Victims of Brutal Joy Killing Had Come Looking for Work

Alysa Landry, 7/30/14, Indian Country Today

 

The two Navajo men murdered July 19 in Albuquerque were homeless only when they were in the city.

Kee Thompson and Allison Gorman, who were beaten to death with cinder blocks while they slept on a mattress in an open field, had homes on the Navajo Nation, said Mary Garcia, executive director of the Albuquerque Indian Center. Although their individual circumstances varied, both men left those homes in search of other lives and instead found themselves living on the streets of New Mexico’s largest city.

RELATED: Teens Murder for Fun; Smash Heads of Homeless Men With Cinder Blocks

“They leave the reservation for better opportunities,” Garcia said. “But once they get here, the opportunities aren’t here because of lack of training or lack of transportation. Then the bad things start happening.”

Both men sought services at the Indian Center, which offers hot meals, counseling, phone and computer services and referrals. Staff at the Indian Center helped identify the men, who were beaten so badly they were unrecognizable.

Gorman, 44, had a card in his pocket listing his mailing address at the Indian Center, Garcia said. “That was the only thing on his body that could identify who he was,” she said.

In the days following the murders, details about who the men were have trickled in. Gorman, of Shiprock, New Mexico, moved to Albuquerque earlier this year looking for work. When he couldn’t find a place to live, he ended up on the streets, his sister, Alberta Gorman, told reporters.

“We are all in shock and we just can’t make sense of all this that has happened,” Alberta Gorman told a KOB-TV reporter. “My brother Allison was a son, a brother, a father, an uncle and a grandfather, and he was a very kind, loving man.”

Gordon Yawakia, prevention coordinator at the Albuquerque Indian Center, remembers Gorman as a “big, tall guy” who dressed in Levi’s, boots and a cowboy hat.

“He was a regular, down-to-earth cowboy,” Yawakia said. “With a backpack on, he reminded me of the Marlboro man.”

Gorman last visited the Indian Center on May 5. According to sign-in records, he was there at 9:30 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m. He kept a mailbox at the center, saying he wanted a “place to call home,” Yawakia said.

Thompson, who was either 45 or 46, left his home in Church Rock, New Mexico, in 2005. His family said he moved to Albuquerque after his 19-year-old nephew died of a heart condition.

Thompson’s aunt, Louise Yazzie, told reporters she raised him after his mother died.

“He’s the only son I have,” she said. “I told him, ‘I want you to stay here with us.’”

Thompson returned home periodically, Yazzie told a KOB-TV reporter. But he always returned to his street family.

Although Garcia hadn’t seen Thompson at the Indian Center for several years, she remembers he was always well-dressed and had his hair neatly trimmed.

“He always had a real good-looking hairstyle,” she said. “The reason I found it interesting is because he didn’t look like a street person.”

And really, he didn’t belong on the street, Garcia said.

“A lot of the guys who come here are homeless, but only in the city,” she said. “They have homes on the reservation.”

Police arrested three teenagers in connection with the murders. Alex Rios, 18, Nathaniel Carrillo, 16, and Gilbert Tafoya, 15, each are charged with two open counts of murder, tampering with evidence, three counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and robbery. Bail was set at $5 million for each of them.

The Albuquerque Indian Center organized a peaceful march last Friday to memorialize the two men and call on city and state officials to step up. About 200 people participated in the march, Garcia said.

“I always like to make the point that because the people are homeless, that doesn’t mean they have to be treated with less respect,” she said. “What happened to these men is beyond comprehension and no one should have to go through that.”

 

Alex Rios, 18, Nathaniel Carillo, 16, and Gilbert Tafoya, 15, are suspects in the brutal deaths of two homeless Navajo men in Albuquerque on July 21. (Courtesy Albuquerque Police Department)
Alex Rios, 18, Nathaniel Carillo, 16, and Gilbert Tafoya, 15, are suspects in the brutal deaths of two homeless Navajo men in Albuquerque on July 21. (Courtesy Albuquerque Police Department)

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/07/30/victims-brutal-joy-killing-had-come-looking-work-156119

Teens Murder for Fun; Smash Heads of Homeless Men with Cinder Blocks

Courtesy Albuquerque Police DepartmentAlex Rios, 18, Nathaniel Carillo, 16, and Gilbert Tafoya, 15, are suspects in the brutal deaths of two homeless Navajo men in Albuquerque on July 21.

Courtesy Albuquerque Police Department
Alex Rios, 18, Nathaniel Carillo, 16, and Gilbert Tafoya, 15, are suspects in the brutal deaths of two homeless Navajo men in Albuquerque on July 21.

 

Alysa Landry, 7/24/14, Indian Country Today

 

Navajo President Ben Shelly is calling for answers in the gruesome murders of two homeless Navajo men last weekend in Albuquerque.

The victims, whose names have not yet been released, were beaten so brutally with a cinder block and other objects that they were unrecognizable. Their bodies, one lying on a mattress and one on the ground, were found Saturday morning in an open field in northwest Albuquerque.

Three teenagers, Alex Rios, 18, Nathaniel Carrillo, 16, and Gilbert Tafoya, 15, are each being charged with two open counts of murder, tampering with evidence, three counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and robbery. The teens likely will be tried as adults and all could face life in prison.

During their first appearance in court Monday, bail was set at $5 million for each of them. But even with suspects behind bars, New Mexico’s largest city and the neighboring Navajo Nation are still reeling from the attack.

President Shelly has requested a meeting with Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, during which he hopes to discuss ways to assist the city’s homeless population. The teens charged in the murders claimed to have attacked as many as 50 other homeless people during the past year, according to court records.

“Innocent men do not deserve to be murdered in their sleep,” Shelly said in a press release. “It’s beyond senseless that these teens would attack homeless people in this manner.”

The Albuquerque Police Department, which is under federal Justice Department scrutiny because of its high number of officer-related shootings – including a March incident during which an officer shot and killed a homeless Native man – was appalled by the violence of the recent attack, spokesman Simon Drobik said.

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“My stomach turns when I think about it,” he said. “When all you know is that two people are dead and juveniles are in custody, it’s hard to wrap your brain around it. It was such a heinous crime and the nature of violence was so traumatic.”

The teens told police that they went out after a party looking for “someone to beat up,” according to the criminal complaint. Tafoya reportedly was upset because he recently broke up with a longtime girlfriend.

They tied black T-shirts around their faces in an attempt to conceal their identities then walked to a field near two of the teens’ homes, where they found three subjects sleeping on mattresses. One of the victims managed to run away, but the teens repeatedly beat the other two men with their hands and feet, as well as cinder blocks, wooden sticks and a metal fence post.

According to Tafoya’s statement to police, the teens “took turns picking cinder blocks over their heads and smashing them into the male subjects’ faces.” Tafoya admitted to using the cinder block as a weapon more than 10 times.

Drobik called the case “specifically brutal” because it involves two vulnerable populations: teenagers and homeless.

“Kids are killing transients,” he said. “My initial response was: who failed these kids? How did they get to this point in life where they thought this was an acceptable thing to do? It’s heartbreaking for everyone involved.”

The victims’ bodies were transported to the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator. A spokeswoman for that office confirmed the men were Native, but declined to release their names. It could take up to 90 days for autopsy reports to be complete, she said.

 

Bedding, clothing and broken glass litter a homeless encampment in Albuquerque, Monday, July 21, 2014, where three teenagers are accused of fatally beating two homeless Navajo men. (Jeri Clausing/AP Photo)
Bedding, clothing and broken glass litter a homeless encampment in Albuquerque, Monday, July 21, 2014, where three teenagers are accused of fatally beating two homeless Navajo men. (Jeri Clausing/AP Photo)

 

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/07/24/kids-are-killing-transients-brutal-murder-teens-two-navajo-men-156034

World’s Largest Gathering of Nations Celebrates 30 Years of Celebrating Native and Indigenous Peoples and Cultures

Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

All photos courtesy Gathering of NationsGrand Entry at the Gathering of the Nations

All photos courtesy Gathering of Nations
Grand Entry at the Gathering of the Nations

Born out of humble beginnings, the Gathering of Nations, the world’s largest gathering of Native American and indigenous people, will celebrate its 30th anniversary in Albuquerque, New Mexico April 25-27.  Considered the most prominent pow wow in North America, it will host tens of thousands of people and more than 700 tribes from throughout the United States, Canada, and around the world honoring three decades of Native American culture and traditions through dance, music, food and indigenous dress.

 

The three-day event includes more than 3,000 traditional Native singers and dancers competing and entertaining a capacity crowd, and more than 800 Native artisans, craftsmen and traders displaying and selling their work.  In addition, dozens of different indigenous bands will perform various musical genres on Stage 49, and vendors will offer a wide variety of food in the Native America Food Court and Powwow Alley

As part of the Gathering of Nations, a young Native  woman is crowned Miss Indian World and represents all native and indigenous people as a cultural goodwill ambassador.  As one of the largest and most prestigious cultural pageants, Native American and indigenous women representing their different tribes and traditions compete in the areas of tribal knowledge, dancing ability, and personality assessment.

 

“This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Gathering of Nations, and we are busy planning for what we expect to be the largest and most exciting pow wow in the event’s history,” said Derek Mathews, founder of the Gathering of Nations.  “The Gathering of Nations strives to be a positive cultural experience that is exhilarating for everyone.  The pow wow features thousands of dancers performing different styles from many regions and tribes, offers the finest in Native American arts and crafts in the Indian Traders Market, a delicious variety of Native American and Southwest cuisine, and the best in contemporary performances in the arena, on Stage 49, and in Powwow Alley.”

 

The first Gathering of Nations was held in 1983 at the former University of Albuquerque where Derek Mathews was the Dean of Students, and a club campus adviser for the Indian Club.  Four hundred dancers competed and about 1,000 spectators attended the first year.  In 1984, the pow wow was moved to the New Mexico State Fair Grounds where it was held for two years.  Then the Gathering of Nations moved to its current location, the University of New Mexico Arena (affectionately known as “The Pit”), in 1986.  The organizers realized the Gathering of Nations had the potential to  become a larger event and decided to create the Gathering of Nations Limited, a 501 c3 non-profit organization, allowing organizers to seek financial assistance to produce the event.  Throughout the years, it grew to become the largest Native American pow wow in North America, but still honors its original intent of offering a pow wow contest that is fair to all dancers.

 

The Gathering of Nations is celebrating its 30th anniversary with the release of a new book and the launch of Gathering of Nations Internet Radio.  The book titled 30 Years of Gathering: Gathering of Nations Powwow is a look back at previous pow wows and is told through photographs and written memories.  The new book will be available in time for the event’s 30th anniversary in April.  Additionally, the Gathering of Nations Internet Radio was recently introduced on iHeartRadio offering Native  music of all genres including pow wow, rock ‘n’ roll and spoken word.

The 30th Annual Gathering of Nations begins Thursday, April 25, at “The Pit” with registration for singers and dancers and the start of the Miss Indian World competition.  The crowning of Miss Indian World will take place on Saturday, April 27.  The much anticipated “Grand Entry,” where thousands of Native American dancers simultaneously enter the stadium dressed in
colorful outfits to the sounds of hundreds of beating drums, begins at noon on Friday, April 26.

Gathering tickets cost copy7 per day, $34 for a two day pass, or $50 for a two day pass with VIP seating.  They can be purchased at the door, or in advance online through mid–April.  For participants and guests traveling to the 30th Annual Gathering of Nations from outside the state, Southwest Airlines has special airfare deals and Enterprise Rent-A-Car has an exclusive rental rate.  In addition, the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel – Albuquerque is the host hotel for the event, and is offering special rates for camping facilities at Isleta Lakes.

For more information about the 30th Annual Gathering of Nations, visit GatheringOfNations.com.
 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/03/30/worlds-largest-gathering-nations-celebrates-30-years-celebrating-native-and-indigenous