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Havasupai Students Write to Trump

Havasupai Students Write to Trump
February 20
10:44 2018

Students are writing to President Donald Trump – and it has nothing to do with a school shooting.

Students at Havasupai Elementary School are writing to the president about his plans to overturn a ban on uranium mining in the greater Grand Canyon region.

In 2012 former President Barack Obama enacted a 20-year ban on uranium mining in the Grand Canyon. Trump is considering overturning the Obama ban and allowing mining.

Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez took part in a Valentine’s Day run along the canyon’s floor to Havasupai Elementary School to collect letters written by the students. The letters will be forwarded to the president.

“Their voice needs to be heard, especially on issues that impact their health and way of life,” Nez said.

Nez joined Arizona State Rep. Eric Descheenie and six other runners for the Valentine’s event.

“We came to support the efforts of Representative Eric Descheenie and the Havasupai tribe to elevate the voice of the Havasupai youth,” Nez said.

At a school assembly, Descheenie expressed his support for the students.

“We are going to make sure your words are received and read by the president of the United States so when he makes decisions that impact your lives he does so with you in mind,” Descheenie said. “You have a powerful voice and it must be heard.”

Uranium has killed fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers across the Navajo Nation. It has contaminated the water supply in numerous areas poisoning plants, animals and people. For this reason, mining and transportation of uranium are banned on Diné Bikéyah, said Vice President Nez.

Descheenie and Havasupai Chairwoman Carletta Tilousi plan to hand-deliver the letters to the White House.

Principal Dr. Jeff Williamson said Havasupai Elementary School has not taken an official position on the issue and has strived to maintain objectivity.

Therefore, the letters were written by the students to represent their own views, he explained. Some students wrote in their off-time during recess, during extra lunch-time and even after school over a two-week period.
“The teachers provided the research time and time to draft their letters to the president,” Williamson said. “This is a great opportunity to have their voices heard.”

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