Thank you for publishing your article entitled “Former Alamo school board members indicted” by John Larson, El Defender Chieftain Staff writer on October 31, 2019.
Previously your paper only printed articles that gave a one-sided view of what was happening with the Alamo Navajo School Board. Former Editor Scott Turner only interviewed Board members Hector Guerro and Bucky Apache for his stories instead of also getting the ANSB administration’s and community member’s side of the story. Of course, these two board members always were portrayed as the good guys.
If it wasn’t for the tenacious, strong, and united front of Alamo Navajo Community members who reported Board members Bucky Apache, Hector Guerro, and Stephen Apache to the federal government, Navajo Nation, and the media, these three Board members could still have been in office.
It was very frustrating and disheartening to see and watch these Board members as they almost brought down the Alamo Navajo School Board. We saw their wasteful spending, constant travel most of which were fraudulent, and the explosive, demeaning, and unprofessional way they governed and ran ANSB and the Board meetings.
Alamo Navajo Community members reached out to the Navajo Nation including DODE, Ethics, Election Office, Special Navajo Nation Committees, and Navajo Times. For months we felt alone and unheard. Then we had to compete with one-sided stories in the El Defender Chieftain written by Turner. If he had interviewed others, we might have been able to stop the board much earlier.
If it wasn’t for a whistle blower reporting this to the Federal Government including the Department of Interior and Department of Health and Human Services and Albuquerque Channel 4 KOB first running this story, this whole situation could still be happening. A group of community members formed a committee to recall three of the four members and were successful.
We’ve seen comments and stories of others taking credit for leading the charge on this matter, but the truth is, no one helped Alamo Navajo Community members until it was a full-blown investigation and big news on television.
We do not want this to happen to another Navajo Community. El Defender Chieftain– do your homework. Interview both sides and get the truth. You might have been who we needed to stop these former Board members from doing so much damage.
ANSB has taken steps to ensure that this type of situation does not happen again by working closely with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Indian Health Service, ensuring we are in compliance with OMB Super Circular, and ensuring the Board and staff follow our travel policies and procedures.
Member of the Alamo Community