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Answering the call

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Roy Kady to run for Teec Nos Pos Chapter president

GOAT SPRINGS, Ariz. - Can a man find his future in the middle of a sheep pen?

Roy Kady did. And after a lifetime of studying sheep, it isn't easy to pull the wool over his eyes.

Convinced that current Teec Nos Pos Chapter officials are ignoring the community, Kady, 43, has decided to throw his hat into the ring and run for chapter president.

His tribal name is ''Na Ha Tah Nizohni'' -Navajo for ''man with beautiful ideas'' - and he's bringing them into the political fray.

Finding spare time has been a problem in Kady's busy life. Besides being a sheepherder, he is also a prolific weaver; and he's always ready to lend a hand where needed.

He was in Baltimore when the first telephone calls came.

''I called home to check my voicemail and it was full of people asking me to run for president,'' he said. ''Every day, my voicemail would fill up and people would leave notes on my door.''

Kady is answering the call.

''My community has expressed grave concerns to me about the current officials and the list of candidates bidding for those titles, and so I applied for the 'write-in' candidacy and was approved to run,'' he said. ''My community and I feel that I would be the better candidate, with leadership abilities, to unite our community as a whole again. I am one candidate that's running for the chapter president position that lives and works in my community, making it ideal for me to know my community's needs.''

The current administration is lax with holding meetings and puts even less effort into letting the public know when the meetings are being held, Kady said, adding that the chapter was supposed to be working toward self-governance, but nothing is being done on that front.

''The community needs unity. I want to change the way officials communicate with the community. Maybe it's my calling.''

He also wants to be a force for economic development. Each year, 9 million visitors pass through the area on their way to the Four Corners or Monument Valley, and the community has no economic development in place to try and capture some of those tourist dollars, Kady said.

Well-known in his community, Kady - the former president of the nonprofit organization Dine' bi iina' (Sheep is Life) - said he's not running for office so he can act like a big man. He wants to make the community better.

He grew up in Goat Springs, one of six children living in a modest home with no plumbing or electricity. His father died when he was young.

Kady was born to the Tl'iziani (Many Goats) clan and was born for the Ashiihi (Salt) clan. His maternal grandfather's clan is Bitanii (Folded Arms People) and his paternal grandfather's clan is Hashk'aa hadzohi (Yucca Fruit Strung Out in a Line).

His mother wasn't one to shirk work. She would clear numerous rocks from her fields by hand; in fact, she still wants to go out and clear the fields by hand.

''She was the one kept hidden when the government people came to take the children away,'' Kady said. So, while some of that generation lost touch with their traditions and culture, she learned it - and passed it on to him. ''So I found my life.''

Kady also would watch his mother and ma'saani weaving, and his grandfather braiding cinches for horses. That got him interested in weaving - and he found it could pay. He used money he earned from weaving to rent his tuxedo for his high school prom.

Through sheep, he found a life with meaning. Now, he hopes to use the wisdom of a sheepherder to make life better for the people of Teec Nos Pos.

''I've received support and endorsements from many individuals from my community, especially those that feel they have been left out of their community government and the veterans organization. And every day that I'm out in my community, I'm getting many nods to be their candidate of choice.''

He asks for donations through prayer, food donations or volunteering to help with his campaign. He will accept monetary donations of less than $20.

He hopes the people will ''help me on my venture to rebuild, unite and strengthen the community, seek economic opportunities, and foster our youth about sustainable life ways.''

Maybe, Kady said, it takes a sheepherder to lead the flock.

He can be reached at