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Jacqueline Keeler: Peter MacDonald doesn't speak for Navajos

Jacqueline Keeler isn't surprised by former Navajo Nation Chairman Peter MacDonald's support for the racist Washington football mascot:
The racist football team has a real NDN mascot now when Peter MacDonald took his position on the Redsk*ns field side-lines. How symbolic of a compromised NDN leader.

The consummate politician, MacDonald is willing to play any side to further his notoriety. During his years in power, Big Mac acquired a taste for the trappings of the executive suite. While he traveled in chartered jets, rumors of kickbacks began to tarnish the hard, bright vision he had inspired in traditional Navajos like my grandmother. Symbolized even today by the red silk cravat he alone adds to the Navajo Code Talker uniform.

What led to his downfall? In 1993 Peter MacDonald was sentenced to 14 years in prison for trying to over-throw the tribal government, inciting a riot in Window Rock, Arizona, resulting in the deaths of two of his own supporters, and for fraud, racketeering and conspiracy convictions. Now, more accusations arise out of his leadership of the venerable Navajo Code Talker’s Association. In his collusion with men like Washington Redsk*ns owner Daniel Snyder, a man still defined by his attempts to use power in a House of Cards world is reborn.

When my mother told me my grandmother cared more about Peter MacDonald than she did about me, she pushed me yet further into that idealistic vision she held out for our Navajo people. A world where we can be Navajo on our own terms, much like MacDonald described; but how do we do so without getting caught up in the net of those with pretensions to power? How do we address the powerful without serving them or being cut down by them?

Get the Story:
Jacqueline Keeler: Redsk*n Jarheads Go Political (Indian Country Today 3/11)

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