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
(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.
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.