Navajo Council on Arizona’s Racist Laws: ‘Bilagaana’ Nation of Immigrants
Council Delegate GloJean Todacheene (Shiprock) “Bilagaanas (white people) forget they created a nation of immigrants – they invaded us and yet now they do not like it because America is becoming more brown or of an ethnic mix.
Navajo Nation Council press statement
Council overrides President Shirley’s veto, passes measures opposing the state of Arizona’s immigration, ethnic studies bills
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – The 21st Navajo Nation Council passed several pieces of legislation today during its 2010 Spring Special Session at the Navajo Nation Council Chamber.
The Navajo Nation Council narrowly passed two pieces of legislation (Legislation No. 0297-10 and Legislation No. 0302-10), which were sponsored by Council Delegate Kee Allen Begay (Many Farms/Rough Rock) opposing the state of Arizona’s immigration and ethnic studies bills (Senate Bill 1070 and House Bill 2281).
In effort to address the immigration bill, Council Delegate Begay sponsored Legislation No. 0297-10, which opposes Senate Bill 1070 for unlawfully infringing on the constitutional, civil, and human rights of indigenous peoples in the state of Arizona. The measure passed the Council floor, 30-24.
“In a way, the immigration bill is an attempt to harass Native Americans,” Begay said. “When we are pulled over or stopped we are usually pulled over and asked for our IDs. Sometimes we do not carry those things and perhaps at that time we will have difficulty proving we are Native American. This legislation is a stance for the protection of Native Americans in Arizona.”
Begay also cited a study conducted by the University of Cincinnati Policing Institute, which was prepared for the Arizona Department of Public Safety, that Native Americans were the most likely to be arrested at a rate of 4.5 percent compared to Blacks who were arrested at a rate of 3.2 percent, Hispanics at a rate of 2.9 percent and Whites at a rate of 1.6 percent. Begay said this study strongly indicates the need to oppose the immigration bill because of infringement of constitutional, civil and human rights.
Leonard Gorman, executive director for the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, agreed.
“A police officer can stop and detain an individual for violating an existing law and if a law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion that person who got pulled over will be asked for documentation,” Gorman said. “Once you are arrested you are going through the immigration process. It will not work. It will clog up the immigration system.”
Legislation No. 0302-10 opposing Arizona House Bill 2281 for restricting ethnic studies in Arizona elementary and secondary schools also passed the Council floor, 45-2.
Council Delegate GloJean Todacheene (Shiprock) commended Council Delegate Begay on his legislation action efforts and said, “Bilagaanas (white people) forget they created a nation of immigrants – they invaded us and yet now they do not like it because America is becoming more brown or of an ethnic mix. The pendulum of civil rights can swing back and forth at anytime. I commend Kee Allen for his efforts.”
Read press release from Navajo Nation Council:http://www.navajo.org/News%20Releases/Joshua%20Lavar%20Butler/June10/100609_Council_overrides_President%27s_veto.pdf