The common destiny of Original People: Making a productive nation

[Editor’s note: The following are edited excerpts from an address delivered by Minister Farrakhan to the Navajo Nation Council in Window Rock, Arizona on July 19, 2006.]

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan addressing the Navajo Nation Council during its morning session. Photos: Dora Muhammad


In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.

Mr. President, honorable member of the House of Delegates and to each of you, it is a great honor for me to be among you this morning. The last person I want to introduce is YoNasDa Lonewolf-McCall Muhammad. Her mother is a full-blood Oglala Sioux from Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Her father was Black. You can look at her and see that there was some mixture, but she grew up with her mother teaching her the way of the Indigenous Native American people.

All her life, she and her mother have wanted the see the coming together of the Black and the Red nations. Her mother worked toward this end for most of her life. She passed away two years ago but I am sure, at this moment, her mother is with great joy seeing her daughter working to facilitate the coming together of the Black and the Red.

YoNasDa contacted the Navajo Nation to see if a meeting could take place between President Joe Shirley and myself. Pres. Shirley—being the very open, warm-hearted person that is always trying to reach out to kith and kin, to others that will be helpful to him and the Navajo Nation—agreed to meet with me. He and his First Lady Vikki Shirley came to Phoenix, Arizona, where I have a home. They brought the Chief of Staff and the Information Officer George Hardeen and security. We met and had dinner for about four to five hours. At that time, he invited me to come to put my foot down on sacred land in the Navajo Nation.


The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley.

We do not recognize any division between Sioux, Navajo, Hopi, Cree, Chikapee, Iroquois or Seminole. You are really one nation, but as long as you see yourself as only a small part of that nation, you become a minority. When you are a minority, you begin to think like a minority.


But if you understand that, as people of color, we outnumber others 11 to 1 on our Planet, then you are an international people who must not think simply in terms of yourself and other Native Americans. You have Indigenous people that look just like you in Mongolia; you have people that look just like you in parts of Asia, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

You are a great people and you need to think more of contacting all of the members of your family because all of the family members are suffering; and all of the family members desire to come together in unity so that together we can address the problems and challenges that we face.

Mother Tynnetta Muhammad’s husband, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, who is my teacher and spiritual father, his aim was always to unite the Black, the Red and Latino family. All of us who have sojourned under slavery and oppression have been corrupted to a degree that we all need to be purified of the dross of inferior thinking, which makes Native Americans sometimes think that you are inferior to the one who took the land from you and brought us to America. We are the descendants of slaves. We did not come like the Pilgrims—on the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. We came in the hulls of ships. So here we are with common problems and a common destiny.

I want to talk to you from my heart to your heart. I do not come before you with notes scripted, so I am going to look you in your eye and I want you to look me in mine. You know deceit when you hear it, or you should after all these years of false treaties, broken treaties and broken promises. Put your great Native American sensitivity on my mouth, heart and mind. I hope that you will see that I am not a stranger. I am your Brother. I am your kith. I am your kin. I have come to establish that relationship with the greatest of the Indigenous people in America, the Navajo Nation. But from this, we must unite all Indigenous people to address the challenges that we face as a people.

Some Black people may own their homes, but it is on a street that we do not own, in a county that we have no ownership, in a city that we have no ownership. Black people in America are almost totally landless. When I set my foot down on the sacred ground of Navajo land, everywhere I looked, I saw land owned by you. I did not come to a poor people, because when you own land, it is better than having a dollar. The U.S. dollar is fading in terms of its real value, but the land will never lose its value. If we take care of Mother Earth, then Mother Earth will take care of us.

The Bible begins with the Book of Genesis. Genesis means the beginning or the birth of. You and I were born onto land that the Creator gave to us. The scripture said, “He made man in His own image and after His likeness.” So we are born to master, not serve, the land on which you have come to birth. So the scripture said He gave man duties in these words: “multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it.” So we have to operate on the base principle of multiplication.

Every human being is born with the innate ability that must be cultivated through education to make us all producers of the things that we need. Nature has made every creature to seek what the Creator has put in nature to provide what we need to exist. If we are not producers, then we are consumers; and it is natural for the producer to look down on the consumer as less than himself. You are going to them to suffice your needs when you have 27,000 square miles of Navajo land over which you exercise some degree of control.

When you were born on Navajo land, you came to the earth with everything that you needed to master your environment. Your ancestors conquered hostile environments. They were fierce and proud because they did not shrink from anything that nature presented them as a challenge. They overcame every challenge to make nature subordinate to them.

Your ancestors took the skin from animals to make clothing and homes because it was their duty to provide food, clothing, shelter and protection.

President Shirley said to us yesterday, “We once were a great people. We were proud. We were fierce. We were strong, but something happened.” What happened? Today, we are dependent on federal dollars. If the U.S. government cuts back on what it promised to give or it fails to give what it promised to give, then we feel it did not live up to its promise, but now we are suffering because of government neglect.

But we are also suffering from self-neglect because, if the government has a responsibility to feed dollars into the Navajo nation, then where does the money go? The businesses that I saw, and I saw many, looked prosperous and thriving. I asked how many of them are owned by the Navajo people and the answer was about five percent. If 95 percent are owned by others, when you trade with those who are not Navajo, then they take your money out of Navajo land, and your money does not circulate amongst yourselves so that you can build institutions on Navajo land to benefit the Navajo people. We are suffering the same thing in Black America. We have degrees, but we are not building factories to provide the needs of our people. We are looking for others to provide for us, and then get upset because they do not respect us.

No one will respect a people who are non-productive. You win respect by doing that which the Creator put us here to do. We come to the earth knowing nothing, so the duty of every human being is the acquisition of knowledge. That is what separates man from beast. With the acquisition of knowledge, you use what the Creator gave you, multiply it with what knowledge He gave you, and produce a product that serves the needs of our people. This is where the Black and Red nations have failed.

You are a very rich people because you have land under your feet that is crying for development, so that we can produce the necessities for our people. Is it normal that every—

Council delegate Larry Anderson of Fort Defiance: Brother Farrakhan, but today we are still not respected. We are still put down. They will not allow us to cross that imaginary line. They will not allow us to march forward, to tell them that we are a free people. Brother Farrakhan, you must understand the Indigenous people’s way of life and I do thank you for expressing that. But we continue to still live in the apathy of the minority people here, and the majority of the people here who still control all of this around us will not allow us to stand up.

Minister Farrakhan: Thank you. My Brother, with due respect to everything that you have said, I can agree with you that they will not allow, but it is not what they will not allow; it is what we will permit. Our goal is to free the Navajo Nation and Black people and oppressed people all over the world from the thinking that we are less, inferior and cannot accomplish what we will. Yes, they will not allow—but we must determine that we will not permit their disallowance of us feeding, clothing and sheltering ourselves.

You are a nation. Pres. Shirley said to me that, if you borrowed money from the U.S. government, he feels you could pay back at least 30 million a year. If the U.S. government does not want to loan you the money to give yourself a push, there are foreign nations of your kith and kin that will not only loan you the money, they might give you the money, in order to see the Navajo Nation rise and not be dependent on casinos, but be dependent on what you produce. You have great intelligence among you. You are not ignorant people. Tap your resources and then establish friendships all around the world.

America should be ashamed after taking the land from the Indigenous people that they would allow the Indigenous people to have oil on this land, gas coming through it, electricity flowing over it and Indigenous people on the land living in darkness without heat or without water. This is criminal. Therefore it takes strong leadership. You must not be fearful because your ancestors were not afraid of the hostility of the environment politically.

I would hope and pray that you would back those ideas that will lift the Navajo Nation and unite the Navajo Nation with the Indigenous people.

As your Black American Brothers and Sisters, we hope that this will be a beginning where we work together to lift both people to where the Creator wanted us to be, by making us a productive people.

Your young people will salute you because you laid a foundation on which they can build. Criminal and gang activity can stop when productive activity begins in earnest on Navajo land. You are a great nation, rise up and show the world.