Letters

From the week of December 28, 2000

Trial of Tears

No reservations: I am a 73-year-old tribal elder from the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. For nearly 15 years, I worked as the head cook for the tribal jail facility and I learned about the law and order on our reservation ("Tribal Belt," Robert Nelson, December 14). I appreciate how your reporter spent some time interviewing some tribal members and found out for himself that there was a story that had to be shared with the world.

What the tribal council did to Margarite Faras is not fair. I voted for her and to this day I still support her. I stand behind her all the way because of her beliefs in having a stronger law enforcement for our people.

Just because Ms. Faras stood up for her beliefs, she was tried and nearly convicted without a proper trial. I thought any U.S. citizen was innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Here the vice chairman, Velasquez Sneezy Sr., was found guilty in tribal court for abducting former tribal administrator and elder councilman Rupert Alden, and yet Sneezy was never removed by the tribal council. Sneezy has total disregard for the tribal elders.

Thanks to Mr. Nelson, the grave injustice done to Margarite Faras has been made public.

Therlene Ramos
San Carlos

Trick or treaty: I am a staunch believer in the justice system and fights against crime and corruption, especially of tribal governments. I read the article "Tribal Belt" and I was happy that finally there was a reporter out there who could get his story straight and have it published. The article had a picture of Margarite Faras with a gun in her hand. As awful as it may seem, sometimes we have to take the law into our own hands to protect ourselves.

When I read the article, it also made me think about how our people had been mistreated since the beginning of time. Now, we have our own Apache people mistreating one another. It's because we need a strong constitution to maintain law and order and peace on our reservations. This is what we're advocating. We need our causes to be known.

I hope that the laws of injustice and what is fair and right will be afforded Ms. Faras. She deserves it. She didn't do anything to cause the tribal council to remove her. I am a tribal elder and I believe in helping those who have been persecuted for no reason. What's fair is fair, and it's only fair to have Ms. Faras reinstated as the councilwoman for the San Carlos Apache tribe.

Ola Cassadore Davis
San Carlos

Brave heart: I am an enrolled tribal elder of the San Carlos Apache tribe. When I read the article by Robert Nelson, I cried with all my heart. I cried because what Mr. Nelson wrote about Margarite Faras is so true. My heart is with Ms. Faras because she tried so hard to help our Apache people but she was condemned and ridiculed for coming forth with her beliefs in the justice system. She was the one who initiated the proposal on the new juvenile and adult detention center for our reservation. Today, we were awarded $10 million for that to be built. We have no detention facilities for our youth. When they are arrested, they are either taken home to parents after they sober up or the police officers baby-sit them. This is ridiculous. With the Apache Gold Casino funds, you would think that we would have one of the best law enforcement operations in the state, but we don't. And here Ms. Faras was only helping us, but because of her being aggressive and finding monies for more projects, she was singled out by the council. This is not fair. Ms. Faras is a tribal elder herself, and if the council doesn't respect that, how can it get law and order enforced on our reservation?

Delores Jordan
Bylas

Counting coup: I want you to know that the article by Robert Nelson was very blunt and fair. He did excellent coverage of what's been happening on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. A lot of corrupt activities have been going on for some time now and finally we have people on the outside who have read about it. I know that requests have been made for the U.S. government to come and help reform the corrupt activities, but I don't know when that will be. We need our voices to be heard and thanks to Mr. Nelson, some of what's happening is finally in print.

Cheryl Kozie
Bylas

BOB and Weave

Screwed again: I appreciate your keeping the public up on the fiasco that is "the BOB" ("Loose Screws," John Dougherty, December 14). I would love to see Jerry Colangelo in overalls and a hard hat, huffin' and puffin' to fix those errant screws. Uh-oh, there's that word again, "screw." Can't for the life of me understand why we can't get away from that word. I guess it so accurately describes the whole mess from beginning to end. By the way, I got a good laugh out of the article itself. I did not think that the story was as bad as the cover page kind of portrayed it to be. And here I thought I was the biggest drama queen in town!

Mark A. Hoffman
Phoenix

 
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