"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson


We as Americans all remember being taught when we were young about our nation's founders, the patriots who stood up to the tyranny of the crown of England, the drafters of the declaration of independence, the constitution, and the bill of rights, the documents that became the framework for a system of governance that they believed would maintain a balance of power within a truly representative government, that would preserve the basic rights and liberties of the people, let their voice be heard, and provide to them a government, as Lincoln later put it, "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

What we may not be so quick to recall, however, is that there was much debate between the founding fathers as to what model our system of government should follow. Those such as Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and Patrick Henry on one side favored a pure and direct democracy with the legislative power vested in the very hands of the people, while others such as James Madison, John Adams and George Washington held that a representative democracy would better serve the people than a true democracy because they believed it would protect the individual liberties of the minority from the will of the majority. Alexander Hamilton even went so far as to support the creation of a monarchy. In the end, those favoring representative democracy won the day and that is the system they put in place in the hopes of creating a "more perfect union."

Now we must ask ourselves, what would the founding fathers think if they were resurrected today to see what has become of their vision? One can only assume that they would begin to search for modern day patriots to meet them once again at the liberty tree in order to plan a new struggle for freedom and self governance. Although we continue to praise and honor those who founded our nation and sought to create a truly just form of government for it, do we really stop to reflect on whether we as a nation have in fact succeeded in preserving what they fought so hard to create?

Today, in contrast to our revolutionary ancestors, we as citizens of the United States generally observe politics from afar and the vast majority of us may participate in the political process only to the extent that we go to the polls once a year to vote. Over the decades and centuries we have allowed the erosion of the ideals of the founding fathers and the corruption of the principles which they enshrined in those so carefully conceived documents. We have been left with essentially no real power to influence our "democratically" elected officials. We may write an occasional letter to our senator or representative that generates a form letter in response and a statistical data entry that may or may not be weighed against the influence of some powerful corporate lobby. We may be permitted to participate in a march or demonstration of thousands or even millions, something our patriots of old would have marvelled at, only to be dismissed as a 'focus group' with no bearing on policy decisions.

How then is the government held accountable to the voice of the people? Are the people meant to speak only at the polls when given a choice between a select few candidates that may be equally corrupt? No, as Jefferson and his allies rightly believed, the people should be heard much more than that.

In spite of their good intentions, the system of representative democracy that the founding fathers opted for has been systematically undermined and has ultimately failed in preserving the well being of the people of this nation. Most of us accept this reality as being beyond our control and continue to observe, comment, and complain without aspiring to achieving any real change. Our local leaders and activists in our communities, and even those local elected officials who may have the best of intentions are for the most part powerless to make real positive change happen in our neighborhoods, towns and villages when there is so much corruption from above.

We have become so accustomed to this failed system of representative democracy that it may not occur to us that there are other alternative forms of democracy. In various places around the world participatory or direct democracy has been instituted both in concert with representative democracy, and as a replacement for it. It is a form of democracy that is designed to take directly into account your views, and the views of your neighbors, and to politically empower you to make real positive change possible in your communities. Initiative, referendum & recall, community councils, and grassroots organizing are but a few ways in which direct/participatory democracy is achieving great success around the world.

This site will attempt to explore in depth the concept of participatory democracy and how this grass-roots based form of governance could help bring us back in line with the principles this country was founded upon if it were allowed to take root here. In the hope that one day we can become a nation working together as a united people practicing true democracy as true equals, we open this forum…



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Friday, February 8, 2008


If video fails to play, view it at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIp7SLdZ5fQ

Video description: Fmr. four time Chairman MacDonald took time out on-set during a recent documentary interview to answer questions and make remarks on the need for Navajo Nation to implement constitutional reform to our government.

Within the Navajo Nation there is a movement that aims to bring about a constitutional convention that would write a body of law according to the will of the people, creating the first constitution of the Navajo Nation. This is in part an attempt to establish a new form of government that will be more directly accountable to the people, and will also provide the necessary structures that will diminish dependance upon the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. This will allow for more freedom and self determination within the nation, and open the door for participatory democracy to flourish within a system of their own design. - Editor

Navajo Constitution:

(Source: www.myspace.com/navajoconstitution )

It is time for the Dine', young and old, to finish the work of our ancestors and make the Navajo Nation a free and democratic place where the needs of all are respected. The Dine' need to make some serious changes to their government in order for our generation to have anything to inherit. Unlike the previous generations, we will never have Grazing Rights, we will never have Customary Use Areas, we will only have a Homesite to own. The most reliable and self-sufficient manner in which Navajo Nation can truly be sovereign is to be economically independent. To do this, the Dine' must unite and tell the stagnant bureaucracies that, in order to be self-sufficient, the Dine' must be able to own and control their land without the Bureau of Indian Affairs having trustee oversight. Our government in Window Rock is not accountable to the People so we must remind them of the sovereignty of the People. No one can give us sovereignty, it is a series of rights and responsibilities that a people take upon themselves.

Check out our plan at WWW.NAVAJOCONSTITUTION.COM to see how we propose the People create a body of laws, a Navajo Constitution, to guide our leaders into a future that respects the youth and elderly, and the needs of generations unable to ranch and farm as our self-sufficient ancestors did. Please pass on the message and get informed. Only united can the People start the next world of the Navajo. Ahe'ee.

On the Use of the Internet to Increase Popular Participation in the Constitutional Convention:

Al Gore might be right in saying the promise of participatory democracy can be actualised through the Web. Navajo Nation is a true participatory democracy where everyone has a say; in a sense we are all citizen legislators through our one hundred ten (110) chapters. It is true egalitarianism, except for Vermont and New Hampshire townhalls, I can't find many other examples.

The crux is to ensure each chapter meeting is broadcast on the Web, for ex-pat chapter members wishing to participate in the constitutionalising of their national law the right to participate without limit by geographical need because of employment or education. Our Navajo Nation law recognises the right for off-nation members to vote already, and thanks to some great leadership by the Navajo Nation Washington Office, funds for video conference equipment for each chapter, and to teach them how to use it, has been secured and work should be in progress. We have the tools for demoracy and have the right, let's all fix our broken government together with k'e and hozhonji in mind.

(Source: http://navajoconstitution.com/):


Ya'a'teeh. This website is here to collect signatures of Navajo people wanting change in their government, wanting direct action to re-organize and fix the existing deficiencies of their Navajo Nation. As members of the Committee for a Navajo Constitution we have come to realize that the Navajo people are not as free as they could be, are not as protected as they should, that our nation stagnates without a central source of Navajo law. The Navajo Nation Code has become overweight and cumbersome, full of overlapping inconsistencies. The Navajo judiciary system is left weak without a Navajo constitution to use in judiciary review, and Navajo people are not as protected. Whenever a Navajo has to use the United States constitution for protection, it takes away a little more of our sovereignty each time and invites the federal government to step in further and further.


Our goal is the restructuring of the Navajo government through the creation of a Navajo constitution written BY and FOR the Navajo people by representatives from each of the Navajo chapters. Each chapter would send a representative to a Constitution Convention where the representatives would use the inherent wisdom and beliefs of the Navajo people to forge a Navajo constitution to clearly delineate the roles of the branches of government, would choose the number of delegates to the Navajo Nation Council, and would reexamine the concept of federal trusteeship. This Constitution Committee would meet four times, once per month, and return to the chapters to discuss the work in the time in between meetings. Through proper use of the democratic process the Navajo Nation must show the world that our people care about their children's future and are ready to present a body of rights and laws for the generations to come. As the largest of the Native nations, the Navajo must lead, by example, a proper relationship between the federal government and the Navajo Nation.

What You Must Do:

All Navajos the world over are invited to sign this petition. It will be presented to the Navajo Nation Council at the fall session for a vote on whether or not to call a Constitution Committee. Please fill out the appropriate places with you name, home chapter, census number, address, and email/ or telephone. Non-Navajo supporters are invited to show their support at the appropriate location. Only by uniting the clans, by bringing the Navajos together in one collective voice will we be able to truly create a sovereign Navajo Nation where the rights of all are respected in the true spirit of democracy. Please also spread the word and tell every Navajo you meet that the People have hope and invite them to sign onto this petition. Also please pray! No matter whether you pray with the corn pollen, in a Christian church, a tepee, or in a Muslim mosque, one of the most important aspects of democracy is ensuring the right of freedom of religion. Our land needs our prayers and action, united, to make this happen. Change is the hardest thing sometimes and only as a united people will the Navajo Nation survive. Please help us, sign on, and pray for a better tomorrow.

Visit http://www.navajoconstitution.com/ for more information and to sign the petition.

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