Thursday, July 28, 2011
Rez plagued by 'poverty pimps'
There is a problem plaguing Diné people in the reservation. My arguments are based in real life experiences with nonprofit organizations that monopolize on our miseries while creating a comfortable lifestyle for themselves.
The four "poverty pimps" I'd like to talk about are: Developing Innovations in Navajo Education, Inc. (Kyril Calsoyas, Flagstaff), Forgotten People (Marsha Monestersky, Tuba City), Purpose Focused (Joann Armenta, Whittier, Calif.) and Tolani Lake Enterprises, Inc. (Ron White).
While trying to understand the different personalities, behaviors and the politics involved we see that these selfish actors mirror the actions of ethnic frauds like Ward Churchill, Thom Alcoze (Northern Arizona University) and Ray Pierotti (University of Kansas).
In this discussion you will see that this is by design with regard to neo-colonized behaviors, that there are direct relationships between these two examples. While all of these non-profits intentionally marginalize participants in their play, one in particular (Forgotten People) goes beyond all this in destruction of relationships and dire manipulation of cultural mores within this structure.
All four nonprofits have transparency issues, have a Navajo face (board of directors), use Robert's Rule of Order (stops the traditional grassroots voice), are gatekeepers, use the media for their personal gain, hire from the outside or hire their friends exclusively, and always, always leave an empty legacy.
Kyril Calsoyas in December 1992 completed his doctoral dissertation, "The Soul of Education: A Navajo Perspective" (NAU). Alcoze approved this move by design. Oddly, three of the four nonprofits all hail from the education field.
We see this happening today. Isabella Walker, an important highly visible member of many political Navajo tribal administrations (chairman to president eras) is married to Calsoyas. This gives him exclusive insight into our tribal affairs and beyond this, Calsoyas is the elitist poverty pimp, a title he is quite proud to bear.
Those of you he gave laptops to as a gift should know that he knows where you go, what sites you visit and he can see your email exchanges. Power is key to him.
Tolani Lake Enterprises in many respects is defunct but leaves behind the biggest empty legacy that is in my backyard. Ron White built Tolani Lake Elementary School Academy, the beautifully completed domes (originally teacher housing) that sat unused for many years, a senior citizen's home that sits completely finished and ready to use but the monies to operate this facility do not exist.
I was a founding member of Naataanii Community Services Inc., that was an umbrella nonprofit with TLE and I managed to bring in a $3 million NAHASDA grant to rebuild in the Bennett Freeze. These dreams fell through as White absconded with the planning monies ($300K). Today, Bill Edwards bravely heads up this company and is trying his best to address these issues.
More recently, Purpose Focused came onto the landscape to help people in the former Bennett Freeze. To jumpstart her vision, Armenta proposed an earth day festival to be held in two places: Service to All Relations School (STAR School) and the Naataanii area community were selected.
Many of us worked with her, even putting up with her mental and verbal abuse. Toward the end I fired her for these actions. She left (with all the money) after putting on the event at the STAR School. We had to scramble to meet our concert obligations in Naataanii.
It was at this time I discovered that she made deals with white New Age performers to come into the reservation and she would pay them outlandish fees. She pressed me to bring in Native performers at no cost to the event. This was further personified by the building of a stage. She hired one man from Oregon and another from Texas paying their round-trip airfare, lodging and food.
In my community (as in many Navajo communities) we have very talented, experienced carpenters that would have taken care of building a better stage than that constructed. This stage sits empty and unused because it's not safe and beyond this, all the players at the STAR School event were also paid for their time, lodging, airfare and the like.
If you Google "Navajo uranium contamination" you will get about 165,000 results. Google "Forgotten People' you will get about 38,600,000 results. The Forgotten People within the Navajo lens is an organization managed by Marsha Monestersky (from New York City), an affirmed communist and a consummate Zionist trained in the art of war (these are her words).
The board she directs also drives her about and serves as her interpreter. A grassroots establishment that prides itself in its get-in-your-face militant persona is one that capriciously files lawsuits while sadly milking its membership to pay attorney salary (Jim Zion).
Monestersky promotes infighting among Navajo families and dividing reservation communities along the Window Rock versus grassroots entity storyline. Her actions go against tribal cultural norms and values. She came to us by way of Big Mountain where they ousted her but the residents of Big Mountain will not give reason for their actions. Within this, the Hopi Tribe has an exclusion order against her and she openly laughs about this legal sovereign action.
Monestersky's words are heavily ingrained with the media-at-large and she is fluent in the use of the Internet. This is usually dangerous when it involves tribes and intellectual property as it relates to marketing culture without tribal permission to publish or produce videos and the like on the net.
To prove my point, if you attend an EPA conference where the Forgotten are presenting you will see her taking credit for creating perception into this narrative. She will hog the presentation time as well but beyond this, she takes credit (online) for bestowing this story to the world.
While researching my allegations, I came across an EPA workshop where she presented with Dr. Lee Greer (La Sierra University, Riverside, Calif.) in Tuba City a position paper, "Forgotten People-Building Capacity Decolonizing the Navajo Nation-Using Grassroots Driven Development and Activism to Secure Environmental Justice."
How is it that a couple of invaders can present on subject matter foreign to them?
Further, on Feb. 15, 2011, I met with Greer at his campus and specifically told him to follow protocols with references to publishing a DNA health study that he is currently working on with Monestersky.
The Navajo Nation government's role today has been negatively impacted by a transparency civil lawsuit filed by Monestersky. The Navajo Hopi Land Commission as a result cannot do its job in service delivery. Civil lawsuits in Navajo take on the average 11 years to resolve.
Within this, recent activities in human safe water delivery into Black Falls have been sabotaged by her and she has been evicted from water meetings held in Window Rock for creating disturbances and disruptions.
I conclude this letter with an appeal to my Diné people: Let us get together and work toward a brighter future grounded in the words of my late aunt Stella who spoke of respect and k'é.
I ask your support to get behind Mr. Raymond Maxx, our executive director with the Navajo Hopi Land Commission, and his staff to transform the conflict that Monestersky has imposed on us and to rid her of our conscious. In the physical realm, I ask that her removal from our reservation happen immediately.
Naataanii Peacebuilders Alliance
[Courtesy of Navajo Times, July 28, 2011, Letters to the Editor]