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Twist of fate - Dog bite leads to unfolding story behind water-hauling picture By Kathy Helms Dine Bureau Gallup

Independent 5/22/2012 WINDOW ROCK Colleen Biakeddy of Hardrock was getting ready to go to the post office in Kayenta last Wednesday when she noticed one of her dogs chewing on something. She went to investigate and found that the dog had bit into a baby calf, which was far from the dog's usual behavior. I just picked up the calf and put it in the truck, she said. She then called Dr. Adrienne Ruby, the local veterinarian, and said, 'I'm bringing in a calf.' The calf survived and Biakeddy found a new home for the dog in Flagstaff, she said Saturday. But the dog bite also precipitated another turn of events. While at the vet's, Dr. Ruby, as she is known to Navajos and Hopis, began talking to Biakeddy about a disclaimer she wanted to write regarding a photograph U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., used during his introduction of legislation in the Senate for the Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement. The picture showed Ruby, 69, a non-Navajo who has lived among the tribes since 1991, along with Biakeddy and Jason Barton at a hand-pump near Ruby's home in Seba Dalkai. They were filling up water barrels in the back of a wagon before heading out Labor Day weekend on an annual horse ride sponsored by former Navajo Nation Council Delegate Leonard Chee of Leupp. Biakeddy was riding along with Ruby, who was driving her Springfield wagon with rubber wheels, pulled by a team of Haflinger horses. Barton was on horseback. Ruby was unhappy with having her horses and wagon used to illustrate Kyl's comment that the tribes could assert claims to larger quantities of water than provided in the Little Colorado settlement, but, as seen here, they do not have the means to make use of those water supplies in a safe and productive manner. She was talking about this letter that she wanted to write and that's when I pulled up my camera and I started going through the pictures, and it clicked on me that I had a picture of those guys, Biakeddy said. The picture is dated Sept. 1. Since that day when members of Kyl's staff and Navajo Nation officials spotted them at the water pump and stopped to take their picture, Ruby believed she had met the senator. But she was wrong. The senator himself was not there. It was his staff, Ruby said in a telephone interview Thursday, the same day the Independent published a story about the Sept. 1 event in which Ruby said she met Kyl. We have a picture of me posed with the staff. I thought that tall, skinny guy was the senator, she said, referring to Navajo Nation water rights attorney Stanley Pollack. I'm not a Republican so I don't know much about those guys. I don't have a television. Biakeddy said that day marked her first visit to the spring at Seba Dalkai, which is visible from the highway.

People were waving at us. But these guys pull over and they come up and they talk to us. There really wasn't any formal introductions ... They did say they were from Jon Kyl's office and the Navajo Nation's office. I don't remember ever getting a business card. Biakeddy had pretty much forgotten the incident until one day, sometime after Kyl's Feb. 14 introduction of the water rights legislation, when she heard a woman named Lori from Colorado on Native America Calling was upset about the wagon picture. Immediately, I remembered. I started asking around, asking family relatives to look for it because I wanted to inform the public of who that was about, why we were out there, she said. It's really, really taken out of context. That's like taking a picture of somebody in tennis shoes running down the road and saying, 'Gas prices are so bad now, people are all walking.' I would think that Jon Kyl really should have thought about what he was saying. The way I look at it, if people really, truly were still eking out a living (and) a wagon was the only way to get around, he should be ashamed if he represents a state and allows the people to still be that poor, Biakeddy said. I am really astounded by the fact that a leader of such caliber could have his staff take an image like that and misconstrue it based on that one particular image. Biakeddy would like to see the misrepresentation corrected, as well as an apology, she said. To take a picture and to say, 'Based on this, this is why we're taking their water' that one picture should not be enough to drive the legislation. It took them 30 years to find that image, that's what I'm thinking. And oh, how convenient just before he's going to retire out of office. They even have the dates wrong. He said it was taken in August. It was Labor Day weekend.

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