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English: Navajo Nation Council Chambers, Windo...

Navajo Nation Council Chambers, Window Rock, AZ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My immediate question to this article in the local newspaper this morning was the same one I’ve been asking for years: If American Indian tribes are sovereign nations, why then must the rest of America subsidize them? Or why can’t the tribes be self-sufficient?

The largest Indian nation in the United States is the Navajo Nation, yet with its casinos and other financial enterprises it can’t seem to support its people without the help of others. At least that’s this layman’s viewpoint.

While I’m the first to support private enterprise and agriculture, the part that hit me most from the newspaper article was how the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry (NAPI) plans to sell its newly created flour to stores cheaper than its competitors can.

On the surface you can call that good business. If they can sell their product cheaper than their competitors, and still turn a profit, then I’m all for it. But the skeptic in me says they’ll either: a) not turn a profit, or b) find US government funding to cover the difference, or c) both.

My money is on the idea that they’ll find a way to profit and still bilk the US taxpayer.

Following local media reports on the large American Indian nation as I have over the past several years I’ve discovered that the government structure of the Navajo Nation may in fact be more corrupt than even the US Government, if that is even possible. Stories continue to be reported of troubling issues within the local chapters of the Navajo Nation wherein money is embezzled and blatantly taken for personal use by chapter officials with total impunity. Meanwhile, many Nation residents appear to live in abject poverty.

If these sovereign nations are truly that — sovereign governments with no need of external support — why then must a US Senator promise to find funding for irrigation projects to support the agricultural enterprises of a nation not his own?