Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Navajo Human Rights Commission not invited to Farmington Minority Roundtable

Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission and Farmington Mayor’s New Initiative

By Rachelle Todea
Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission
Posted at Censored News
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com

CORRECTION:  NNHRC recently learned The Daily Times’ online comment section allowing for anonymity has been discontinued, instead a new online service for the forum has been implemented. Thank you to Kurt Madar, a reporter for the Daily Times, for bringing this to my attention.
UPDATE: October 12, 2011

NNHRC and Farmington Mayor’s New Initiative
ST. MICHAELS, Ariz.—Navajo Nation Human Rights officials continue to monitor race related events and incidents in the City of Farmington and San Juan County including the Mayor’s latest endeavor.
Mayor Tommy Roberts has begun an informal forum to promote discussion for “people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds who live and/or work in [Farmington],” called the “Minority Issues Roundtable.” In talking with Bob Campbell, the assistant city manager for the City of Farmington, the roundtable was by invite only.
NNHRC was not invited since NNHRC does not live or work in the community of Farmington. NNHRC learned about the initiative from a Daily Times reporter, who wanted a response about the Mayor’s initiative.
“Education and outreach are the most effective tools against intolerance and racism,” said Leonard Gorman for the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission. “Hopefully, Mayor Roberts will gain further understanding about how to address race relations by the invited participants.”
Stakeholders and experts must come together in their field for win-win solution in race relations.
NNHRC recognizes “the majority of the people in the City do not tolerate racism,” according to the Memorandum of Agreement between the Navajo Nation and City of Farmington, which was signed on November 17, 2010. But “… we must never forget the tragedies inflicted on Navajos by a minority in the community and ensure that the Navajo people’s stories are acknowledged and told in their words.”
Hopefully, the intent is to gain Navajo people’s stories from the Farmington community and the stories are acknowledged at the Mayor’s forum.
About “racism and discriminatory practices to be eliminated now and forever at every level of government and eventually in the hearts and minds of all peoples,” as stated in the Farmington’s and Navajo Nation’s MOA—on July 27, 2011, NNHRC proposed a billboard campaign related to DinĂ© values and non-Navajo values to promote a healthier community.
NNHRC has also proposed a “Progress Report” to the City of Farmington through its liaison body the Community Relations Commission. The report card outlines recommendations made in three reports: The Farmington Report: Civil Rights for Native Americans 30 Years Later report of 2005, the 2007 Promoting Police Accountability and Community Relations in Farmington report, and the 2008-2009 Assessing Race Relations between Navajos and Non-Navajos report. The intent of the report card is to use it as a “spring board” to which NNHRC and the City could move forward, not to give Farmington a grade. Discussions about the report card will continue between NNHRC and the City of Farmington.
Though, Farmington has made positive strides, according to the Assessing Race Relations between Navajo and non-Navajos report, the strides must continue for improvement. More importantly, the report was not intended to end active improvements in race relations, hence, the MOA.
Finally, about monitoring, to date, the Farmington Daily Times has provided NNHRC a lens to which to monitor the City of Farmington and San Juan County race related incidents. Also noteworthy, NNHRC recently learned the entity which facilitated the Farmington Daily Times’ on-line comment section allowing for anonymity to make racial derogatory statements has been discontinued. This forum had demonstrated the state-of-affairs between Navajos and non-Navajos in Farmington.

NNHRC will present at the San Juan College Native American Week on November 14-16, 2011, about Navajo human rights, the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Know your rights when stopped by an officer, Know what police procedures are in your community, Know your rights when terminated by your employer, Know your rights in consumer related issues.


Rachelle Todea,
Public Information Officer
Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission
P.O. Box 1689
Window Rock, Navajo Nation (AZ)  86515
Phone: (928) 871-7436
Fax: (928) 871-7437
rtodea@navajo-nsn.gov
www.nnhrc.navajo-nsn.gov

"Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development," according to the Article 3 of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Navajo Nation’s MOA—on July 27, 2011, NNHRC proposed a billboard campaign related to DinĂ© values and non-Navajo values to promote a healthier community.
Hopefully, the intent is to gain Navajo people’s stories from the Farmington community and the stories are acknowledged at the Mayor’s forum.


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