Navajo role model

  • Christine Benally, new director of DinÄ CARE, and son Zane

    Cate Gillis/Navajo Times
  The group responsible for monitoring environmental issues on the Navajo Reservation, Diné CARE, has chosen Christine Benally as its new director. Benally earned a doctorate in environmental health from Colorado State University and has been involved with Diné CARE, an acronym for Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment, since 1991. The group's first project was to stop clearcutting by a tribally owned timber company, an operation that is now on hold while tribal officials work on a 10-year forest management plan (HCN,10/31/94). Benally says she plans to generate environmental enthusiasm among the tribe's youth by creating internship programs. "When I was young there were no role models concerned with the environment," she says. "Everybody's attitude was cut, cut, cut and dig, dig, dig." On a recent tour of reservation high schools, however, she says most students talked about the need to protect the tribe's natural resources. Diné CARE's most pressing concern, she adds, is reducing the emissions from six coal-burning plants on the reservation. CARE President Earl Tulley says Benally's academic background is important because she will be working with universities and governments. Eventually, he says, the group will establish an environmental justice center on the reservation. For more information, call Christine Benally at 505/860-7214.

" Bill Taylor

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