Cronkite NewsIndian Country Today. She said she asked her audience in a tweet whether they would be watching the impeachment hearings. “Some people just don’t want to (watch) because it’s too much politics for them,” Bennett-Begaye said. “But then again, a lot of Native people say like, their lives are political anyway, so they’re watching.” Tionne Talimen, who owns a hair salon in Window Rock, said she follows the news closely. “I’m not going to judge anything until they have everything they have,” she said. “So I’m real curious” to see if anything new develops. “Sit back and do your research,” Talimen said. “Don’t judge too quickly… It’s always best to hear everything out on the table before judging.” Seventy-eight percent of U.S. households report having internet subscriptions, according to 2017 census data, but the Navajo reservation and other remote areas have significantly lower figures. Nationally, more than 20% of Americans 65 or older report having no computer in their home. Radio stations in Navajoland – including bilingual KTNN, which broadcasts on AM and FM frequencies – bring the news to households without cable TV or internet. “The Navajo Nation has regarded KTNN radio as their main source for information, and in many cases, the only source for information that affects them personally,” the station’s website says. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said younger people on the reservation seek their news through social media, while elders who don’t read English get most of their news from newspapers and radio. “For those of us that are in the middle between the elderly,” he said, “we get our news from, you know, TV and satellite, and then for our elders, they get it from radio. And especially when in our own language, we have our radio stations that explain what we’re doing in the Navajo language to our Navajo elders.” Some Navajos who spoke to Cronkite News declined to share their opinions, saying they worry about repercussions in America’s deeply divided political atmosphere. Lerma, the Diné College business dean, has a doctorate in American Indian studies and taught politics and international affairs at Northern Arizona University. A member of the Purépecha Tribe in Mexico, he’s married to a citizen of the Navajo Nation. Lerma said his grandmother introduced him to politics when he was 3 or 4 years old, and he remembers watching Clinton’s impeachment proceedings. Lerma said there are diverse opinions among the Navajo Nation, and it’s important to understand how overlapping identities can impact a tribal member’s position in politics.
“We really don’t know where people land in all these things, but it just gets ever more complex because of the overlapping identities,” Lerma said. “Are you American? Are you Navajo? Are you both? So that’s the reality.” Lerma said the traditional Navajo cultural perspectives do not always align with someone’s political beliefs. For example, someone can be conservative, but that may not “necessarily represent the interest that would actually benefit your family and your marriage.” Nez, who declined to talk about the impeachment proceedings, wants the Navajo Nation to be taken seriously during the 2020 election. “Being the biggest tribe, I invite all the presidential candidates to come to the Navajo Nation and to see the conditions and the hope that we have, and working together I think we can accomplish a lot.” cronkitenews.azpbs.org.
This story originally appeared on Cronkite News and is published via a Creative Commons license. Cronkite News is produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
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