The State of Arizona recently passed state Senate Bill 1070 to allow the prosecution suspected illegal immigrants who do not produce identification.

The Pew Research Center's recent national survey on the issues indicates there is support for the bill. However, according to the survey, young people under the age of 30 years old were less supportive of the bill. Dawn of Nations Today reporters, Akeemi Martinez and Santana Chavez interviewed University of New Mexico students about their perspectives regarding the bill. Pedro Perez-Ochoa is a sophomore and BUS major; Monica Charles is a non-degree graduate student and Oscar Maldonado is a senior, majoring in biology.



The Navajo Nation Presidential Election Draws Attention of Student Voter
by Akeemi Martinez, Dawn of Nations Today

The Navajo Nation will elect a new president and other officials in the November 2010 election. The Navajo Nation Election Administration's unofficial results
for the December 15, 2009 vote on the presidential line-item veto and the council reduction indicate that just under 50 percent of the Navajo Nation registered voters participated in the initiative election. Dawn of Nations Today student reporter Akeemi Martinez is 24 years old and a member of the Navajo Nation . She voted for the first time in the December 2009 initiative.

I am a member of the Diné Nation, which is located within the United States, and I have never voted in a presidential election for either the Diné or the U.S. governments. As a first time voter, I have been exposed to the limited coverage on the Diné presidential election in the mainstream media. This paltry coverage has made me take notice that Native American nations are still considered reservations, instead of sovereign governments for many people. Still, cultural life on the ‘reservation’ thrives. Every day, native nations practice powers of self-determination. The upcoming elections provides additional proof of this.

With this in mind, I set out to learn about presidential elections on the ‘Navajo Reservation’ since their inception, while knowing that the Diné have had Naat’áanii leaders long before they had established conventional elections. The first Diné governmental entity, titled the “Business Council,” was formed in 1922 to regulate natural resources being extracted from the Nation. The leadership was not elected, but appointed. This council was later disbanded, and all documents processed during its life were nullified. In 1928 the chairmanship and vice chairmanship were established. Then in 1990 the chairmanship became the presidency. However, the presidency is not the only important factor in Diné leadership. I looked for more information on what laws have been passed since the ‘formation of government,’ and I found the Fundamental Laws of the Diné, the Bill of Rights, the Navajo Code and current efforts to establish election protection for the entire nation.

Not searching through the history books, I have also tried to learn more about the presidential elections directly from the Election Administration. Calling their main office in Window Rock, I found it easier to get information when I identified myself as Diné and through chapter affiliation. Johnny R. Thompson at the Window Rock office and Jana Johnson with the Eastern Agency Election Office told me that filing an application to become a candidate isn't enough. An applicant had to meet the qualifications to become an official candidate. Also, the filing deadline of May 5 is not the deadline for write-in hopefuls. The deadline for write-ins is the May 16. So the list of presidential hopefuls might not be complete yet. With regard to voter registration, the Navajo Nation Code states that voters must be in good standing with the tribe. If they don't live on the reservation, an absentee voter registration can be requested. My interactions with these election administrators was informative, and I plan to keep myself up to date with their determinations regarding who qualifies as a candidate.

One development bringing more attention to the 2010 Diné election is that president Joe Shirley Jr. announced his plan to run again for a third term. The Navajo Nation Chief Legislative Council on April 29 issued the legal opinion No. CLC-01-10 stating “the provisions of Navajo Nation law limit the Navajo Nation President to serve no more than two (2) terms” and advised Shirley on the term limits. His application, however, was filed on May 5. Also, state senator Lynda Lovejoy along with Sharon Clahchischilliage have announced plans to compete in the race. This has generated some controversy over female leadership because some Diné believe this to be against cultural etiquette. With the hopefuls not being official yet I begin to ponder the effect of my choice. Will the new leader push Mr. Obama on his consideration over the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, or create more art centers and green jobs. Will it lead to expansion of tribal libraries? I know that my vote counts, and I am eager to learn more about the candidates and their platforms.


Jaye Francis on the American Indian Business Association and its impact at the Anderson School of Management at the University of New Mexico.

Jaye Francis is one of the founding members of the American Indian Business Association and the staff sponsor for the organization. Francis shares her experiences about the previous Native American Career Fairs held at the Anderson School of Management at the University of New Mexico. Francis is the staff sponsor of the American Indian Business Association for the past four years.


American Indian Business Association held its fourth annual Native American Career Fair at the Anderson School of Management on the University of New Mexico Campus

The American Indian Business Association held its fourth annual Native American Career Fair at the Anderson School of Management on the University of New Mexico main campus in Albuquerque, NM on April 22, 2010. AIBA is a professional student organization originally created to help support Native American students in the Anderson School of Management. AIBA's career fair has evolved over the years and now serves as a bridge between the students, faculty, staff, alumni and the business community the Albuquerque area and surrounding tribal communities. Roberson Becenti, Navajo, works for the Department of Interior in Albuquerque, NM. He was one of over 15 vendors at the the Native American Career Fair and drew many job seekers from the Albuquerque area. More videos are available for view on YouTube.


University of New Mexico Students Will Pay More To Attend Classes In The Fall 2010
by Brittany Wilson and Santana Chavez, Dawn of Nations Today

The University of New Mexico Board of Regent's approved a combined tuition and student fee increase of 7.9 percent in early April 2010. The tuition increase goes into effect as of the next fiscal year which begins on July 1, 2010. The Dawn of Nations Today student reporter's Brittany Wilson and Santana Chavez interviewed UNM students' about how they feel about the tuition increase. Charles Ebbers is a 19-year-old sophomore construction management major; Kathryn Murphy is a 27-years old master’s student in counseling; Julie Maes, is a 19-year old freshman theatre major; and Samantha Pacheco, is a 19-year old freshman, majoring in psychology.


Homeless in Albuquerque, New Mexico - Hear Their Stories
by Scott Riley, Dawn of Nations Today

Outside the boundaries of the University of New Mexico campus and along the busy street of Central Avenue homeless people are often seen walking the streets, yet their daily struggles are often not known by the public. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless website, New Mexico ranked 24 in the nation compared to other states for the size of the state's homeless population as of 2008. Dawn of Nations Today student reporter Scott Riley spoke with some homeless men about where they seek relief from the streets.

Ted, along with his friend Jackie, take a break along Central Avenue. Ted speaks about his declining health and what keeps him going.

Robert Carpentier, who did not want to be interviewed on camera, lives on the streets near the University area.


We See Them Everyday, Homeless in Albuquerque
by Scott Riley, Dawn of Nations Today

Everyday as I walk to class at the University of New Mexico (UNM), it's hard not to notice those who don't even have access to the simple necessities I take for granted. Not once during my life have I ever had to worry about where I would sleep or what I would eat. It’s a privilege I rarely think about, but I do sometimes wonder, being a poor college student, what is the difference? Is my life that much better?

One day, I met a man outside of McDonalds drinking coffee. The feather sticking out of his hat got my attention. After we said hello to each other, he told me he was born and raised in Albuquerque. I asked him about his situation, and he hesitated at first. Then, to my surprise, he told me he was a graduate of UNM. He didn’t tell me what type of degree he had, but he knew a great deal about the city’s laws. It was then I realized that being homeless can happen to the best of us. It is not a situation we wish upon ourselves or others, but it can happen. As privileged people, I wonder if we're doing as much as we should for those who are less fortunate.

I recently read a story about a group called Mobile Loaves and Fishes, which campaigns to bring awareness to the homeless population in Austin, Texas. In an effort to raise money, the group created a billboard that simply says, "I Am Danny, I Am Homeless, I Am Here." A simple text message could send $10 to help get homeless man Danny Silver and his wife off the streets. The campaign called “I Am Here” provides shelter to the homeless and the working poor. Miracles do happen. According to Austin News KXAN-TV, Channel 36, the campaign worked. The couple got a new home after thousands of dollars poured in. It makes me wonder if I could do something like this. Would I be willing to put in the effort to do something this important?

The California State Assembly recently passed a bill to protect homeless people’s civil rights, according to a recent news article in The Sacramento Bee. The bill would classify any violence against homeless people as a hate crime. Most of us might think hate crimes only revolve around gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation. But I think it's a good thing that the state of California is trying to do something to protect those less fortunate. If only all states would follow California's lead.

While most homeless individuals are males, I do wonder about homeless women. I know in the city of Albuquerque almost all homeless women I see are usually with a male companion. So it shocked me when I read the story of Iva Rae Coriz in a recent Albuquerque Journal article. On October 3 of last year, her body was found along the railroad tracks north of downtown Albuquerque. She had been shot three times. According to the article, Iva had known the streets as "home" for 13 years, and many felt she couldn't endure living on the streets any longer.

Iva was from Santo Domingo Pueblo. She was born in 1966; she was the same age as my mother. Iva left behind a son and two daughters. I can't help but feel sorrow and concern for all those who have lost their lives because of being homeless. We need to develop more creative ways to address this difficult problem.


Dawn of Nations Today Volumn 5; Issue 1; May 2010, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, N.M.

Dawn of Nations Today is a special edition published by the Native American Studies Department, University College, University of New Mexico
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