Sen. John McCain denies being chased off Navajo Nation by angry protesters
PHOENIX — Dozens of Diné activists took their disdain for Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) to a whole new level: They chased him off of Navajo Nation after he partook in meetings with tribal leaders last Friday.
McCain, who was in the area to commemorate the memory of the Navajo Code Talkers, was met by activists upset with their water rights. The group was most vocal about the recent mine waste spill in Colorado, which sent 3 million gallons of toxic waste flowing as far as New Mexico, causing a water ban in parts of Navajo Nation.
The senator also drew up controversy in Navajo Nation when he announced he wanted to renew discussions about the Navajo and Hopi Water Rights Settlement, a legislation that would have required the two tribes to waive their water rights to the local aquifer in exchange for infrastructure that would grant clean water to remote reservation areas.
The young activists chanted “Water is life!” in Navajo and waved banners decorated with messages such as, “McCain = Indian Killer” and “McCain’s not welcome here,” before chasing him off the property.
(Warning: Video contains explicit language and mildly disturbing content.)
Brian Rogers, Communications Director for the Senator’s office, insisted the protesters did not chase McCain off of the property and stated that their actions did not effect his matters there that day.
“This small group of young protesters had no impact on his productive meetings with top tribal leaders on a range of key issues, including the EPA’s recent Gold King Mine spill which threatens to contaminate the Navajo Nation’s water supply,” he said in an email.
Ultimately, McCain and his crew ended up leaving Navajo Nation, but not before the young activists got the final word in.