts 400 and 401, is approximately 5 miles north
of Kayenta. Drivers traveling between Kayenta and the Utah state line will use a temporary detour alongside US 163 to continue north- and southbound travel through the work zone. US 163 is the highway motorists use to access the popular Monument Valley Navajo Tribal park near the Arizona-Utah border.

Drivers should expect intermittent delays of up to 30 minutes during the construction project, which is  needed to improve the drainage system along this portion of US 163 during rain storms.

Motorists should slow down and use caution through the work zone. To learn more about the US 163 roadway improvement project, visit [www.azdot.gov/US163]www.azdot.gov/US163.

Schedules are subject to change based on weather and other unforeseen factors. For more information, please call the ADOT Project Information Line at 855.712.8530 or email Projects@azdot.gov. For real-time highway conditions statewide, visit ADOT’s Traveler Information Site at www.az511.gov, follow ADOT on Twitter (@ArizonaDOT) or call 511, except when driving.