Chapter official wants emergency assessment now
By Kathy Helms, Diné Bureau,
Gallup Independent, FEBRUARY 25, 2008
BLACK MESA — Glenna Chee, an official
with Black Mesa Chapter, received a distress call Sunday
evening from a mother stuck somewhere on the road near
Kitsillie, but there was no way she could get there
Dorothy Yazzie, a teacher at Chinle,
accompanied by several family members, plowed a path
to her parents’ home Sunday morning to remove her 82-year-old
father and take him to Black Mesa Clinic near Piñon
for medical treatment.
There may be others in the area in need
of help — a dialysis patient comes immediately to Chee’s
mind — but treacherous road conditions have prevented
those assessments from being done.
“The Emergency Management people really
need to look at our place, to come out and assess our
community,” she said, but getting there is going to
be a problem. Like others in the area, she believes
a helicopter is the only option.
“A person called me around 6 p.m. She
was really hollering and saying, ‘I need help, I’m stranded.
I’m with my family, I don’t know what to do.’ I just
told her, ‘You need to go to the nearest home that you
see and you need to take your family there.’”
Chee said there is a dialysis patient
in the area who travels the road from Rough Rock up
the Mesa to go to Chinle for treatment.
“I understand that’s impassable. I’ve
been calling around. We have CHR and I can’t reach them.
I’m just worried about that person, so if they can do
an assessment for us ASAP, it’s an emergency,” she said.
Yazzie, a teacher at Chinle, went with
relatives to the home of her elderly parents who were
snowed in near Kitsillie. “There was almost a foot of
snow out there. It was melting and we had to make a
path just to get to the house. My dad was sick and we
had to get them out of there.
“We left the sheep out there. We just
threw some hay out for them and just took my parents
out of there. I had to take some little baby goats out
with them too, because they didn’t want to leave them
behind. My dad is 82 and my mom is 80,” she said.
“My dad was having pain in his abdomen
and I said, ‘Let’s go, let’s go.’ My dad wanted to take
his truck and I said, ‘No way. It’s going to be sitting
in the mud till spring!’
Chee said that in Piñon and Chinle, there’s hardly
any snow on the ground, “but when you go up into the
mountains, up into the hills, it is terrible. The snow
is like 8 to 9 inches and it’s mud at the bottom.”
Near Kitsillie on Sunday she saw people
trying to walk out to the main road.
“Myself, my niece, and another niece,
we followed each other. Going up there, we stuck at
two places; coming back out, we were really stuck at
one spot for like two hours. We almost didn’t make it.”
On Navajo 8065, there is one wash that
is almost impassable she said.
“On each side it is like 8 feet down.
The melting snow and the mud is making another runoff
from the top. It was so scary when we were crossing
that. When that goes, nobody can cross — everybody’s
stranded because there’s no detour. The other side is
the mountain and there is no road to the mountainside.”
There’s only one place to cross
Oraibi Wash, she said, and that has been closed for
several years. “We have been asking for that road to
be fixed, but it’s going very slow.”