Dine’ Elders and Medicine People take action to protect horses

© Irma Novak, all rights reserved

© Irma Novak, all rights reserved

Dine’ Elders and Medicine people unanimously pass joint resolution urging Navajo Nation to comply with fundamental law in treatment of horses and expressing opposition to the 2014 Rangeland Improvement Act

TEESTO, Az — Diné Hataalii Association and Nohooka’ Diné, traditional cultural leaders, passed a joint resolution on June 14, 2014, advising the Navajo Nation to adhere to Dine’ spiritual traditions and culture to insure the humane treatment of horses and complete halt to NN horse round-up. Dr. Anthony Lee, President of DHA, spoke of the fire that is out of control on the Chuska Mountain Range, “this (fire) can be attributed, in part, to the horses that already have been slaughtered with no amends made to the Holy People.”

The resolution also expresses opposition to the 2014 Rangeland Improvement Act because the Navajo Nation has not properly consulted or informed the Dine’ people about the Act’s purpose, intent, impacts and/or consequences. The resolution states, “The 2014 Rangeland Improvement Act defines horses as “livestock” or an “animal unit” without regard for the sacred place that horses have in our healing ceremonies, prayers and way of life. This attempt to diminish or prohibit our spiritual way of life and understandings is a direct violation of the Navajo Nation’s bill of rights under freedom of religion.”

The two traditional groups also asked the Navajo Nation to conduct a formal and thorough investigation into alleged horse theft by those the Nation employed during the round-up, charging that some of the horses taken during the roundups were professionally trained with brands and grazing permits. Mr. Leland Grass of Nohooka Dine’ said, “Horse theft and cruelty is a serious crime, it victimizes both the people whose horses were taken and it victimizes the horses.  As traditional people we see every horse as sacred and when we treat them inhumanely we violate our own sacredness as human beings”.

The resolution also expresses concerns with a recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Bill Richardson, Robert Redford and Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly regarding horse slaughter and the round-ups. The resolution states, the MOU “does not acknowledge our sacred way of life and custom of Dine’ People” and “without the direct involvement and full participation of the Dine’ People, Elders, and Medicine People this MOU…will not have attained the free, prior and informed consent of the Dine’ Peoples as is required by law”. Dr. Lee states “In the long run, we, as medicine people, are advocating and protecting the sacred medicine bundles, passed down to us by our forebears and ancestry. They ensure the future survival of our children and grandchildren.”

The resolution further states, “It is unacceptable to violate or challenge our Creator’s immutable Laws and the way of life that was provided to us, as Dine’, to maintain balance and harmony with All Creation”. “We strongly urge the Navajo Nation to create and uphold man-made laws that do not oppose, challenge or go against our sacred Dine’ way of life”. “As earth surface people, we do not have the power nor the authority to change, alter, or supersede the natural and fundamental laws established by the Holy People”, adds Dr. Lee.

The resolution affirms that horses are sacred and created with the universe and ends by insisting “that all horses be treated humanely and that we maintain a healthy relationship with (the horse).”

Read more about the resolution HERE

Why would the Navajo government support the slaughter of the sacred wild horse?

The horseback riders should understand the prayer and song as to why there is such a horse.” — Leland Grass


By Leland Grass, Dine’


I don’t understand why our own Navajo Nation Gov’t President Ben Shelly, Speaker of the Council Johnny Naize and  Dine’ Horseback TrailRider bosses support the killing of wild horses to slaughter house after they are rounded up. In dine’ culture, The horses are the one help us dine’ through struggles to extreme survival from pulling our wagons, hoe, plow our cornfields and even help us through tough drought to haul waters to sheep camps, even fed us from trading posts. The horseback riders should understand the prayer and song why their is such a horse. Round them up and support the evil way of genocide of our mother earth holy being connect with nature elements- spiritual connection displaced in process of elimination. The BIA is the one blame for drought, not dine people and its animals and wildlife. BIA hurt our prayers and way of life in 1930’s and it continues, omen our lands. Do you see any USDA Agriculture near any of our chapter houses. NO! BIA stole our agriculture way of life from Navajo land and gave us Chapter Houses instead. All you Dine’ horseback Bosses and riders i have seen your horses you rode in, they are same being just like the other in wild but tamed, when you pray you not only praying for your every own horse but others too. Why do you carry Horse Song (or even ask for horse song in your trail ride event) and want to kill numerous horses of your land that is sacred to all living. Today, early Tomorrow morning, go to your beautiful horse and ask why he is sacred the answer gong be come back how you treat him with this you going make your decision if you going kill his ego as you will support the cause. Call Navajo Nation Department of Agriculture for more details 928-871-6605 or other Contacts web-link below. or All you every day people make a request to stop all horse slaughter and make the round up for training schools for youth and even rehab on dine’Tah- give it back to the land. No killing of our sacred animals. Believe me our dine’ elders and medicine people don’t want the killings. This was one of the talks during a traditional meeting at Black mesa near below Peabody.


We Dine’ riders have done good for Ben Shelly to get elected for previous presidential Election , we did it with a horse prayer and to ceremony with our horses so he could win. today, he completely took sides on a matter further away from our wants and needs- with that we are backing away our songs and prayer from Indian Gov’t politic rides any longer. we have learned.  Leland Grass

the Lastest on horse slaughter on Dine’ Land.
NEWPAPERS Article Link:
(Copy the weblink below and paste it on your web browser).

Write or call NN President  Ben Shelly: Address:
Post Office Box 7440
Window Rock, Navajo Nation, AZ 86515
Phone: (928) 871-7000 Fax: (928) 871-4025

The Honorable M. Christina Armijo
United States Courthouse
333 Lomas Blvd. N.W., Ste 760
Albuquerque New Mexico 87102
Chambers’ Phone: (505) 348-2310
Chambers’ Fax: (505) 348-2315

“NO wildhorse slaughter from holy being (the sacred land) of Dine’ Tah’ (around/with in Dine’ land)!”

Leland Grass is from Betatkin, Az in the heartland of Navajo Indian Reservation. He grow up around Livestock’s, elder’s, and Medicne men and women of Dine’ People. He is currently a younger pro-tem for next “Ho’ya’ni’ ” (Man subdue disharmony to become vigilant one) for 12 Traditional Headsmen Council of Na’hoo’ka’ Dine’  (Earth Surface People). A ole’ traditional council made out of Medicine men long ago before peace treaty of 1868 with United States Government. His Indigneous Kinship, and Clanship are Deshcheenie Dine’i (Red Streak Clan), Born for Todacheenie Dine’i’ (Bitterwater Clan), and Grandfathers are Lokai Dine’i’ (Reed Clan). He is  traditional circle dance Singer. And following the steps as traditional practitioner. of the Dine’ Elders and Medicine peoples. In his timely effort with the nature, he horseback ride for traditional ceremonies, ceremonial Horseback trail rides and also put a ceremony ride together to protect the sacred area of dine’ tah’ (Among Dine).