This letter is in response to Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley’s recent comments during his State of the Navajo Nation speech regarding the EPA’s decision to review the environmental assessment for the proposed Desert Rock power plant.
It is embarrassing that in one sentence he asked, “How many of my people have to die before the U.S. government responds to help?” and ends with, “This is about sovereignty.”
Those people, both Native and non-Native, who stand to profit from this misguided project are so desperate that they can no longer form a coherent argument.
Shirley went on to say, “I want to know that Navajos can live within their reservation 20, 50, 100 years from now and Desert Rock is the key to ensure that happening.” Has Shirley forgotten that Navajos have held onto their land and multiplied in spite of the poison being spewed from the two existing power plants in the area for hundreds of years?
Does Joe Shirley really believe that Desert Rock is going to end poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence and gangs as he suggested? The answer to all these problems lies with adherence to the fundamental laws which teach respect for man and earth.
Who speaks for the unborn children who will inherit this decision, this abused land, the poisoned air, and the mercury-laden fish? Not Joe Shirley. He speaks for the foreign corporation, Sithe Global, that has come in to our country with this short-sighted plan.
The Iroquois say “consider the impact of your decisions on the next seven generations.” Listen to our Iroquois brothers, Mr. Shirley.
– Thomas F. Johnston
Red Mesa, Colo.