We can work together to build healthier communities

Editor,

I am gratified U.S. District Chief Judge David Nuffer recently ordered San Juan County to put me back on the ballot as a candidate for county commissioner. I am looking forward to campaigning, to meeting with voters to hear what issues they think the San Juan County Commission should work on, and what services are needed to improve their quality of life.

I will work to help unify and bridge the differences in our communities. The Diné, Ute and the pioneer descendants are all people of faith. The descendants of the pioneers left their homelands to settle, where the higher power told them to go. Faith and Native American beliefs are the cornerstone of life here in San Juan County. We can use these values for a foundation of mutual respect and understanding to help us come together to work on for our common goals on difficult issues facing the commission in San Juan County.

In Diné culture, recognizing and appealing to clan relations creates an instant connection of people. Anglos and Native Americans have different ways of creating community, but in a broader sense, connections to relatives, family members, and clan members; connections to friends and neighbors, are the basis for strong foundations for our different communities.

I believe all residents, no matter our heritage or political affiliation, want the county leadership to work for a high quality of life for all residents, safe communities to raise families, and a clear-eyed approach to county expenditures. These are not race or partisan issues.

We can work toward these goals together. We can’t continue to live as people traveling on opposite sides of the same canyon. We share similar objectives and we are trying to reach the same place, but there is a division that exists that doesn’t have to. We can get past longstanding tension between Native American and Anglo communities in our county — working toward shared goals for the benefit of all of the county’s citizens is a good place to start.

–Willie Grayeyes

San Juan County