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An appeal for original inhabitants

Dear Editors:

This letter is in response to the recent “hate” activities in Farmington by ignorant, cowardly people.

I am an Indigenous person of this land. I was born in what is now called New Mexico. This is my home; a sacred place, the place of my ancestors, the Diné and the Hopi Pueblo people. It is also home to many other Indigenous people including the Ute Mountain Ute, the Southern Ute and the Jicarilla Apache. As Indigenous people we will always call this land between the rivers, mesas, bluffs and cottonwoods “Home.” So you see, this land is in our blood; for our grandmothers and grandfathers built their homes here, they laughed, they planted, hunted and are buried here. I bring this history to the community and to the newcomers to the San Juan Valley because to know one’s future, one must know the past.

As a life-long resident of this town that my Navajo people call, To’ta, I have noticed a large number of license plates from the areas of the U.S. including, Louisiana, Florida, Oklahoma, Mississippi, North Carolina, Alabama and others. This large influx of people has led me to wonder why they have made the decision to move to Farmington and surrounding areas. I can only imagine that is due to the oil and gas industry, but whatever the reason, my hope is they bring with them an open mind and awareness of the Indigenous peoples, cultures and languages that are here. For it is my belief that if the history of the Indigenous people is known, then it will be respected for its truth.

I have heard this town called by many the “Selma, Alabama, of the West” and by looking at the racism and discrimination that has occurred, I somewhat agree, but

this can change if we all change our attitudes and eliminate ignorance from our town. I plead for you the newcomers in Farmington to please respect the original inhabitants of this town, please don’t judge us by our skin color, or by the languages we speak, instead respect us for who the Creator, God, made us to be, human just like you.

Whether or not you continue to hate those People of Color like myself, I will pray that you will find the right path to walk and talk upon.

– Empathy, Venaya J. Yazzie, Farmington



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