Aug. 25, 2005


SANTA FE , N.M. – Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., has asked New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to help the Navajo Nation keep its four-month-old prohibition of uranium mining and processing intact.

In a private meeting at the Governor’s Cabinet Meeting Room here Tuesday, President Shirley informed the Governor of a company’s desire to resume uranium mining at Church Rock, N.M., on the Navajo Nation.

The New Mexico Business Weekly reported Aug. 9 that Strathmore Minerals Corp. of Canada had announced that it had opened a uranium mine development office in Santa Fe.

It was reported that Strathmore officials had met with Governor Richardson's office to discuss its plans and that the company hoped to gain state approval to reopen its Church Rock and Roca Honda uranium mines located in McKinley County, which it purchased from Kerr McGee Nuclear and Rio Algom.

Church Rock is located on the Navajo Nation.

“The Navajo Nation as a government and a people has said we’re not going to have uranium mining on Navajoland or in Navajo Country,” President Shirley told Gov. Richardson. “We’d like to see that law stick.”

On April 19, the Navajo Nation Council passed the Diné Natural Resources Protection Act of 2005 by a vote of 63 to 19. Banning uranium mining was a major plank in President Shirley’s campaign platform three years ago and continues to be a significant issue for his Administration.

“Because of exposure to uranium, many of my medicine people have died, many of my elderly have died,” the President said. “I’d sure hate to go back there. Too many of my people have died.”

President Shirley said Governor Richardson assured him he would not take any action without first consulting with the Navajo Nation.

Thousands of uranium miners and their families have become ill or died through unprotected exposure to uranium mining, contaminated water, tailings and dust. Years of efforts to have them receive compassionate compensation for their illnesses led to more delays, denials and disappointment.

“We’ve been through too much,” President Shirley said of the 65-year-old legacy of uranium mining. “We just don’t want it.”

In June, President Shirley personally delivered a statement seeking international support for the Navajo Nation uranium mining prohibition to Ahmed Sayyad, Assistant Director-General for External Relations and Cooperation of UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

In an hour-long meeting at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, President Shirley discussed the need to protect Navajo sovereignty through respect for the Diné Natural Resources Protection Act of 2005.

President Shirley said he believed “the powers that be committed genocide on Navajoland by allowing uranium mining.”

# # #


George Hardeen, Communications Director
Office of the President and Vice President The Navajo Nation
928-871-7917 928-309-8532

Contact: Karen Francis, Public Information Officer
Navajo Nation Council Office of the Speaker
(928) 871-7160

DATE: Wednesday, August 24, 2005


In a unanimous vote of 6 in favor and 0 opposed, the Human Services Committee of the Navajo Nation Council opened the door for Head Start bargaining unit member employees to decide whether they want to be bound by a collective bargaining agreement that has been over a year in the making.

Now that the proposed agreement has passed legislative review pursuant to Navajo Nation law, it, along with the decision of whether the effected employees want voluntary or mandatory membership, will be placed before those employees for a vote.

The Committee’s vote recognizes Navajo Nation law which provides that Navajo Nation government employees can unionize. In supporting such legislation, it was the Committee’s consensus that spoke to the point that, ultimately, in accordance with the Navajo Preference in Employment Act at 15 N.N.C. § 606, each employee should be given the right to voice his or her opinion as to whether he or she wants or does not want to be represented by a union. That voice was not to be stifled by government.


Good Morning. Yesterday afternoon a thunderstorm knocked out power to the DIT offices.

Therefore, shutting down the servers was necessary. After restoring power, a system device was inoperable, which was discovered this morning. A component to correct the problem has been reordered from the vendor, in the mean time there is only one (01) T1 connection to access the Internet.

Please be considerate when using the Internet. Do not download large files, stream music, or send large attachments through the internet. Keep Internet use at a minimum until full restoration of services. DIT is working to resolve this issue, full operation is anticipated by tomorrow.

If there are any questions, please call DIT @ (928) 871-6520. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

 Alex Largie - Network Manager

Navajo Nation - Department of Information Technology

Tribal Hill Drive

Window Rock, AZ 86515

Tel: (928) 871-6004

Fax: (928) 871-7737


Aug. 17, 2005


Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano issues declaration to honor the late Chairman

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Navajo Nation employees have been granted a day of leave to allow them to mark the passing of the late Navajo Tribal Chairman Raymond Nakai, who died Sunday, Aug. 14 after a lengthy illness.

Proclaimed a Day of Remembrance, employees will not report to work on Thursday, Aug. 18. That is the day of the late Chairman’s funeral, which will be held at his hometown of Lukachukai, Ariz.

Also, today Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano issued a proclamation to honor the memory of the late Chairman on behalf of the State of Arizona.

The Navajo Nation proclamation asks “that all Navajo people mark this Day of Remembrance by pausing to reflect on the late Chairman Raymond Nakai’s legacy and great accomplishments.”

It was signed today by Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., Navajo Nation Council Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan and Navajo Nation Supreme Court Justice Herb Yazzie.

The proclamation notes that the late Chairman served the U.S. Navy and the Navajo Nation “with courage and honor during World War II.”

It also notes that Chairman Nakai was the first modern Navajo leader who worked to promote civil and religious rights for Navajo people, and played a vital role in the establishment of Navajo Community College, the first tribally-controlled college in the United States.

“It is proper and appropriate that the Navajo Nation set aside a day of remembrance in memory of this remarkable man,” the proclamation reads.

In Gov. Napalitano’s declaration, she notes that Chairman Nakai was “a leader in higher education, civil rights and religious freedom, served his country in the United States Navy and the Navajo Nation as a Tribal Council Member and Chairman.”

She said he worked tirelessly to strengthen the Native American Church and was an inspiring advocate of the Church.

“He will be remembered and revered as a wonderful man and a great leader who gave Navajos their first real bill of rights and as one of the first Native American leaders to bring media savvy to his office,” the Governor said. “As one of the greatest bilingual speakers ever, he will be greatly missed but he leaves a rich legacy of contributions to the Navajo people and the people of Arizona.

# # #

George Hardeen, Communications Director
Office of the President and Vice President The Navajo Nation
928-871-7917 928-309-8532

Contact: Karen Francis, Public Information Officer
Navajo Nation Council Office of the Speaker
(928) 871-7160



DATE: Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Highlight will be Navajo Nation Fair Exceptional Rodeo

The branch chiefs of the Navajo Nation made a rare joint public appearance on August 16, 2005, to sign an important proclamation declaring September 8 a day of recognition and respect for individuals with disabilities.

The highlight of September 8th will be an exceptional children’s rodeo, complete with mock rodeo events, at the 59th Annual Navajo Nation Fair in Window Rock, Ariz. Professional Indian cowboys and cowgirls, including John Boyd, Jr., Ruth Bitsui and Edision Bitsui, will guide children through such events as Kidz Kowboy Roping, Lickety Split Barrel Racing, Horse Grooming and Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo.

The recognition of Navajos with disabilities is so significant that Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan, President Joe Shirley, Vice President Frank Dayish and Chief Justice Herb Yazzie each attended the morning ceremony to show their support for the event, which is a first for the Navajo Nation.

The rodeo planning committee credited Council delegate George Arthur with initiating the project. Arthur is also the Resources Committee Chairperson and a Navajo Nation Fair Commissioner.

“The theme coming forth always said it was the Navajo people’s fair. Historically, it was a gathering where the Navajo people renewed friendship and visited with neighbors. As years went by, it became apparent there was very little activity, in fact none, for individuals who have limitations,” Arthur said.

Arthur said that after speaking with fellow Resources Committee members and other individuals, they decided that the time for just talking about such an event was over. It was time to start planning. It was time to welcome and embrace Navajos with disabilities during the Navajo Nation Fair.

“We are indeed blessed to have such individuals in our society,” Arthur continued. “We should give them the opportunity to have what we take for granted every day.”

Edison Bitsui called the event “the missing piece of the puzzle all these years.” He added that many people, he included, would value the event.

“It’s wonderful that this year is going to commemorate that we will embrace these children in the Navajo Nation Fair rodeo arena. Rodeo is not about winning prizes. It’s about people,” Gloria Grant, a planning committee member, said.

Ruth Bitsoi, another of the planning committee members, added, “This is an opportunity for us as contestants in the rodeo community to give back in a special way. Every person in the rodeo community who has heard of the event wants to help. The very idea touches our hearts.”

John Boyd, Jr., also a planning committee member, recalled how he held a team roping school in Leupp one year where he noticed an exceptional child walking around wanting to be a team roper.

“This boy had a rope. He got in line with the other students. He wanted to be treated equally,” Boyd said.

By the next day, the boy was on a horse and trying his hand at roping.

“He had questions. He had drive. On September 8 th, there is going to be a lot of kids who have that drive,” Boyd said.

Marcella King, who is also on the planning committee, reminded everyone to be mindful of parents and family members who must care for individuals with disabilities.

“Just like any parent, they love their child and dream that someday their child can become independent, successful and be a contributing member of society. But most importantly, they desire their child to be treated with dignity and respect,” King said.

She added that it takes individuals, families, communities and an entire nation to make those dreams a reality.

“The Navajo Nation leaders acknowledge that the needs of individuals with disabilities go beyond providing basic needs such as health, education and transportation. There are issues of cognitive and physical development, including communication, social and emotional development,” King said. “For that reason, the Navajo Nation seeks opportunities to make the world a better place for all children.”

Speaker Morgan said that he would like to see the exceptional children’s rodeo become an annual event at the fair.

“Rodeo has a lot of opportunities for people of all ages including exceptional children. They have been in our life cycle from the beginning, and it is worth recognizing them at the Navajo Nation Fair,” the speaker said.

During the ceremony, the artists who won the logo design competition for the rodeo were introduced. Nate Tsosie, from Page, Ariz., and Cameron Billy, from Shiprock, N.M., placed fourth; Erica Lynn Begay from Bluff, Utah placed third; Jerome Tso, from Tsaile, Ariz., placed second; and Lucian Anthony placed first.

“I myself have been touched by these people,” Anthony said. “When I heard about this, I told myself ‘You got to participate in this contest,’ because we are all touched by the disabled.”

George Arthur agreed, saying “I will be a complete person in mind and spirit to have been a part of this project and I will have been blessed to be a part of this.”

The planning committee is asking for volunteers and donations to make the first ever exceptional children’s rodeo a success. For more information on doing so, please contact Ruth Bitsui by email at or by phone at (505) 844-5196. You may also contact, Marcella King at; Clarina Boyd at or (928) 755-1107; or John Boyd at


Contact: Karen Francis, Public Information Officer
Navajo Nation Council Office of the Speaker
(928) 871-7160


DATE: Tuesday, August 16, 2005


The Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council Lawrence T. Morgan announced that the Navajo Nation Council is holding a public memorial service to honor the late Chairman Raymond Nakai, Sr. The memorial service will be held at the Navajo Nation Council Chamber, beginning at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, August 17, 2005. The service is open to the public and a light reception will follow. Speaker Morgan said of Mr. Nakai, “We are indebted to his service, for his service has reached out to us. We are honored by his leadership, for his leadership has changed the world we live in. Most important, we are grateful for his life, for his life has touched each and every one of us.” Expected to speak at the services are Speaker Morgan, Chief Justice Herb Yazzie, Former Chairman Peter MacDonald and Diné College President Ferlin Clark.  For more information, please contact Merle Pete at the Office of the Speaker at (928) 871-7160.


Click here for the Speaker's statement announcing the memorial service.

Aug. 15, 2005


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – The late Navajo Tribal Chairman Raymond Nakai, 86, who
died Sunday of pneumonia, is being remembered here today as the first modern
Navajo leader, a champion of Navajo civil and religious rights, and the man
who ushered in the first economic development initiative to the huge, remote
Navajo Nation.

“He’s one of the backbones to Navajo economic development,” said David
Clark, President of Azeé Bee Nahagha of the Diné Nation and the first
president of the Native American Church of Navajoland. “He advocated for the
civil rights of the Navajo. He wanted to have a constitution established.
That was his platform during the time he was campaigning.”

Mr. Clark said he first got to know Chairman Nakai as a boy when Mr. Nakai
returned from Navy service in the South Pacific and worked at the Navajo
Army Depot in Bellemont, Ariz.

“My parents and many others, the elders, worked there,” Mr. Clark said. “He
was employed there with the Department of Defense. He was a prominent leader
at the time.”

Chairman Nakai was born in Lukachukai, Ariz., on Oct. 12, 1918. He served
two terms as chairman of the Navajo Tribe, as it was known then, from 1964
until 1971. He went on to be a councilman on the Navajo Tribal Council from
Lukachukai after leaving office as chairman.

“He had great skills in communication both in English and in Navajo because
he worked for radio station KCLS in Flagstaff,” said Peter Iverson, Arizona
State University history professor and author of “The Navajo Nation. “He had
an appreciation for media. He served at a time of great transition and a
time when important issues were being confronted.”

Among those issues were education, Native American religious freedom and
civil rights. In 1968, Chairman Nakai played a vital role in the
establishment of Navajo Community College – today Diné College – the first
tribally-controlled college in the U.S.

In 1967, Chairman Nakai met with Bureau of Indian Affairs officials to
explain his goals to create the college. The officials expressed disbelief
that the Navajo people planned to operate their own college. Chairman Nakai
is remembered for having said, “We’re not asking for your permission. We’re
just telling you what we’re going to do.”

Chairman Nakai also presided over the Centennial of the Navajo Treaty of
1868, which freed 8,000 Navajos from captivity at Fort Sumner, N.M., known
as the Navajo holocaust, and established a Navajo reservation.

One year later, in 1969, the Navajo Tribal Council passed a resolution to
refer to the Navajo Tribe as the Navajo Nation. This was to remind Navajos
and non-Navajo alike that, as a people, Navajos were distinct, Professor
Iverson said.

“Nakai said that it was asserting that we are both a part of the United
States and we are apart from the United States,” Professor Iverson said. “In
the long run, Chairman Nakai is somebody, I think, who will be seen as a
more significant leader. He was an important person, and important to
recognize and remember.”

Chairman Nakai is also known for firing the first general counsel for the
Navajo Tribe, Norman Littel, who had tremendous influence in the working of
the Navajo Tribal Council in the 1960s.

“Littel did not go gently into the night,” Professor Iverson said. “They had
a tremendous confrontation about that. And, in the end, Nakai’s stance

Chairman Nakai is also remembered for having asserted the right of Navajo
people to use the sacrament peyote, known in the Navajo language as azeé, or
medicine. In the 1960s, members of the Native American Church were being
persecuted for their religious use of azeé.

On Oct. 11, 1967, the use of peyote in religious ceremonies by Native
American Church members was approved by the Navajo Tribal Council by a
margin of three votes.

Chairman Nakai is survived by his wife Ella M. Nakai, their children
musician Raymond Carlos Nakai of Tucson, Ursula Nakai of Albuquerque,
Michael Nakai of Window Rock, Richard Nakai of Lukachukai, and Laurinda of
Flagstaff. In addition, he leaves three sisters, Mae Bekis, Lillian N.
Uentillie, and Eva N. Lee, all of Lukachukai, 10 grandchildren and numerous

Chairman Nakai was preceded in death by his parents John and Bilthnedesbah,
his sisters Mary C. Tso and Nellie Nakai, and his brothers Frank and Paul

Services will be 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, at St. Isabel Catholic Church in
Lukachukai, Ariz. Burial will be at the Lukachukai Community Cemetery.
Rollie Mortuary of Gallup is in charge of arrangements. A family viewing
will be from 1-to-6 p.m. on Wednesday at Rollie Mortuary, 401 E. Nizhoni
Blvd., Gallup.

# # #


George Hardeen, Communications Director
Office of the President and Vice President
The Navajo Nation
928-871-7917   928-309-8532


Aug. 15, 2005


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Former Navajo Tribal Chairman Raymond Nakai, who served from 1963 to 1970, passed away Sunday after a lengthy illness.

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., today issued a proclamation to honor and recognize the long time leader of the country's largest tribe, and to order flags flown at half-staff today through Aug. 21.

Raymond Nakai Proclamation, Aug15.pdf

Mr. Nakai is remembered as an advocate for tribal sovereignty, individual rights and Native American religious freedom.

More information to follow.

Contact George Hardeen, communications director in the Office of the President and Vice President; office 928-871-7917, cell 928-309-8532.

# # #

George Hardeen, Communications Director
Office of the President and Vice President
The Navajo Nation

928- 309-8532

Contact: Edward B. Martin, Director of Judicial Administration

Judicial Branch of the Navajo Nation

(928) 871-6762 / Fax (928) 871-6761


DATE: MONDAY, August 15, 2005


Judge Wilson Yellowhair of the Ramah Judicial District is currently being evaluated regarding his work performance as a probationary district court judge in consideration for permanent appointment.

The public is invited to comment, express a concern, or state a recommendation concerning Judge Yellowhair’s qualifications, character, or work performance.

Written statements should be addressed to Chief Justice Herb Yazzie, Post Office Box 520, Window Rock, Arizona 86515. Anonymous statements will not be considered. Signed statements may be faxed to (928) 871-6761. The closing date for receipt of the signed statement is August 26, 2005, 5:00 p.m.

For additional information:
Randall X. Ramsey, Court Solicitor
Judicial Branch of the Navajo Nation
Post Office Box 520, Window Rock, AZ 86515
Phone (928) 871-7017
Fax (928) 871-6761

For Immediate Release                                  
Aug. 14, 2005                                                          

George Hardeen, Communications Director
Office of the President and Vice President
Office – 928-871-7917
Cell   –  928-309-8532

Hundreds turn out for 2nd annual Presidential Back-to-School Youth Day

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Hundreds of Navajo school kids and their parents met dignitaries, movie actors, recording artists and sports figures at the second annual Presidential Youth Back-to-School Day here Saturday.

More than 800 people and more than two dozen exhibit tents packed the courtyard between the Navajo Nation administration buildings here to listen to bands, see displays, compete in no-rules Rez Basketball games, receive gift of school supplies and T-Shirts, participate in drawings, visit with potential Miss Navajo contenders and get autographs from Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr. and First Lady Vikki Shirley.

“We are empowering our youth with the traditions and knowledge of the Navajo way of life,” said Presidential Youth Ambassador Alray Nelson, a college summer intern in the Office of the President and Vice President. “We, as Navajos, are a distinct people and we must know our language and culture.”

Mr. Nelson said that when he was a young student, he didn’t have anyone to look up to as a role model or example of success. Changing that for today’s youth was the inspiration for the Presidential Youth Day, he said.

Students from elementary grades through high school were able to meet people like champion football player George LaFrance, who now teaches at Chinle High School, Navajo movie actor Elsa Johnson, star of Black Cloud who grew up in Forest Lake, former Miss Navajo Nation and recording artist Radmilla Cody, who sang the National Anthem in Navajo, the 2004-2005 reigning Miss Navajo Nation Jannalee Atcitty, traditional singers Jay and Tiinesha Begaye of Ganado and numerous division directors in the Shirley/Dayish Administration.

The crowd was also entertained by the multi-cultural Provo, Utah, song and dance group ROC – Remembering Our Culture.

Five Navajo young women who will compete to be the next Miss Navajo Nation distributed gifts and information to the crowd at First Lady Vikki Shirley’s Mothers Against Drunk Driving exhibit, which appeared to be the busiest of the day. The contenders are Michelle Descheenie of Chilchinbito, Rachelle James of Rough Rock, Tiffany Tracy of Fort Defiance, Roberta Diswood of Nanahnezah, N.M., and Janene Yazzie of Lupton.

President Shirley, who sang “Navajo: Number One Nation,” said every young person should have a song.

“I want to encourage each of our grandchildren to learn a song and have a song in your heart,” he said.

He told that crowd that the purpose of coming together for Youth Day was to express care, love, appreciation and encouragement to Navajo youth.

“We can’t hug them enough, we can’t love them enough,” he said. “They need to be nurtured and loved. There are monsters out there we need to protect our children from. We must always remember the children.”

The President thanked parents for bringing their kids to the Youth Day on a Saturday and urged them to give their children a lot of love “so they can grow the way they should.”

He thanked the many dignitaries and performers who donated their time to be part of the Youth Day, saying they have a tremendous amount of influence over Navajo youth.

“It does good for the spirit, it does good for the heart,” he said. “It’s good for the children to move them in right direction. As leaders, we don’t spend enough time to mingle with the children.”

The President said he is frequently asked the secret to his political and professional success.

“One of the things that did it for me is the secret of ké,” he said. He said always to remember the relationships you have with your family, relatives, clans and neighbors.

George LaFrance, three-time all-MVP World Champion professional football player for the Tampa Bay Storm and now a teacher at Chinle High School, told the kids to work hard to do well. He described how he married into a traditional Navajo family, which requires much responsibility of him.

“I’ve been chopping so much wood, butchering so many sheep, it’s unbelievable,” he said.

Radmilla Cody said she was a perfect example of someone who has made mistakes in life but has been given another chance to show those who kept their faith in her that she can live her life for a greater purpose.

“Learn from my mistake, little ones,” she told the kids. “Life is precious. We should live life to the best of our ability. This is so important. Parents, give yourself a big pat on the back for bringing your children here today.”

# # #

Alray Nelson, Presidential Youth Ambassador, cell: 928-309-8429, office: 928-871-7000

For Immediate Release Contact: George Hardeen

Aug. 13, 2005 Communications Director

Office – 928-871-7917

See more news from the Cell – 928-309-8532

Office of the President and Vice President


Navajo Nation First Lady Vikki Shirley gains support

of Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano on Violence Against Women Act

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano assured Navajo Nation First Lady Vikki Shirley on Friday that she would help her seek reauthorization of the federal Violence Against Women Act.

The 1994 VAWA is expected to expire September 30 unless Congress reauthorizes it through passage of Senate Bill 1197 with its Tribal Title IX enhancements. The First Lady visited the Governor in her office here and was accompanied by Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr.

“Domestic violence is the number one crime on the Navajo Nation right now,” said Mrs. Shirley, who has been on the Governor’s Commission on Arizona State Domestic Violence since 2003 and has served on New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s Advisory Board on Domestic Violence. “A lot of people deny that it is out there, just like alcohol.”

According to the U.S. Justice Department, one in three Native women will be raped and six in 10 will be physically assaulted in their lifetimes.

The Governor told Mrs. Shirley she would discuss the need to reauthorize VAWA with other state governors when she meets them this weekend.

“I’ve been a big supporter (of the law) and actually brought the first case in the country as U.S. attorney,” the Governor said. “I will do what I can. Your timing is perfect.”

Critical to reauthorization of the law are the enhancements that provide funding to Native shelters and programs to help women and children affected by domestic violence. The Tribal Title IX enhancements include provisions to ensure that all perpetrators of violent crimes against Native women are held accountable, increases research on violence against Native women, and establishes a national tribal sex offender registry.

“The recidivism rate of domestic violence is very high,” Mrs. Shirley said. “Domestic violence has been on the rise within the last funding period of VAWA.”

At home, Mrs. Shirley has taken the lead with the Navajo Nation Domestic Violence Advisory Council to have the Navajo Nation Council adopt the Navajo Violence Against Families Act later this year.

At the same time, she hopes to see the federal law reauthorized because it provides a 10 percent set-aside for tribal programs.

“The set-aside means a lot to the shelters and programs on the Navajo Nation,” Mrs. Shirley said. It means an increase of funding and services to all providers, law enforcement, the judicial system, and, of course, the Navajo people who need this help.”

President Shirley said it’s always good to see Gov. Napolitano and welcomes her support of this important legislation.

“She’s our Mother and a daughter to the Navajo people,” the President said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that she’s going to support Navajo.”

# # #


Contact: Karen Francis, Public Information Officer
Navajo Nation Council Office of the Speaker
(928) 871-7160



DATE: Sunday, August 14, 2005



Navajo students help to design and build innovative home in Nageezi


After seeing first-hand the home built for Navajo elderly couple Kee and Mary Augustine in Nageezi, N.M., more than a few people at the dedication were asking, “Where do I sign up?”

Among those attending the dedication of the new home on Thursday, Aug.11, were Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council Lawrence T. Morgan, Navajo Housing Authority CEO Chester Carl, San Juan County Commissioner Ervin Chavez and members of the Crownpoint Institute of Technology Board of Directors.

The home was designed and built with the help of Navajo students from the Arizona State University College of Architecture and Environmental Design; the ASU Stardust Center for Affordable Housing; Navajo Housing Authority and the Navajo Nation. The home utilizes innovative technology to use nearly 80 percent less energy than a typical house.

The students and the Stardust Center also designed the house to make use of many resources available locally. For example, the building is made with FlexCrete, which is manufactured in Page, Ariz. with fly ash from the near-by Salt River Project. The cabinets in the house are from Cabinets Southwest, a local company. The wood and the stones used in the Chahash’oh came from the area.

Mary Augustine also noted that some of the material from her old home, which she had occupied for 37 years, was recycled and used in the construction of the new home.

The Augustine’s previous home was in disrepair and the couple was living in the living room because of the leaking roof. In some parts of the house, the roof had caved in. Then Christopher Billey, a young Navajo working at the Stardust Center, entered their lives.

At first, Mary was skeptical, but she allowed for the home she shared with her husband to be torn down.

“It was a real act of faith,” Daniel J. Glenn with the Stardust Center said. “They had to trust that we would replace it with something better.”

And they did. The students used their cultural teachings to design the most efficient home for the couple. The home was built in three months, during which time the couple lived at the Nageezi NHA housing sub-division.

Flora Ben from Navajo Nation TV 5 said her favorite part of the house was the way the students used the four elements of fire, water, earth and air in the making of the home. In an NNTV5 interview, Adrian Holiday, one of the student designers, explained how they did so with a central fireplace, a roof that collects rain water, use of local resources and a natural ventilation system.

For Mary, her favorite part is the way the home is structured like a Hogan. The entrance is on the east. However, unlike most Hogan entrances, this one has a vestibule with a separate door to prevent cool air from escaping in the summer and keep warm air in during the winter.

Because of such measures, the house does not require air conditioning. Automatic windows open if the inside temperature goes over 80°. Even during the outside dedication with high summer temperatures, many of the people in attendance would step inside the house to cool off for awhile.

For winter, a heating system is built into the floor. This was especially important for the Augustine couple because they had to buy and haul wood and coal for heat in the winter. Making it even harder are the couple’s rural residence (five miles of dirt road to reach their house) and the fact that the couple only had a car and limited income.

One of the most efficient features of the home is that the roof is utilized to capture and store rainwater, which the students felt was important because of the dry region.

“It filled up with the first major rainstorm,” Daniel said. The water can be used for livestock or gardening. During the dedication, Kee, with Mary and Speaker Morgan by his side, pumped water from the water pump located in the couple’s front yard for the first time.

“There are so many thank-yous I will say for the rest of my life,” Mary said. “I think you made something really beautiful,” she said to the students.

What Mary learned, she said, is that some things are possible.

“The president of the university has been instrumental in making this happen,” Daniel said. “He is creating a new vision for ASU – a vision of a university that is out among the community taking the wealth of knowledge that the university provides.”

The Navajo students who were in attendance said they learned about their own selves and their culture as they designed the home.

“It was quite an experience learning about my culture. We forecast that other students will follow us. To express our culture in these structures, it’s beautiful,” ASU student Adrian Holiday, from Kayenta, Arizona, said during the press conference.

The Navajo students who helped with the project include Christopher Billey, Adrian Holiday, Tanya Yellowhair and Jason Croxton. Other students who helped were Alisa Lertique, Ernesto Fonseca, Matthew Green and Peter Crispell.

Leonard Teller, NHA Board Chairman and Council delegate, said, “Congratulations to our elders for this great collaboration. All entities have put together a monumental demonstration with innovative thinking.”

Teller further pointed out that this is the first home built with Navajo FlexCrete, which is owned by NHA. NHA has begun to move into areas of economic development, including manufacturing FlexCrete in Page, Arizona.

Speaker Morgan had toured the FlexCrete facility and learned of its efficiency, but to see what could actually be done with the material was a great experience, he said.

For the speaker, his favorite part of the home was the shade house area located in the front yard of the home.

“The idea of the courtyard goes back to ancient architecture” Daniel said in explaining its design. The courtyard was made with juniper wood, which was advocated by the Navajo students, and with stone from the Nageezi area.

“I believe this is a really beautiful piece to complete the home,” Adrian said.

Speaker Morgan commended the students for their work. “You are taking what you are learning and applying it for the good of your people,” he said.

Speaker Morgan is hoping to help more architectural and design students to gain practical knowledge through participation in the planning and development of the new Legislative Branch building. A request for proposals has been issued. One of the requirements for the firm that will be selected for the new building is that input from the American Indian Council of Engineers and Architects, an organization with chapters at ASU and the University of New Mexico, will be considered.

“Our Navajo students have proven with this home that they have the abilities and knowledge to help us in the creation of a new Legislative Branch building,” the speaker said. “I am very excited to see what can be created for us in Window Rock.”


Contact: Karen Francis, Public Information Officer

Navajo Nation Council Office of the Speaker

(928) 871-7160


DATE: Friday, August 12, 2005

Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan (Iyanbito/Pinedale) issued the following statement after attending the dedication ceremony for a new home for Mary and Kee Augustine in Nageezi, N.M. The home was made by the Arizona State University Stardust Center for Affordable Homes and the Family, using the knowledge of Navajo students and other interested entities.

It gave me great pleasure to see the talents of our students being used to create wonderful things as in the case of the home for Kee and Mary Augustine of Nageezi, New Mexico. Students from Arizona State University helped to design and build the home of the couple using the latest environmentally-sound technologies. I am writing this statement to remind each of us that as parents and leaders, it is our duty to assist our young people as they try to help the Navajo Nation.

So many times we tell our young people to go to college and then return to help our people. Many of them try, only to learn that they might not be given an opportunity to use their skills. As leaders, we need to offer our students and our college graduates an opportunity beyond words of encouragement. We need to do more than offer rhetoric in that regard and offer them opportunities.

I read a letter to the editor in the Navajo Times where there are complaints that our own resources – our Navajo graduates – are not being utilized to their fullest extent. I agree with that. There seems to be very few opportunities for our young people.

However, the message that I have heard from our college students and graduates themselves is that they have the capabilities and the desire to give back to our people. They are ready to take on these roles. It is our duty to help them in whatever regard we can.

In April of this year, my office had the pleasure of hosting students of the Cree Nation from Canada. As we educated them on the tenets of our government and society, what impressed them the most was that the top people of the Navajo Nation Legislative Branch were all our own Navajo people. They told us that within their nation, the top administrative positions are held by people who are not members of their nation. By attaining higher education, these young people were trying to take back such positions within their nations. They saw us as an inspiration for what they are trying to achieve.

For me, I personally find inspiration in what the students at ASU are doing. They are giving back to their community. They are finding creative ways to be involved, even though they are far from home. They are applying what they are learning at the university and integrating it with our Navajo ways for the most exceptional and unique results. Certainly they have garnered the attention of many people judging from the interest in yesterday’s dedication, and they have also proven an eagerness to contribute to the betterment of our society.

This is not the only Navajo-specific project that ASU design and architectural students are working on. They also partnered with University of New Mexico students to work with area high school students in May, and they have completed and presented conceptual designs for the Navajo Nation Capitol. When Tonya Yellowhair from ASU presented to the Council on the first day of the summer session about the Capitol Studio project, we were all extremely impressed with the students’ ideas and with their knowledge. To see and hear that our young children have such far-reaching ideas gave many of us an optimistic feeling for our future as a nation.

When we send our children to college, we tell them that we have belief in them. We should continue to have that belief as they graduate and as they are ready to apply their education toward the betterment of our people and nation. These students, the next generation of leaders, show the greatest promise because they believe they can be and should be of assistance to their people.

It is my belief that we are the masters of our own destiny. As individuals, we hold a power that can control the outcome of our desires. What we actually do, and how we fulfill our goals, is based on our capacity to learn and our eagerness to succeed. Our students want to succeed. More importantly, they want to help our nation to succeed.

As a nation, we the Navajo people can also control our destiny. Fulfilling that dream of self-sufficiency and protecting our sovereignty can be achieved by nurturing our young students to learn and grow. Young ladies and gentlemen have an immeasurable desire to improve their way of life among our great nation. It is our responsibility to nurture their talents and give them an opportunity.

For that reason, my office has made it a requirement of whichever firm we select to build a new Legislative Branch complex that the input of the American Indian Council of Architects and Engineers, which has chapters at ASU and UNM, will be used. We have seen the hard evidence of what Navajo students can actually design and build. We know they can help us to create a new complex where the legislative functions of our government can be carried out in the most befitting manner.

I would like to thank all the students, teachers, mentors, volunteers and each individual who was involved in the making of a very remarkable home for one elderly couple. Attending the dedication was one of the most exhilarating experiences I have had as the Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council because it showed the promise and capabilities of our own. Our children have the ability to make great things happen.


Contact: Karen Francis, Public Information Officer

Navajo Nation Council Office of the Speaker

(928) 871-7160


DATE: Tuesday, August 09, 2005


The Public Safety Committee of the Navajo Nation Council made significant advances on behalf of Indian Country at the Congressional level in the past few months, beginning with the passage of House FY 2006 Justice Appropriations Legislation, H.R. 2862.  The bill provides $38 million for a range of Indian Law Enforcement activities, which almost doubles the FY 2005 level of $19,733,000.

“Despite strong downward pressure on the federal budget, our efforts continue to yield great outcomes for Indian Country public safety funding in general and for the Navajo Nation in particular,” Hope MacDonald-LoneTree, Chairperson of the Public Safety Committee, said.

The bill also provides for additional funding for the Navajo Nation through a discretionary grant. H.R. 2862 contains a “soft earmark” for the Navajo Nation. The grant is to help improve the functioning of the criminal justice system with an emphasis on drugs, violent crimes and serious offenders.

The House Report states, “These funds are intended to meet the most pressing needs of tribes, including law enforcement hiring, equipment, and training, court improvement projects, and alcohol and substance abuse reduction programs. ”

The final bill as passed by both the Senate and the House includes an overall increase of 0.5 percent for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and an increase of almost 11 percent for Indian Country public safety above FY 2005 levels. While the increase for the BIA does not keep pace with the general rate of inflation (currently 3.5 percent), the increase for public safety is substantially more than President George Bush requested, reflecting the major lobbying efforts by the Committee.

The Committee has established excellent numbers for Indian Country public safety in both the Interior Appropriations bill and the Justice Appropriations bill. Now the focus is to defend and possibly enlarge the funding. 

In addition to its success with the H.R. 2862, the Public Safety Committee worked with other tribal leaders and members of Congress, including Senator Harry Reid, Senator Byron Dorgan and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, to push forward Indian Country policy recommendations to the 109 th Congress. The effort on the part of the Committee is to maintain public safety as a funding priority.

The recommendations came about as a result of the first ever Senate Democratic Native American Forum, which was attended by over 150 tribal leaders last fall. From the forum, five working groups were established, which provided input and recommendations regarding the five identified priorities. The working groups dealt with five priorities, including natural resources, health care, education, housing and economic development, and justice and law enforcement.

According to Chairperson LoneTree, Senate Democrats initiated the policy discussions because they wanted to hear directly from Indian Country about the issues of greatest concern to Native Americans in the United States.

LoneTree, who had attended the initial forum held by Democrats, was invited to participate in the work group. She provided key input in the recommendations regarding law enforcement and Homeland Security for Indian Country in the policy recommendations.

Among LoneTree's recommendations were:

1.) Congress should strengthen the tribal provision in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

2.) To improve the effectiveness of law enforcement services in Indian Country, Congress should provide funding to support a sufficient number of tribal police officers in Native American communities, ensure personnel are provided with adequate equipment for safety and communication, ensure law enforcement officials have access to important information, and sufficient funding should be provided to construct, repair, operate and maintain tribal detention facilities.

3.) Congress should recognize the sovereign state of Indian tribes by correcting the definitions in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to define Indian tribes as separate and distinct from local governments, and by authorizing the Department of Homeland Security to provide federal first responder funding directly to Indian tribes and encourage states to provide funding to any Indian tribes not receiving direct funding.

“The effort was a culmination of educating members of Congress on the horrendous situation we are facing here on the Navajo Nation in regards to law and order, as well as providing achievable strategy to build public safety,” LoneTree said.

“The Public Safety Committee conveyed to Congress that law and order are at risk and the continued decrease in funding directly affects the lives of our Navajo people and the safety of our officers,” she continued.

“We are thankful to the members of the United States Congress for their support of Navajo public safety and their efforts to help us build safer communities,” LoneTree concluded.


Attached photo: Chairperson LoneTree and Senator Clinton


Contact: Karen Francis, Public Information Officer

Navajo Nation Council Office of the Speaker

(928) 871-7160


DATE: Monday, August 8, 2005


Three receive award for role in banning of uranium mining on Navajo Nation

The New Mexico Environmental Law Center awarded Council delegate and Resources Committee Chairperson George Arthur (Burnham/Nenahnezad/San Juan) with its Karl Souder Water Protection Award during an awards ceremony on Sunday, August 7, 2005 in Santa Fe , N.M.

Arthur received the award for his crucial role in the banning of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation Council approved the Diné Natural Resources Protection Act sponsored by Arthur, which bans the mining of uranium, during its 2005 spring session in April.

Also receiving awards for the same purpose were Lynnea K. Smith of the Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining and Esther Yazzie-Lewis, the president of Southwest Research Center board. Ms. Yazzie-Lewis accepted the award on behalf of the late Harris Arthur. Presenting the award was Emily Souder, the 13-year old daughter of the late Karl Souder for whom the award is named.

Douglas Meiklejohn, the director of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center , said that the enactment of the Diné Natural Resources Act by the Council was one of the most significant developments in the state pertaining to protection of water and the environment.

Meiklejohn commended Arthur for having the dedication and perseverance to see that the law was passed, especially in the face of powerful opposition.

“He consistently told us that he would get this done, and he did,” Meiklejohn said.

In accepting the award, Arthur said, “I'm very honored and humbled to be in your presence, especially to be given recognition that is to be shared by many, not the least of which are my colleagues on the Resources Committee and the Navajo Nation Council.

“We feel it is wrong to threaten either an individual or a society so that one may gain for one's self. I believe in economic development and that there is a place for it. However, there is a choice to be made – whether we make a dollar or survive for generations to come. We decided it was more important to have generations and generations after us,” Arthur continued.

Speaking about the Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining, he said, “They stood up for what they believed in when strong forces were opposing them.”

Arthur thanked Eric Jantz from the New Mexico Environmental Law Center and Frank Seanez from the Navajo Nation Office of Legislative Counsel for providing guidance in the drafting of the legislation.

Also in attendance from the Navajo Nation Council at the awards ceremony were Resources Committee members Norman John II ( Twin Lakes ) and Harry Goldtooth.

Meiklejohn said that the center has been involved in the 10-year struggle to prevent uranium mining around the Navajo community of Crownpoint , N.M. , with the Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining and the Navajo Nation. Jantz, a lawyer with the center, was one of two agents that presented the Diné Natural Resources Act to the Council along with Arthur.

The other agent chosen by Arthur was then 21-year old Lynnea Smith, also one of the three recipients of the award. Meiklejohn noted that Smith has been involved in the effort to prevent uranium mining at Crownpoint since she was a junior in high school.

Smith acknowledged that the struggle to prevent uranium mining is ongoing. “We are still committed to fight on a daily basis. Just because you pass a piece of legislation does not mean the battle is over,” she said.

Esther Yazzie-Lewis paid tribute to Harris Arthur, the late brother of George Arthur, in accepting the award on his behalf.

“There are a lot of unsung heroes and I think Harris received this award in a very special way. I believe there is a time and a place for everything and time presented to us Harris Arthur. He stepped forward to tell us to be patient and to fight one more fight and he made it happen,” Yazzie-Lewis said.

Don Hancock, the recipient of the center's Griff Salisbury Environmental Protection Award, also acknowledged the tremendous job done by the Navajo Nation when he accepted his award.

“It takes many people to make the kind of accomplishment happen that the Diné have done. We have a lot of resources in this state that many people want to use or exploit,” Hancock said.

Hancock further remembered the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima , which happened on August 6, 1945 .

“You realize the central role that New Mexico has played in the world and will continue to play in the future,” he said.



Daniel J. Glenn, Associate Director

ASU Stardust Center for Affordable Homes and the Family

Phone:  (480) 727-5453. Mobile :  (480) 213-3332




Home Replaces Dilapidated Dwelling; Creates A Model For Future Affordable Housing

TEMPE , Ariz. (Aug. 11, 2005): An innovative new home designed by Navajo architecture students at Arizona State University to use 80 percent less energy than a conventional home will be turned over to Navajo Nation elders Mary and Kee Augustine in a special ceremony on August 11.

The new home replaces a dilapidated structure the Augustines had been living in on their allotted land in Nageezi , New Mexico . The project, initiated by Navajo students at the ASU College of Architecture and Environmental Design in collaboration with the ASU Stardust Center for Affordable Housing, the Navajo Housing Authority and Navajo FlexCrete, blends the Navajo culture with new technology.

The home is designed with 12-inch thick R35 block walls made of aerated flyash concrete block called Navajo FlexCrete as well as with a passive solar design for heating and cooling, and supplemental radiant floor heating. FlexCrete is a lighter version of traditional block that will help heat and cool the house without air conditioning or central heat.

The design incorporates Dine´ culture throughout, including a central courtyard designed to reflect the traditional Hooghan , a traditional shade arbor, Chahash'oh , that protects the south wall from the sun, and an east facing entry that welcomes the morning sun. The design honors the four elements of fire, water, earth and air through a central fireplace, a roof designed to collect rain water, the use of local materials, and a natural ventilation system.

“Letting us do this project was an act of faith by the Augustines because it was so difficult for them to see their house torn down, even if it was in such bad shape,” said Daniel Glenn , Associate Director for Design Services for the ASU Stardust Center . “We hope to use this home as the model to change the way housing is produced on the reservation. The intent is to create smart, affordable housing that protects the traditional culture at the same time it responds to the regional climate.”

A press conference at 11:30 a.m. will precede the official dedication of the home. Among those expected for the event are Lawrence Morgan, Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council, Dr. Peterson Zah, former President and Chairman of the Navajo Nation, members of the student design/build team, representatives from the Stardust Center , Navajo Housing Authority, Navajo FlexCrete, volunteers who built the home and community members.

The event will take place at the home, five miles south of the Nageezi Post Office Office off of Highway 550 (between Farmington and Cuba , New Mexico ) on County Road 7820.

Windows and doors were recycled from houses in Phoenix provided by Stardust Building Supplies and logs used for beams in the Hogan came from trees that had been thinned from Navajo forest land. Navajo FlexCrete is made from recycled waste flyash from power plants in Paige , Arizona .

The design/build team included seven students from the ASU College of Architecture and Environmental Design: Christopher Billey, Adrian Holiday , Alisa Lertique, Ernesto Fonseca, Matthew Green, Jason Croxton and Tanya Yellowhair, and one student, Peter Crispell, from the ASU Del Webb School of Construction.

Chris, Adrian, Tanya and Jason are all members of the Navajo Tribe.

Christopher Billey, a Stardust Center staff member, initiated the project and worked as the local coordinator for the project. Ernesto Fonseca, a native of Mexico , led the construction process and provided energy analysis for the project as a graduate student in Energy Performance and Climate Responsive Design at Arizona State University . He will be remotely monitoring the building's energy performance over the next year.

The Stardust Center

The Stardust Center for Affordable Homes and the Family is a new initiative by Arizona State University which seeks to increase the quantity and quality of affordable housing through innovative education, research and design efforts and through technical assistance to housing providers. The Center, led by nationally renowned affordable housing architect Michael Pyatok , seeks to promote housing that is affordable, dignified and environmentally and culturally responsive. As part of this initiative, the Center plans to engage in design/build efforts each year to create models in affordability, quality and sustainability.


Karen Francis Public Information Officer Office of the Speaker (928) 871-6384

Information from the director of the American Indian Journalist Institute Mr. Jack Marsh and director of the Scripps Howard Foundation.

Karen Francis, Public Information Officer, Office of the Speaker (928) 871-6384

From: AIJI list -- AMERICAN INDIAN JOURNALIST INSTITUTE Student List on behalf of Jack Marsh
Sent: Tue 8/2/2005 12:27 PM
Subject: Scripps Howard Foundation Semester in Washington Program

I'm looking for a student who - on short notice - would like to spend the fall semester in Washington working as a reporting intern for our Web-based wire service. Students' stories are picked up by papers across the country, and they may work as Washington correspondents for the campus paper or a hometown paper. We pay a $2,000 stipend for the semester and house students for free in furnished apartments near the National Zoo in Northwest Washington.

I'm seeking a student now because a student has withdrawn from the fall program on short notice. The program runs Sept. 12 to Dec. 16. Making things more complicated is that when the summer session ends next week, I am going on a long-planned vacation and will not have access to e-mail from Aug. 15 to Sept. 6. I am hoping to fill the slot by Aug. 12.

The program accepts junior and senior print journalism majors (no grad students or graduates). They should have completed a newspaper internship, but extensive experience working on the campus newspaper is also acceptable. Students who are interested - or who think they might be - are welcome to call or e-mail me with questions. Or they can download an application form from our Web site (it lists next year's program dates - which they can ignore). Because of the short time-frame, they can fax the form, a brief essay about what they would like to cover in Washington and up to five clips to me along with names and contact information for reference checks. I'll call references rather than asking them to write letters.

I hate to let a slot go to waste, so I hope one of you can help me find a good candidate for our program. Once classes get underway, I'll be back in touch about dates and deadlines for next year's programs. Thanks.

Jody Beck, director
Scripps Howard Foundation
Semester in Washington Program
1090 Vermont Ave. NW, #1000
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 408-2748
Fax: (202) 682-2143

Contact: Karen Francis, Public Information Officer

Navajo Nation Council Office of the Speaker

(928) 871-7160


DATE: Wednesday, August 3, 2005


The Transportation and Community Development Committee continues to certify the community-based land use plans for Chapters from across the Navajo Nation. The most recent certification occurred at the Indian Wells Chapter house on August 2, 2005 . The committee passed the Indian Wells land use plan by a vote of 6 in favor and none opposed. Willie Begay (Chilchinbeto/Kayenta) made the motion to consider the legislation and Sampson Begay (Low Mountain/Jeddito/Steamboat) made the second.

Indian Wells Council delegate Lee Jack, Sr. sponsored the legislation to the committee. His co-presenters included Chapter President LaVerne Benally, Chapter Vice President James Turquaoise, Chapter Secretary/Treasurer Mary Ann Begay and members of the community land-based planning committee.

The CLUP committee included community members Sadie C. Lister, Buddy Scott, Alfred Clark, Freddie E. Scott, Richard Begay, Jr., Kee Greymountain, Peterson Begay, Redwing Nez, Irene Thomas, Mary Ann Begay, Lee Jack, Sr., Tina Samm, Doretta Pringle and Ben Tsosie.

The CLUP committee was established in January 1999. It presented a draft plan for public review in December 2000. The plan was finalized in June 2001, according to the community-based land use plan.

When asked by committee member Johnny Naize (Tselani-Cottonwood/Nazlini) why the plan sat idle since 2001, Council delegate Jack said that the CLUP committee did not continue to meet after the plan was finalized. When the new Chapter administration took office in January, they began to move to attain first land use plan certification, and are now working on attaining governance-certification.

The vision statement for the community states: "The people of Indian Wells wish to create organization within the use of land by preserving our way of life, culture and traditional values, ensuring wise use of resources, and preserving the uniqueness of our community."

The plan further lists 15 goals with itemized objectives to further the vision of the Indian Wells Chapter community, including promoting and encouraging cultural and traditional values, promoting industry and businesses that are culturally appropriate, encouraging planned community-style housing, designing and preserving water resources and creating recreational facilities, to name a few.

Delegate Jack noted that most of the money from the Chapter government is spent on grazing issues with very little applied to economic development.

"The committee here would like to see more economic development," he said

One of the goals addressed in the plan is to provide educational facilities within the community and region.

Jack said that one of the major challenges in the community was the lack of facilities. Students must be bused out to neighboring schools.

Jack added that the building of an elementary school at the Chapter two years ago has allowed for students to stay in the area, rather than facing the options of long daily bus rides or attending boarding school.

"In the future we would like to build a junior high and a high school as well," Jack said noting that the biggest obstacle was lack of funding for capital improvements.

Chapter President Benally said that the Chapter officials are working vigorously to attain governance-certification with monthly meetings to work on action plans.

"We are working on our five management system. We have our timeframes outlined and we make sure we meet our goals," Benally said. "Daily contact between the Chapter's community services coordinator and the Chapter President made this happen."

Chapter Secretary/Treasurer Mary Ann Begay added that the Chapter officials do not only attend Chapter and planning meetings, but work throughout the week and on weekends to accomplish their identified goals.

“The $500 really helps Chapter officials to step up to the leadership role,” Begay said. Chapter officials normally make $250 per Chapter meeting, but a supplemental appropriation allows them to make $500 per Chapter meeting during the Fiscal Year 2005.

Alfred Clark, former Chapter President, said, “I think our job as a planning committee is to share our dream with everybody. Some people do not see hope. With a plan like this, we can begin to see things. I told the committe that when you talk to people, they have to see the excitement in you. Then they have to be able to see the dream too.”

The Chapter officials and delegate Jack commended community elder Sadie Lister for getting the CLUP committee back together and rallying support for getting the plan certified.

The Transportation and Community Development Committee certified the plan with an amendment from Naize that requires the Chapter to update the plan within one year and adds language that the plan is not intended to delineate Chapter boundaries.

Chairperson Mark Maryboy (Aneth/Mexican Water) commended the CLUP committee and Chapter officials for the presentation. “It shows that you put a lot of time and effort into this document,” Maryboy said.

Following the presentation of the land use plan certification, the people of Indian Wells presented framed certificates of appreciation to the Committee members.

The Transportation and Community Development is next scheduled to consider the land use plans for Huerfano Chapter, San Juan Chapter and Nenahnezad Chapter on Friday, August 5. At the Huerfano Chapter house starting at 10 a.m. , delegate Danny Simpson is sponsoring the legislation to certify Huerfano's land use plan and delegate George Arthur is sponsoring the San Juan Chapter's plan. In the afternoon, the committee will head to Nenahnezad for that community-based land use certification, also sponsored by Arthur.

To date, 21 out of 110 Chapters have attained certification for their community-based land use plans.


Contact: Karen Francis, Public Information Officer

Navajo Nation Council Office of the Speaker

(928) 871-7160


DATE: Wednesday, August 3, 2005


The Tohatchi Chapter and other Navajo Nation officials welcomed Congressman Tom Udall for a one-hour town hall meeting on Wednesday, August 3, 2005 .

Peterson Yazzie, Council delegate for Tohatchi and Naschitti, organized the meeting for Chapters from district 14 of the Navajo Nation to express the issues and needs of their community members. District 14 includes Tohatchi, Naschitti, Mexican Springs, Twin Lakes and Coyote Canyon Chapters.

Tohatchi Chapter President Herman Morris welcomed the congressman to the Chapter saying, “I'm glad you came. You've been here before. That shows you care for the Navajo people.”

He further said, “In Tohatchi, we are a growing community. The district team has five chapters that each look to Tohatchi for services.”

Morris spoke about the need for capital improvements to service the five communities.

Yazzie said that he wanted for the Navajo constituents from New Mexico to establish a good rapport with the congressman, similar to the good relationship that Arizona Navajo residents have with Congressman Rick Renzi.

Udall said that he often works with Renzi and Congressman Jim Matheson from Utah in pushing forth issues that concern the Navajo Nation.

“We all work together,” Udall said. “It doesn't matter that two out of three of us are Democrats. We put that aside when we work for the Navajo Nation.”

Yazzie said that he hoped to work with Calvert Curley from Udall's Gallup office so that the congressman will be able to visit other Navajo communities for similar town hall meetings.

Mel R. Begay, Council delegate for Coyote Canyon and Mexican Springs, agreed with Yazzie saying, “We need to establish some type of dialogue and way to communicate together from our end to Washington D.C. ”

Begay asked for support from Udall in advocating for the paving of the Bureau of Indian Affairs road from Crystal , N.M. to Mexican Springs.

‘There are challenges in wet weather,” he said. “Roads become impassable, which affects our children. With a paved road, they would be able to attend school regularly, obtain an education and become contributing members of society.”

Twin Lakes delegate Norman John II asked Udall to support the San Juan River Basin Water Settlement, which needs to be passed by the U.S. Congress. He also expressed the concerns that many constituents have with uranium mining.

Udall said that he considered in-situ mining, which is being proposed around the Crownpoint, N.M. area, to be a very dangerous technology.

“It has never worked,” Udall said adding that problems come up with water quality near areas where such mining has taken place.

Udall said, “You now have jurisdiction over mining. You as Council delegates have said that mining cannot be done. You may have to take them to court on that issue and I hope your attorney general is monitoring that. There are also many groups from outside Navajo Nation boundaries that will be willing to help.”

In response to concerns brought up by delegate Yazzie with the Medicaid program, Udall said that he was working with President Bush and members of Congress so there would be no budget cuts for Medicaid for Fiscal Year 2006. He said he is promoting a commission to look into the Medicaid issue and make recommendations before any cuts are enacted.

Anselm Roanhorse, director of Division of Health, also presented to Udall on the need for the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to be re-authorized and funded.

The Navajo Nation Division of Health, Division of Social Services and Judicial Branch each submitted position papers to Udall for further understanding of the issues that the Navajo Nation faces. Tohatchi Vice President Edwyn Begay delivered resolutions from the district agency.

Delegate Begay said, “We as the leaders of the Navajo Nation have the opportunity to establish dialogue with Congressman Udall. I think we need to establish that rapport where we will be able to continue to get feedback on what position we're in with the federal government.”

Before Udall left the chapter house to attend a meeting with Behavioral Health Services, Leroy Nelson sang him a Blessing Way song for safe travel.


Contact: Karen Francis, Public Information Officer

Navajo Nation Council Office of the Speaker

(928) 871-7160


DATE: Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Statement by the Ethics and Rules Office:

After evaluating the facts and applying the standards established in the Ethics Laws, the Ethics and Rules Office, in consultation with the Office of Legislative Counsel, concluded the evidence did not meet the threshold of establishing a Prima Facie case of ethical violations by the President of the Navajo Nation.

Therefore, the Office of Ethics and Rules and the Law Firm of Fredericks, Pelcyger & Hester, LLC decided not to prosecute the case before the Ethics and Rules Committee. Based upon prosecutorial discretion delegated to the Ethics and Rules Office under the Ethics in Government Law this matter is closed.


Contact: Karen Francis, Public Information Officer

Navajo Nation Council Office of the Speaker

(928) 871-7160


DATE: Wednesday, July 27, 2005


The Ethics and Rules Office has resolved the claims of ethics impropriety filed against President Joe Shirley, Jr., regarding the hiring of his wife Vikki Shirley within the Office of the President. The Ethics and Rules Office, with its own legal counsel, has settled the matter with the Office of the President; however, some members of the Ethics and Rules Committee are unhappy with the manner in which the complaint was handled.

The decision to settle this matter was made after an independent law firm – Fredericks, Pelcyger & Hester, LLC – hired by the Ethics and Rules Office to investigate the complaint, issued a report that it would not proceed with formal charges regarding the nepotism allegations.

The Ethics In Government Law states that the Ethics and Rules Office has the authority to investigate and has the discretion to bring charges regarding ethics violations. The Ethics and Rules Committee is required by law to sit as a hearing body to determine if a violation or violations occurred only if charges are filed by the Office. In this case, no charges were filed, therefore the Committee will not hear the case.

“The Ethics and Rules Committee understands the law. We only hear those cases that are brought before us. In this case, the Ethics and Rules Office made the decision to negotiate with the President,” Committee Chairperson Lorenzo Bates (Upper Fruitland) said.

“Though the Ethics and Rules Office did not see the need to further pursue this case, I remind all elected officials that no one is above the law,” Bates continued. “Ethics law provides that public officials are held to very high standards.”

The Ethics and Rules Committee is procedurally bound by the requirements of the law. The Committee does not have the authority to demand, direct or otherwise order that a complaint be filed. However, the Committee believes that the public has a right to know the outcome of all investigations, and that if a case involves the integrity of elected officials, such a case should be properly pursued.

“The public was denied the opportunity to hear the facts of this case and to have the case heard by an impartial body – the Ethics and Rules Committee. We would have liked to hear the case so that all the facts could be brought to light,” Ethics and Rules Committee Vice Chairperson Francis Redhouse (Teecnospos) said.

“This case has been resolved administratively and the Navajo Nation can now begin to concentrate on more important matters with no further delays because of this case,” Committee member Roscoe Smith (Crystal/Red Lake/Sawmill) said.

Charges of nepotism surfaced after the wife of President Joe Shirley - Vikki Shirley – and the wife of Vice President Frank Dayish, Jr. – Virginia Dayish – were hired within the Office of the President and the Vice President. The Government Services Committee, which has oversight over the Executive Branch, intervened and subpoenaed documents relating to the charges. Government Services Committee Chairperson Ervin Keeswood (Hogback) then sent the case to the Ethics and Rules Office for further investigation.

President Shirley issued a statement on the importance of Navajo ethics in government law dated July 27, 2005 , in which he admits a mistake was made.

“I regret that the mistake was made, and I pledge to you that my Administration fully supports and complies with the law,” he stated in the statement to the Ethics and Rules Committee.

The settlement does not settle any other claims.

In a statement released on behalf of the Ethics and Rules Committee, the committee states, “The Ethics and Rules Committee takes its responsibility very seriously. Public officials are held to a very high standard of conduct. Public officials must abide by all laws respecting ethics and accountability to the Navajo public. We, as elected officials, take an oath to uphold the law and to respect the law. The improprieties alleged against the President are serious and we believe, and the public, as well has every right to believe, that he should be held accountable for any wrongdoing.”


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Dr. Scott Bender, veterinarian (928) 674-2069 or (928) 871-6615 Glenda Davis, Navajo Veterinary & Livestock, (928) 871-6615 Philene Herrera, Navajo Health Education, (928) 871-6258

Navajo Nation confirms first sign of West Nile virus; reminds the public to exercise prevention measures

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Navajo Nation West Nile virus team is once again reminding the public to exercise caution and prevention, as there’s now signs of the West Nile virus on the Navajo Nation.
Navajo Nation veterinarian, Scott Bender, said recent trappings of mosquitoes at several sites across the reservation uncovered four positive mosquito pools. “We received reports back from the lab that four mosquito pools have been positive,” said Dr. Bender. “This means that there’s West Nile [virus] activity in these areas and this is the first sign this summer of the West Nile virus on the Navajo Nation.”
Dr. Bender said the communities are in Window Rock, Chinle, and Ganado, Ariz. “This doesn’t mean West Nile is confined to these areas,” he said. Additionally, he said there’s one positive horse case. “The horse is also the first one this year and was confirmed by the lab on Friday.”
He said the first pool was actually confirmed about two weeks ago. “Two weeks after a horse case, technically speaking,” he said, “a human case is often observed” “The monsoon is starting and with the rains we don’t want further complications,” said Dr. Bender.
“Before the West Nile season begins make sure all horses are vaccinated and receive their booster shoots,” he said. “And exercise prevention measures.”
You can Fight the Bite by:
- Using mosquito repellents and wearing long pants and shirts to prevent mosquito bites
- Clean the homesites of any garbage or material that could hold water and allow mosquitoes to breed. Do not allow water to stand stagnate in old tires, flowerpots, trash containers, swimming pools, birdbaths, pet bowls, etc.
- Keep windows and doors closed if not screened. If you leave your house doors or windows open, make sure they have screens that fit tightly and have no holes.
- Avoid activities during evening and night to prevent exposure.
- Protect the children and elderly that may need extra protection from mosquitoes
- West Nile Vaccinations and booster shot for the horses every year.
Dr. Bender also urges the public to “work with your Chapter to eliminate mosquito breeding sites if any are in the area. “West Nile is with us, and will be a problem every summer,” he said.
In humans, West Nile virus can cause flu-like symptoms such as fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches,” said Navajo Nation Epidemiologist Dr. Ben Muneta. “In most cases, people who are infected never become sick or have only very mild symptoms for a few days. However, the virus can, in rare cases, cause encephalitis and death. If someone feels as if they have the flu and are feeling sick, they should see their physician or health-care provider.”
Most mosquitoes do not carry the virus and most people bitten by a mosquito are not exposed to the virus. Less than one out of 150 people who are bitten by an infected mosquito get severely ill, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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George Joe (
Senior Public Information Officer
Navajo Division of Health
(928) 871-6350/6525
FAX (928) 871-6255
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