Clarification: Chapters must first get governance-certified, then the Secretary of Interior must approve the regulations for business site leases and home site leases. The the Economic Development Committee and Resources Committees must promulgate regulations, and in the end the Nation is still a party to the leases.

Karen Francis
Public Information Officer
Office of the Speaker
(928) 871-7160
karenfrancis@navajo.org


PRESS RELEASE----Crownpoint Institute of Technology

19 September 2005

Contact: James M. Tutt, President, (505)-786-4102

In a decision handed down today, the District Court for the District of New Mexico ruled in favor of plaintiff Crownpoint Institute of Technology (CIT) in Crownpoint, New Mexico, ending CIT’s six-year struggle to receive contract support monies from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) for CIT’s adult vocational training programs.

Since 2001, the BIA has given CIT appropriations designated by the U.S. Congress to directly operate the Adult Vocational Education program. However, CIT’s complaint contended that the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDA) required the BIA to add contract support funds for CIT to administer this program for its students. Today’s decision affirms that the Court agrees with CIT.

The Court found that the pro-tribal rights ISDA law does require BIA to enter into self-determination contracts with tribal organizations that properly request contracts for contractible programs and to support these contracts with contract support dollars. One focus of CIT’s legal complaint was that for several years the BIA Gallup Office refused to accept Tribal Code or resolutions that duly authorized CIT to contract the adult education program. The BIA had contended that in order for tribal-self determination contracting to apply, the BIA must already be operating the program. The Court found that CIT’s adult vocational training program is a BIA program even if BIA personnel were not running the training programs. The Court found the “basic idea behind the ISDA is to promote tribal autonomy and self-determination by permitting tribes to operate programs previously operated by the federal government, but to ensure that they do not suffer a reduction in funding for those programs simply because they assume direct operations of them.”

The Court further rejected Defendant BIA’s contention that only programs run by BIA are contractible by noting that such a requirement “would undermine the purpose of self-determination because tribes would not be able to set their own agendas and instead would be bound to a plan determined by federal bureaucracy. The legislative history favors an interpretation of the ISDA that facilitates tribes progressing into modernity without regard to what programs BIA previously operated.” The Court’s decision also found that the BIA cannot use the tribal resolution process requirement as an opportunity to establish further obstacles for tribes to overcome in order to contract federal government programs. The decision included the finding that BIA had a duty to assist CIT, and reaffirmed that tribal governing bodies can determine how they authorize their own organizations to enter into contracts for services with the federal government. In its summary findings, the Court pointed out that “BIA has not alleged that CIT ever misappropriated funds or ever failed to live up to the requirements of prior financial assistance agreements.”

CIT spokespersons stated that the decision is a victory for Indian tribal self-determination and a setback for arbitrary federal bureaucratic encumbrances and obfuscations. This decision will not affect any other tribal program nor redirect any funding. The decision will result in additional money for Navajo Nation education by enabling CIT to receive adequate additional funds to support student vocational programs. CIT falls under a category of special programs appropriated by the U.S. Congress, similar but not identical to tribal colleges and vocational schools. Appropriated monies for these programs are statutorily separate and apart from, and in addition to appropriations for any other tribal benefits.

This case was full of technical complexities and contained thirty-two conclusions of law in CIT’s favor in its decision today. Upon learning of the favorable decision this morning, CIT President James Tutt said, “We were right all along and it is about time that Bureau of Indian Affairs got their act right to help and assist Indian Tribes in self-determination effort and thank God, this is a major court decision for Indian people in United States.”

Navajo Nation Higher Education Subcommittee Chairman Wallace Charley (Shiprock) testified during the trial on behalf of the Nation’s support of CIT’s services to Navajo students. Charley is the Vice Chairman of the Navajo Nation Council’s Education Committee.

At hearing the decision, Mr. Charley had this response: “It’s unfortunate that the Bureau continues to categorize itself as public administration disaster that makes radical changes in the way it treats Dine’ Nation and administers Indian programs. It’s a question of how long and how often the Indian nations has to correct the Bureau each time there is a miscarriage of trust responsibility. We shouldn’t be going through courts to settle these types of minor issues.”

###


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 22, 2005

NAVAJO NATION TO BE HONORED FOR URANIUM PROHIBITION, PRESIDENT SHIRLEY TO RECEIVE ‘NUCLEAR-FREE FUTURE AWARD’

Diné Natural Resources Protection Act of 2005 receives international recognition

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – A week after Navajo President Joe Shirley, Jr., was in Washington, D.C., to seek Congressional support of Navajo sovereignty and respect for its uranium prohibition law, the Navajo Nation is being recognized internationally for its strong position against new uranium development within its borders.

On Saturday, President Shirley will receive the Nuclear-Free Future Award in Oslo, Norway, on behalf of the Navajo Nation and Navajo Nation Council, which passed the Diné Natural Resources Protection Act of 2005 on April 19. Accompanying the President will be First Lady Vikki Shirley.

The award is being presented by the Munich-based Franz Moll Foundation and the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

“It is a great honor to have Navajo Nation sovereignty recognized in this way by this prestigious international body,” President Shirley said. “The most important role of government is the protection of the health and safety of its citizens. This important law is a demonstration of the best democracy is able to achieve. It came about when our people cried out to be protected from the deadly legacy of uranium mining. Working together cooperatively, our Navajo Nation government responded appropriately and forcefully.”

Each year since 1998, the Nuclear-Free Future Award, considered the world’s most prestigious anti-nuclear prize, has honored visionaries and architects of a nuclear-free world. This year the award ceremony, which travels the globe, will be hosted by the Norwegian section of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War at the Nobel Institute in Oslo.

Among the first to congratulate President Shirley and those who worked with him to see the Diné Natural Resources Protection Act passed was actor Robert Redford.

“I greatly admire your passion, your sense of justice, your perseverance, and always, your courage,” Mr. Redford wrote in a letter delivered to the President last week. “To have passed the first tribal law of its kind to never again allow uranium mining and processing on the Navajo Nation is a profoundly important step toward not only addressing the terrible and deadly legacy of the past, but also the future health, safety, economic vitality and natural world of your people.”

Three others will be honored with a 2005 Nuclear-Free Future Award as well. They are Hilda Lini from Vanutu, considered the First Lady of the movement for a nuclear-free Pacific, Preben Maegaard, the Danish pioneer of wind energy, and Mathilde Halla, an Austrian activist.

The “Resistance” and “Solutions” awards are each endowed with a prize of $10,000. Recipients of the “Lifetime Achievement” and “Special Recognition” awards receive a contemporary work of art, donated this year by Ulrike Arnold and Tobias Wittenborn.

Despite the Navajo Nation’s five-month-old law, two companies – Hydro Resources, Inc., and Strathmore Minerals, Inc. – are currently seeking permits from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the State of New Mexico to develop uranium through in situ leaching – ISL – in the Crownpoint and Church Rock, N.M., areas.

This is a process that injects carbonated water into the ground where uranium is found to separate it from its host and forces the mixture to the surface. It has been referred to as creating a “toxic soup” that purposely contaminates the water in order to get to the uranium.

“We don’t want to have any more mining of uranium,” President Shirley has said. “Our elderly, our children continue to die because of it. There are no answers to the cancers it causes.”

# # #

ADDITIONAL SOURCE
www.nuclear-free.com/english/frames7.htm

CONTACT
George Hardeen, Communications Director
Office of the President and Vice President The Navajo Nation
Ofc: 928-871-7917
Cell: 928-309-8532
georgehardeen@opvp.org


Contact:  Sean Johnson (505-649-8136)

From Broadcasting in the Stands to Broadcasting to the Nation
NMSU Navajo Student does Aggies’ play-by-play in Native Language

 
   Las Cruces, N.M. – Cuyler Frank used to entertain his college friends by doing mock play-by-play during home football games at New Mexico State’s Aggie Memorial Stadium.
   On Friday, he will get his chance to do the real thing in his native language when NMSU hosts the University of California.
   Cuyler is a native of Newcomb, N. M., 30 miles south of Shiprock, on the Navajo Nation.
   He will team up with Lanell Pahe of Crownpoint, N.M., to bring all the flavor of Aggie football, NMSU and southern New Mexico ? not only to people who live on the Navajo Nation, but to Navajos all over the country.
  “We are proud of the students who are taking the initiative to help us expand our ability to reach every citizen – not only with football, but also with other important messages,” said NMSU President Michael Martin. “Their willingness to tackle this challenge and be part of the expanding NMSU Aggie Planet is indicative of the importance we place on reaching all communities.”
   The broadcast will be available on the NMSU Web site at www.nmsu.edu.  Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m.
   “I want to do the games in Navajo because I want share some of the experiences of New Mexico State students with the Navajo Nation,”  Frank said.  “It gives us a chance to share with our people what is going on here and what we are accomplishing as Navajos.  We can communicate to them that you can succeed at New Mexico State.”
   The Navajo Nation spreads across portions of Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. With its headquarters in Window Rock, Ariz., the Nation is home to more than 250,000 people.  
   While several stations already broadcast high school games in Navajo and one station has actually broadcast the Super Bowl in Navajo, Friday will be the first time that an NMSU football game has been broadcast in that language.
   Frank said it’s a way to communicate the excitement that surrounds college football and NMSU to those who live in the Nation.
   “It’s different from being at a high school game,” he said. “You’ve got 20,000 people in the stands and all the activities that go along with it are part of being at New Mexico State.”
   It also gives NMSU’s Navajo community a new and exciting way to communicate to the people back home.
   “We don’t hear much sports broadcasting in Navajo,” Pahe said.  “There is nothing like it.  Most of the elders don’t speak English very well.  It gives them a new opportunity to see what is going on outside the Nation.”
   Jamie Joe, a Navajo and a native of Farmington, remembered Frank’s antics in the crowd and agreed this is a good step.
   “He would just start talking about what was happening on the field. We’d get the crowd going, yelling out Navajo words even though they didn’t know what they were saying,” Joe said.
   Shandeen Curtis is a student athletic trainer with the football team and a Navajo from Kirtland, New Mexico.  She sees the broadcast as an opportunity not only for people who enjoy listening to the game but also to bring new fans to a burgeoning program.
   “We have a great sports program and we are building something special here.  If people listen, we can develop a following and they can see a program that is ready to take off.  If young people listen to the broadcast, it could give them something to aspire to.  It might open the door for them to come to New Mexico State and then bring back what they learn.”
    But there are challenges in broadcasting a football game in the Navajo language.
   “The Navajo language is very different,” Joe said.  “There is no word for first down.  It’s hard to describe it.”
   “It takes nearly twice as long to say something in Navajo as it does in English,” Frank said. “I’ve just got to concentrate on the basics.”
      In discussing challenges, the Navajo students also talked about being first-time college students.
   “My challenges were the same as other first-time students,” Pahe said.  “It was my first time away from home and I didn’t really know anybody. I’ve grown to love this place.  People here are very friendly and made me feel very welcome. I’ve used the Indian Resource Center on campus and I’m trying to take advantage of the scholarship programs.”
    “I feel comfortable here,” Frank said. “It’s my home state. I spent all my life around my people, but here it is very diverse. Everyone is easy to talk to. I am accepted here.  When I first came down here I was homesick, but interacting in class and being part of the American Indian Program on campus was important. Their social events on campus really helped.”
   “There was some adjustment to make,” Curtis said. “I come from a small town where our culture is mostly Navajo. Here in Las Cruces, the culture is mostly Hispanic, but I felt at home right away.”
    NMSU’s reputation for being a friendly campus is, in fact, one of the things that drew Curtis to the university.  
   “I looked at other schools like NAU (Northern Arizona) and UNM ( University of New Mexico), but I chose Las Cruces and NMSU because I had heard some good things about the people and the programs. What attracted me the most was the small town atmosphere, a college community. It was easier for me to adjust.”
   “I came here for the athletic training education program,” Curtis said.  “I’ve always been involved in athletics and this is something I always wanted to do.
   “(The Nation) has a lot of great athletes and some of them don’t know where to go or how to make it to the next level,” Curtis said.  “I think if we expose them to New Mexico State athletics, it could lead them to coming to NMSU to get an education, maybe earn a scholarship.”
   For these NMSU students, the goals after graduation are the same.
   “I want to start an engineering or consulting firm and I want to start my business in the Navajo Nation,” Frank said.  “I want to give back to my people and be able to provide jobs for people who need them.”
   “This school has so much potential,” Joe said.  “The research that goes on here is great and it could go back to the Nation and really help people.”
   “I would like to go on to get my graduate degree. I want to get involved with a program called Indigenous People Enterprise,” Pahe said.  “It’s a company that does a lot of pro bono and charity work.  It brings in government grants to help people.”
  But for now he will be concentrating on Friday night’s broadcast.
   “(It’s exciting) to be  broadcasting live in your native language, “ he said. “They will hear it back home, and the folks will know what we are accomplishing here.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 20, 2005

CLINTON JIM ELECTED PRESIDENT OF DINÉ COLLEGE BOARD OF REGENTS

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Clinton Jim, a staff assistant in the Office of the President and Vice President, has been elected President of the Diné College Board of Regents.

“Our culture and tradition are the foundation of Diné College and make it function,” Mr. Jim said Monday. “It’s our gateway to make sense of our Western World.”

Mr. Jim, who has been a member of the Board of Regents since 2001, was elected President on Saturday. Evelyn Meadows, representing the Chinle Agency, was elected Vice President.

Other Regents include former Acting Board President Dr. Bernadette Todacheene of Shiprock, Laurence Gishey of Ft. Defiance, Leonard Chee representing the Navajo Nation Council Education Committee, Leland Leonard representing the Department of Diné Education, and student representative Valene Hatathli, president of the Associated Students of Diné College. The seat representing Tuba City and the Western Agency is vacant.

Diné College was established in 1968 as the first Native American-controlled college in the United States. The college opened its doors 100 years after formal education was first imposed on the Navajo people.

>From its inception, a distinguishing feature of the college has been
>its
Diné Educational Philosophy and mission, which are grounded in Navajo cultural traditions.

The idea for an institution of higher education for the Navajo people was first conceived in 1957 after the Navajo Nation established a scholarship fund to assist tribal members who had entered colleges and universities.

The initial results were discouraging: Navajos dropped out of college at a much higher rate than did non-Indians. In 1959, the Education Committee of the Navajo Tribal Council began to consider the establishment of a junior college, recognizing that colleges and universities in the region made little provision for cultural differences between Navajos and non-Indians.

In addition, they felt it was important to establish an institution that would teach Navajo language and culture in order to ensure their continuance and to stem the dilution by Western culture of the Navajo belief system and way of life.

In 1968, the Navajo Tribal Council endorsed recommendations to create an interim Board of Regents whose membership was exclusively Navajo. The Board selected Robert Roessel as the first President of Navajo Community College.
A permanent Board was constituted in November 1968.

The new College opened classes in January 1969 in a Bureau of Indian Affairs facility at Many Farms, Ariz. The College shared this facility with the high school at Many Farms for the next three and one-half years. The Navajo Office of Economic Opportunity funded the initial three years of College operations with additional support from the Navajo Nation and private foundations.

In July 1969, Ned Hatathli became the first Navajo President of the College.
Soon thereafter, the Board selected the Tsaile-Wheatfields area as the permanent site for the College.

Under P.L. 92-189, federal funding was obtained for basic operational costs.
Construction began on the new Tsaile campus in 1971. Classes began at the new Tsaile campus in October 1973. In 1978, the College began classes at a branch campus at Shiprock, N.M.

In August 2003, Ferlin Clark of Crystal, N.M., a former academic advisor, program director, and vice president at the College, was selected as interim president. He was selected as President in July 2004.

Recent accomplishments have included 21-year funding from the Navajo Nation at $4.2 million annually starting in FY05, an increase in funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs at an additional $800,000 in FY05.

In April 2005, a focused evaluation visit took place in academic assessment, strategic planning, human resources, and financial policies and procedures.
While noting progress that had been made in each area, the evaluation team recommended that the College's next comprehensive evaluation be moved from AY 2009 to AY 2008 in order to prod greater efficiencies in the focus areas as well as governance and organizational communication.

# # #

ADDITIONAL SOURCES
Clinton Jim, Office of the President and Vice President, 928-872-7000 Board of Regents web page: www.dinecollege.edu/aboutdc/board.php
<http://www.dinecollege.edu/aboutdc/board.php>
Diné College web page: www.dinecollege.edu/ <http://www.dinecollege.edu/>

CONTACT
George Hardeen, Communications Director
Office of the President and Vice President The Navajo Nation
928-871-7917 928-309-8532
georgehardeen@opvp.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 20, 2005

EDWARD LOCKETT, JR., CONFIRMED AS FIRST DIRECTOR OF NAVAJO NATION GAMING REGULATORY OFFICE

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – The Navajo Nation Council today confirmed Navajo President Joe Shirley, Jr.’s, selection of Edward Lockett, Jr., as the first executive director of the Navajo Gaming Regulatory Office.

The Council voted overwhelmingly 69 to 4 in support of Mr. Lockett on a motion by Lawrence Platero of To’hajiilee, chairman of the Economic Development Committee, and seconded by Wallace Charley of Shiprock.

“He has my 100 percent support and, with that, I hope he has yours, too,” President Shirley told the Council. “He was ranked as the top person to get to the position.”

Mr. Lockett, , 46, who is currently employed as executive director of the Ak-Chin Tribal Gaming Agency in Maricopa, Ariz., now expects to begin work for the Navajo Nation within three weeks. He said he was very excited about being confirmed.

“I am committed to truth, honesty, strong moral character and integrity,” he told the Council. “When one speaks of the Navajo Nation, it will be spoken with integrity.”

The President told the Council Mr. Lockett brings a considerable amount of integrity, credibility, knowledge and he is well-known in the gaming industry. He said Mr. Lockett started at the ground level of the gaming industry, worked as a gaming inspector and internal compliance officer and has risen to the top level of management as a regulatory gaming administrator.

President Shirley said he appreciates the Council’s quick action to confirm Mr. Lockett. He said the Nation can now proceed with approving its gaming regulations, establishing personnel policies and procedures for the office, select sites for casinos, and develop and implement a revenue sharing formula between the Nation and host chapters.

“We produced a lot of momentum today,” he said. “If we maintain this momentum, by July or August of 2006 we should begin to realize new gaming revenues.”

Mr. Lockett, who holds a bachelor of science degree in justice studies from Grand Canyon University, said he expects to have the Navajo Gaming Regulatory Office operating within 30-to-45 days from when he begins. He said accepting the position is the realization of a personal dream to work for the Navajo Nation.

He has been in the gaming industry for more than 12 years. Under his leadership, the Ak-Chin Tribal Gaming Agency enjoys a flawless record with the State of Arizona and the National Indian Gaming Commission. He has also worked at the Hon Dah Casino for the White Mountain Apache Tribe.


# # #

CONTACT
George Hardeen, Communications Director
Office of the President and Vice President The Navajo Nation
Ofc: 928-871-7917
Cell: 928-309-8532
georgehardeen@opvp.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 20, 2005

 

NAVAJO NATION’S TOP LEADERS PROCLAIM APPRECIATION FOR LAW CHANGES TO EXEMPT AZEÉ USE, POSSESSION FROM PROSECUTION


CHINLE, Ariz. – The three top leaders of the Navajo Nation government came together here Sunday to proclaim appreciation for changes in Navajo law that exempted the possession and transport of azeé for ceremonial use – referred to in English as peyote – from criminal prosecution.

Following a previous day and night of ceremony within three teepees and one hogan, Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., Navajo Nation Council Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan and Navajo Supreme Court Justice Herb Yazzie joined an estimated 250 participants for the signing of a proclamation to pay tribute to those Navajos who were prosecuted for their ceremonial use of azeé in religious practice.

“The proclamation was a long time in coming,” President Shirley said. “The legislation that was put in place giving birth to Azeé Bee Nahagha of the Diné Nation is something to be celebrated.”

The proclamation states: “We are humbled by the sad legacy of fear and discrimination imposed upon our people in years past and we pledge that we will not allow such government actions in the future.”

On July 22, the Navajo Nation Council amended Title 17 of its criminal code to exempt the use of azeé in religious ceremonies. In doing so, the Navajo government gave assurance and comfort to the Diné that it acknowledged the proper regard the Navajo people have for the ceremonial use of this medicine.

Many decades earlier, the Navajo Nation enacted laws to prohibit of the use of azeé by members of the Native American Church. It enforced the law through impoundments and destruction of this medicine and other sacred ceremonial objects.

The proclamation states: “The disruption of ceremonies and the arrest and prosecution of the Diné caused great discord within our nation. These actions left a legacy of fear and intimidation. The ancient teaching that we must do what is necessary to maintain and restore harmony tells us that we must confront this legacy.”

“We’re so happy,” said David Clark, president of Azeé Bee Nahagha of the Diné Nation. “This is a historic moment that makes us feel good and proud of our leaders.”

Mr. Clark said that in the 1930s, Navajo police raided Native American Church meetings in the middle of ceremonies and arrested Navajos for possessing and using azeé.

“A lot of people were taken to jail, young and old, even babies,” he said. “We needed some kind of forgiveness from the government and the police for the abuse that was done by past administrations. The police destroyed peyote and sacred instruments because the government wanted to stop the use of peyote.”

Mr. Clark described the proclamation signing on Sunday as “very emotional” to many people.

“The message to everyone is that it will never be done again,” he said of the persecution for Native religious belief. “That was all that was needed, for our leaders to sign the proclamation so that the healing process begins.”

# # #

HI RES PHOTOS AVAILABLE
PROCLAMATION ATTACHED

ADDITIONAL SOURCES
David Clark 928-306-3327
Steven Benally 928-283-1200
Thelma Rockwell 435-651-3527
Leo Toadlena 928-724-3664

CONTACT
George Hardeen, Communications Director
Office of the President and Vice President The Navajo Nation
Ofc: 928-871-7917
Cell: 928-309-8532
georgehardeen@opvp.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 18, 2005

 

NAVAJO NATION PRESIDENT JOE SHIRLEY, JR., RECEIVES ASSURANCES FROM CAPITOL HILL TO RESPECT NAVAJO SOVEREIGNTY

Delegation visits Congressmen, Senators, staff about new uranium threat


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Navajo Nation delivered an unmistakable message to Capitol Hill last week that it expects its sovereign right to make laws and live by them to be respected, and that it will tolerate no further uranium mining or processing within its boundaries.

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., led a delegation of three teams that included Navajo Nation Council Delegate Alice W. Benally and representatives from the Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining and the Southwest Research and Information Center of Albuquerque. They received positive responses from the 27 offices of Congressmen and Senators they visited.

At each meeting, the President told representatives and their staff that the Navajo Nation had passed the Diné Natural Resources Protection Act in April.
The law prohibits the further mining and processing of uranium anywhere within the Navajo Nation. As a sovereign nation within a nation, he asked that the law be acknowledged and respected.

“The Navajo Nation passed this law to protect the health and safety of its people and the quality of its environment,” the President said. “We want to protect our resources, our water, and our cultural integrity. But they’re trying to skirt Navajo Nation law and run around what Navajo has done.”

Two companies – Hydro Resources, Inc., and Strathmore Minerals, Inc. – are seeking permits from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and State of New Mexico to develop uranium through in situ leaching – ISL – in the Crownpoint and Church Rock, N.M., areas.

This is a process that injects carbonated water into the ground where uranium is found to separate the uranium from its host rock and forces the mixture to the surface. It has been referred to as creating a “toxic soup” and purposely contaminating the water in order to get to the uranium.

“We don’t want to have any more mining of uranium,” the President said. “Our elderly, our children continue to die because of it. There are no answers to the cancer it causes.”

At each meeting, the President asked the congressmen and senators for their support of Navajo sovereignty, and to ask others, such as the uranium companies to acknowledge and respect Navajo law.

“They want to come in despite the Navajo Nation law,” he said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to stand on our own. It’s hard to do. It’s an uphill battle all the way.”

The President received pledges of support from every congressional office he visited.

“The most clear and defining aspect of sovereignty is to protect your land,” said Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I. “That goes without saying that you’ve got my support.”

“The truth needs to come out and the impacts need to be known,” said Rep.
Jim Matheson, D-Utah.

“I have a real commitment to the land and rights of Native Americans,” said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. “We would like nothing better than to help the Navajo people assert their sovereign right to govern themselves.”

President Shirley also told the congressmen that he does not believe that the ISL process is either safe or proven, despite HRI’s claims. In issuing its initial permit in 1998, he said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission used data from HRI only and ignored data from independent scientists who found the process unreliable and subject to failure.

Mitchell Capitan, who founded ENDAUM with his wife Rita, said that in four years of trying, a company he worked for was unable to remove radioactive contamination from water.

At stake, he added, is the potential contamination of the pristine groundwater used by 15,000 Navajo families in the eastern Navajo area.
Independent analysis has found that if the ISL processing were to begin, the aquifer would be contaminated within just seven years.

“We feel that the process they used to approve the permits is skewed,” the President said of the NRC. “We feel that the NRC has been systematically biased.”

Community members point out that development of the mine would be within an unprecedented half-mile of community schools and churches.

“If the groundwater is contaminated, what do you do?” Rep. Matheson said upon hearing this. “You don’t want to go down that path.”

The President also told representatives that radioactive tailings from thousands of mines from the 1950s and ‘60s still need cleanup after all these years, and that funding is needed to get it done. Money is also required for health studies, which are vitally needed to show the damage uranium has already done.

“There are tailings galore we need to clean up,” he said. “The U.S.
government is not moving fast enough to clean up these tailing.”

The President also reported to the congressmen that the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act – RECA – is failing to do what it was designed to do:
compensate those who were the victims of uranium mining in the ‘50s, 60s and 70s.

Of more than $900 million paid out, Navajo miners and their families have received only 10.7 percent of that because of the difficulties they encounter with the documentation process.

“We’re having the hardest time getting compensation,” he said. “People are dying before they’re compensated.”

On Thursday, Rep. Rick Renzi, D-Ariz., Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, hosted a briefing on behalf of the Navajo Nation regarding the Diné Natural Resources Protection Act and the deadly legacy left by uranium mining on Navajoland.

“The United States came in without warning to mine uranium to create the atom bomb to defeat enemies out there,” President Shirley said at the briefing. “Because we weren’t warned, I feel genocide has been committed.”

The President thanked the congressmen for hosting the briefing and for helping to remove language from the recently-passed Energy Bill that would have provided $30 million in subsidies for uranium development.

“It comes from the heart when I say thank you on behalf of my nation,” the President told them. “The mining of uranium has killed many of my elders.”

Phil Harrison, who long helped uranium miners receive compensation and who now works for the Killian Law Firm, told the briefing that the Navajo Nation has contributed greatly to national security by going to war and by mining uranium.

“They put their lives on the line in World War II,” he said. “The federal government should live up to the federal trust responsibility. Justice is long overdue. We’re here with one voice and that’s to say protect our water, protect our resources.”

“Uranium is toxic and it’s a poison and it has really left a deadly legacy among our people,” said Cora Maxx-Phillips, director of the Navajo Division of Social Services. “We know the potential threat and yet we continue to mine uranium.”

# # #

HI-RES PHOTOS, BACKGROUND MATERIALS AVAILABLE

CONTACT
George Hardeen, Communications Director
Office of the President and Vice President The Navajo Nation Window Rock, Arizona Office 928-871-7917 Cell 928-309-8532 georgehardeen@opvp.org

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 18, 2005

 

NAVAJO NATION PRESIDENT JOE SHIRLEY, JR., RECEIVES ASSURANCES FROM CAPITOL HILL TO RESPECT NAVAJO SOVEREIGNTY

Delegation visits Congressmen, Senators, staff about new uranium threat


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Navajo Nation delivered an unmistakable message to Capitol Hill last week that it expects its sovereign right to make laws and live by them to be respected, and that it will tolerate no further uranium mining or processing within its boundaries.

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., led a delegation of three teams that included Navajo Nation Council Delegate Alice W. Benally and representatives from the Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining and the Southwest Research and Information Center of Albuquerque. They received positive responses from the 27 offices of Congressmen and Senators they visited.

At each meeting, the President told representatives and their staff that the Navajo Nation had passed the Diné Natural Resources Protection Act in April.
The law prohibits the further mining and processing of uranium anywhere within the Navajo Nation. As a sovereign nation within a nation, he asked that the law be acknowledged and respected.

“The Navajo Nation passed this law to protect the health and safety of its people and the quality of its environment,” the President said. “We want to protect our resources, our water, and our cultural integrity. But they’re trying to skirt Navajo Nation law and run around what Navajo has done.”

Two companies – Hydro Resources, Inc., and Strathmore Minerals, Inc. – are seeking permits from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and State of New Mexico to develop uranium through in situ leaching – ISL – in the Crownpoint and Church Rock, N.M., areas.

This is a process that injects carbonated water into the ground where uranium is found to separate the uranium from its host rock and forces the mixture to the surface. It has been referred to as creating a “toxic soup” and purposely contaminating the water in order to get to the uranium.

“We don’t want to have any more mining of uranium,” the President said. “Our elderly, our children continue to die because of it. There are no answers to the cancer it causes.”

At each meeting, the President asked the congressmen and senators for their support of Navajo sovereignty, and to ask others, such as the uranium companies to acknowledge and respect Navajo law.

“They want to come in despite the Navajo Nation law,” he said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to stand on our own. It’s hard to do. It’s an uphill battle all the way.”

The President received pledges of support from every congressional office he visited.

“The most clear and defining aspect of sovereignty is to protect your land,” said Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I. “That goes without saying that you’ve got my support.”

“The truth needs to come out and the impacts need to be known,” said Rep.
Jim Matheson, D-Utah.

“I have a real commitment to the land and rights of Native Americans,” said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. “We would like nothing better than to help the Navajo people assert their sovereign right to govern themselves.”

President Shirley also told the congressmen that he does not believe that the ISL process is either safe or proven, despite HRI’s claims. In issuing its initial permit in 1998, he said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission used data from HRI only and ignored data from independent scientists who found the process unreliable and subject to failure.

Mitchell Capitan, who founded ENDAUM with his wife Rita, said that in four years of trying, a company he worked for was unable to remove radioactive contamination from water.

At stake, he added, is the potential contamination of the pristine groundwater used by 15,000 Navajo families in the eastern Navajo area.
Independent analysis has found that if the ISL processing were to begin, the aquifer would be contaminated within just seven years.

“We feel that the process they used to approve the permits is skewed,” the President said of the NRC. “We feel that the NRC has been systematically biased.”

Community members point out that development of the mine would be within an unprecedented half-mile of community schools and churches.

“If the groundwater is contaminated, what do you do?” Rep. Matheson said upon hearing this. “You don’t want to go down that path.”

The President also told representatives that radioactive tailings from thousands of mines from the 1950s and ‘60s still need cleanup after all these years, and that funding is needed to get it done. Money is also required for health studies, which are vitally needed to show the damage uranium has already done.

“There are tailings galore we need to clean up,” he said. “The U.S.
government is not moving fast enough to clean up these tailing.”

The President also reported to the congressmen that the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act – RECA – is failing to do what it was designed to do:
compensate those who were the victims of uranium mining in the ‘50s, 60s and 70s.

Of more than $900 million paid out, Navajo miners and their families have received only 10.7 percent of that because of the difficulties they encounter with the documentation process.

“We’re having the hardest time getting compensation,” he said. “People are dying before they’re compensated.”

On Thursday, Rep. Rick Renzi, D-Ariz., Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, hosted a briefing on behalf of the Navajo Nation regarding the Diné Natural Resources Protection Act and the deadly legacy left by uranium mining on Navajoland.

“The United States came in without warning to mine uranium to create the atom bomb to defeat enemies out there,” President Shirley said at the briefing. “Because we weren’t warned, I feel genocide has been committed.”

The President thanked the congressmen for hosting the briefing and for helping to remove language from the recently-passed Energy Bill that would have provided $30 million in subsidies for uranium development.

“It comes from the heart when I say thank you on behalf of my nation,” the President told them. “The mining of uranium has killed many of my elders.”

Phil Harrison, who long helped uranium miners receive compensation and who now works for the Killian Law Firm, told the briefing that the Navajo Nation has contributed greatly to national security by going to war and by mining uranium.

“They put their lives on the line in World War II,” he said. “The federal government should live up to the federal trust responsibility. Justice is long overdue. We’re here with one voice and that’s to say protect our water, protect our resources.”

“Uranium is toxic and it’s a poison and it has really left a deadly legacy among our people,” said Cora Maxx-Phillips, director of the Navajo Division of Social Services. “We know the potential threat and yet we continue to mine uranium.”

# # #

HI-RES PHOTOS, BACKGROUND MATERIALS AVAILABLE

CONTACT
George Hardeen, Communications Director
Office of the President and Vice President The Navajo Nation Window Rock, Arizona Office 928-871-7917 Cell 928-309-8532 georgehardeen@opvp.org

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 8, 2005

 

NAVAJO NATION PRESIDENT JOE SHIRLEY, JR., PRESENTS
EXECUTIVE BRANCH BUDGET TO NAVAJO NATION COUNCIL

 

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – After having his report postponed for two days and then waiting more than an hour after he was told to report on Thursday, Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., presented the Executive Branch budget of $507.5 million to the Navajo Nation Council.

The President was given about eight minutes to present an abbreviated report in the Navajo language. More than two hours later, and after attaching an amendment to use $33 million from the Land Acquisition Fund to the comprehensive budget, the Council recessed until Friday morning.

This will be the fifth time, including three recall attempts, the Council has tried to pass a bill to gain access to the trust fund that was created in 1994 for the purpose of purchasing land to increase and consolidate the Navajo Nation land base. With each attempt, the Council has failed to get the required 59 votes.

President Shirley has called the raid on the Land Acquisition Fund a misuse and misappropriation of precious tribal resources. The fund currently has only $5.4 million available by law.

In his written report, the President announced his selection of Mr. Eddie Lockett, Jr., of Maricopa, Ariz., as the first executive director of the Navajo Gaming Regulatory Office. Once confirmed by the Navajo Nation Council, Mr. Lockett’s appointment will allow the Nation to proceed with its plans to select, construct and regulate casinos on the Navajo Nation.

President Shirley has said he wants to see casino gaming put on a fast track in order to bring needed revenue to the Navajo Nation. The President’s report to the Council noted that the Navajo Nation continues to face serious financial challenges because of outside influences.

“Everyone is aware of the staggering rise in energy costs which is reflected at the gas pump, in utility bills and harshly felt by school districts, businesses and our own government,” the President wrote. “Much of this is beyond our control and is a reflection of the times we live in.”

The President noted that Navajo families must seek goods and services in bordertowns, causing the equivalent of 85 cents of every dollar to be spent off the Navajo Nation. He said other national events have a deep impact on the financial future of the Navajo Nation as well.

“We know that the war in Iraq is greatly impacting our lives as a nation financially as well as emotionally, and that this financial impact will be felt even more sharply when the costs of Hurricane Katrina are added in,” he said. “Here at home, we may see the closure of the Black Mesa Mine that has helped sustain our government and our people for 35 years.”

He said Navajos cannot and do not forget Navajo veterans and those now serving in the armed services.

“Earlier this week, 16 Navajo soldiers who are part of the 1116th Transportation Unit deployed from Gallup for Iraq,” he said. “We wish them Godspeed and a safe return. The Navajo Nation is forever grateful to our warriors who have sacrificed so much to protect freedom and our Diné way of life.”

He said his Administration has targeted improved veterans’ housing services, education and training, and identified 88 acres of land for a guard unit and Navajo Nation Veterans Cemetery.

The President said the Navajo Division of Public Safety continues to progress by prioritizing the use of state-of-the-art technology. He said that by Thanksgiving, the Navajo Nation plans to have 250 police vehicles equipped with laptop computers to give each officer in the field the best communication and database access of any public safety department in the country.

He also noted that the Division is negotiating with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to acquire funding for needed jail space.

“Perhaps most important in the eyes of the public is that we have added 109 new police officers since 2003,” the President said. “This makes a total of 351 uniformed Navajo police officers. To equip them, we have 92 new police vehicles on order, allowing us to have a noticeable presence in our communities.”

The President said that over the past year, the Division of Economic Development has helped create 400 construction jobs and 334 new permanent jobs on the Navajo Nation, creating approximately $7 million in new salaries alone.

He complimented the Council’s Economic Development Committee for its recent revisions of business site leasing regulations. Once approved by the Secretary of the Interior, the regulations will make establishing and doing business on the Navajo Nation friendlier, easier and, most importantly, far less bureaucratic, he said.

The President said the Navajo Nation has seen a savings of more than $1.2 million from his of Dec. 31, 2004, executive order to restrict Executive Branch travel and training to the Navajo Nation. The Order was designed to keep Navajo dollars at home.

He challenged both Navajo Nation Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan and Navajo Chief Justice Herb Yazzie to issue similar directives to save the Nation even more money and to strengthen our own local economy.

“I believe it is essential that the Navajo Nation fully support our own initiatives,” President Shirley said. “As leaders, we need to set the example.”

- - - - - - - - -

Executive Branch Budget Message to the 20th Navajo Nation Council Budget Session
September 8, 2005
By Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr.

Honorable Speaker Morgan, honorable members of the Navajo Nation Council, staff, guests and relatives, I’m pleased to appear before you today to present the Executive Branch Fiscal Year 2006 budget.

I thank the Navajo Nation Council Standing Committees for the time they have taken to review and deliberate each of the Divisions’ budgets. I also thank the Budget and Finance Committee for its hard work and dedicated service to ensure the development of this comprehensive budget that is now before you.

The Navajo Nation continues to face serious financial challenges. Everyone is aware of the staggering rise in energy costs which is reflected at the gas pump, in utility bills and harshly felt by school districts, businesses and our own government. Much of this is beyond our control and is a reflection of the times we live in. Like every government, we must adjust to it and remain financially astute in a quickly changing world. At the same time, our Navajo population is quickly growing, causing us to have to continually plan for the additional services needed to meet our people’s needs. To take care of themselves and their families, our people leave the Navajo Nation for all kinds of products, goods and services. This practice drains 85 cents of every dollar from our Navajo economy, and we feel this.

We know that the war in Iraq is greatly impacting our lives as a nation financially as well as emotionally, and that this financial impact will be felt even more sharply when the costs of Hurricane Katrina are added in. Here at home, we may see the closure of the Black Mesa Mine that has helped sustain our government and our people for 35 years. Throughout all this, the Executive Branch will continue to provide necessary services to our people. To do this, we will implement cost-saving measures throughout the branch and simply require more productivity with fewer dollars from our programs.

As you know, the Navajo Nation’s initial projection of recurring revenues for FY 2006 was $112.9 million. This was $7.5 million – or 6.2 percent – less than Fiscal Year 2005’s amount of $120.4 million. Through the efforts of the Division of Natural Resources and others, we secured an additional $6.4 million from rights-of-way and oil revenues. The new amount was made available to the three Navajo Nation Branches and totals $119.3. This amount is .51 percent less than Fiscal Year 2005 general fund allocation.

Additionally, $3.1 million was acquired from the personnel savings lapse funds to cover the 2.5 percent general wage adjustment for all eligible general funded personnel positions. All three branches of government continue to absorb the prior year’s personnel pay plan cost adjustment as well as other increases in fringe benefits. This absorption of the costs associated with the pay plan cannot be expected to continue and will pose serious problems for the Navajo Nation government. In short, the Executive Branch received $91 million in general fund planning allocation and approximately $3.1 million for general wage adjustments for a total amount of $94.1 million.

The Executive Branch once again established the Executive Branch Budget Review Team. The review team compiled the priorities of the administration and continued to focus on education, public safety, veterans, economic development and chapter government development. I would like to take this time to highlight a few of my priorities with you. As each division comes before you, they will be able to speak in greater detail about their respective budgets.

With your recent passage of the Title 10 Amendments, we are now able to fulfill a century-old dream of the Navajo people to provide quality education and standards consistent with Navajo values. You have given us the authority to establish the first state-like Department of Education among any Native nation in America. Additionally, this will be the first time that the $7.2 million set-aside for higher education will go into effect. These crucial dollars will go to Diné College, the Crownpoint Institute of Technology and the Office of the Navajo Nation Scholarship and Financial Aid. With this we will be able to produce more Navajo professionals to build and develop our Nation and government. This set-aside is an important investment in our children’s future. I believe this investment will result in great returns for the future of our families and our Nation.

The Division of Public Safety continues to make positive change. Our Division is prioritizing the use of state-of-the-art technology, acquiring and updating old equipment, identifying sufficient jail space, ensuring proper overtime pay and providing community outreach for the coming year. Just weeks ago, the Division implemented its Mobile Network Command Center. Soon, each District will have technology to allow dispatchers to see a visual display of an officer’s location on a large monitor and keep track of them through a global positioning system. By Thanksgiving, we plan to have 250 police vehicles equipped with laptop computers to give each officer in the field the best communication and database access of any public safety department in the country. This will also allow them to complete their paperwork while remaining visible to the public, cutting down on overtime and stress and allowing our officers more downtime with their families.

Public Safety is currently negotiating with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to give the Navajo Nation increased jail space. These negotiations will also include funding for transportation costs of inmates. Operation Hashtlish and Operation Monsoon are two examples of how our Division was able to respond to protect life, limb and property during Navajo Nation states of emergency. I’m happy to report to you that we lost no lives, protected our people and saw property damage kept to a minimum.

Perhaps most important in the eyes of the public is that we have added 109 new police officers since 2003. This makes a total of 351 uniformed Navajo police officers. To equip them, we have 92 new police vehicles on order, allowing us to have a noticeable presence in our communities. The Division has also established a Selective Enforcement Team for the purpose of reducing drunk driving, increasing seatbelt and child restraint use, and reducing the number of speeders on our Navajo highways in order to save lives. Saving lives is our number one priority.

The Division of Economic Development is making steady progress with its business development. In Fiscal Year 2005, it created 400 construction jobs and 334 new permanent jobs at an average of $10 per hour per employee. These new jobs created approximately $7 million in new salaries alone.

I’m also pleased to announce today that Mr. Eddie Lockett, Jr., of Maricopa, Arizona, has accepted my offer for employment as the Navajo Nation’s first executive director for the Navajo Gaming Regulatory Office. He is highly qualified, and I look forward to your approval of his employment contract. Once on board, the Nation will quickly move toward licensing, identifying sites and establishing casino operations on the Navajo Nation.

I’d like to take this opportunity to commend the Economic Development Committee for its recent approval of the revisions to the proposed business site leasing regulations. Once approved by the Secretary of the Interior, the regulations will make establishing and doing business on the Navajo Nation friendlier, easier and, most importantly, far less bureaucratic.

My Administration and I strongly believe in the principles of local decision-making and control over local matters. The Local Governance Act should not only be supported but resources allocated to fully implement the law. The central government needs to improve its technical support and other resources to assist chapters in meeting the requirements of governance-certification, and to assist the agency offices to provide more direct service.

With this in mind, I gave the chapters and the local government support centers an additional $1 million to fully implement the LGA and to provide services to the local people. The Division of Community Development total general funds allocation is $18 million. Of that amount, almost $13 million is going to the chapters, which is 72 percent of the total budget.

We cannot – and do not – ever forget our Navajo veterans and those men and women currently serving in our armed forces. Earlier this week, 16 Navajo soldiers who are part of the 1116th Transportation Unit deployed from Gallup for Iraq. We wish them Godspeed and a safe return. The Navajo Nation is forever grateful to our warriors who have sacrificed so much to protect freedom and our Diné way of life. As a grateful nation, we must do all we can to assist all our veterans. For this reason, my Administration is working hard to develop a strategic plan to improve veterans’ services.

Specifically, we are targeting improved housing services, education and training, identifying 88 acres of land for a guard unit and national cemetery. Obviously, these improvements require increased funding. To meet this funding challenge, I’ve assigned individuals to serve as grant administrators to identify critical funding to achieve these goals. My Administration is re-evaluating the Office of Veterans Affairs to identify where improvements can be made at our central and agency offices. Together, with your support, I believe we can accomplish the objective to improve badly-needed services for our Navajo veterans.

In closing, members of the Navajo Nation Council, my Administration continues to address revenue-generating opportunities. We are forced to contend with budget shortfalls. I remain optimistic that by working with this 20th Navajo Nation Council, our government will bring in more revenue, particularly through our gaming initiative, the Desert Rock project, and the ancillary businesses those economic development initiatives will stimulate.

We’ve already seen cost-savings realized through my Executive Order of December 31 to restrict Executive Branch travel and training to the Navajo Nation. This Order was designed to keep Navajo dollars at home. It has resulted in more than $1.2 million in savings to the Nation within the first six months. I would like to challenge the other branch chiefs to consider a similar directive in order to save the Nation even more money and to strengthen our own local economy. I believe it is essential that the Navajo Nation fully support our own initiatives. As leaders, we need to set the example.

Honorable members of the Council, I seek your support of the Executive Branch budget and hope you have a successful budget session.

Thank you.

# # #

CONTACT

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


Contact: Karen Francis, Public Information Officer
Navajo Nation Council Office of the Speaker
(928) 871-7160
karenfrancis@navajo.org
www.navajonationcouncil.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: Friday, September 16, 2005

COUNCIL TO MEET IN SPECIAL SESSION SEPT. 19-20

The Navajo Nation Council is scheduled to meet in a special session on September 19-20, 2005, at the Navajo Nation Council Chamber in Window Rock, Arizona.

Today the Ethics and Rules Committee adopted an agenda and approved the dates for the special session as recommended by Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan.

The Council’s agenda includes receiving a report from Navajo government employees alleging problems with the audit report for the year ending September 30, 2004.

The only item under Old Business is Legislation No. 0650-05, accepting the audit report of KPMG LLP. The audit report had previously been tabled and would need to be recalled on the Council floor for consideration.

There are three items under New Business, including a budget resolution to appropriate $3.5 million to the Office of the Controller for the settlement of the matter of the termination of the Tuba City Boarding School construction P.L. 93-638 contract for convenience; the budget resolution to adopt the Navajo Nation Fiscal Year 2006 Comprehensive Budget; and confirmation of the appointment of Edward Lockett, Jr., as the executive director for the Navajo Gaming Regulatory Office.

The $3.5 million supplemental appropriation requires 59 votes or more to pass. The comprehensive budget and the confirmation require a simple majority to pass.

###


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 7, 2005

NAVAJO NATION PRESIDENT JOE SHIRLEY, JR., URGES NAVAJOS TO HELP HURRICANE KATRINA VICTIMS THROUGH FINANCIAL DONATIONS

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., today urged Navajos to make financial contributions to relief agencies on behalf of the victims of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

“Many Navajos watched last week and weekend as the events of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans went from bad to worse. And we’re told worse yet is still to come,” the President said in a statement issued today. “Like everyone else, Navajos want to help by giving.”

The President told Navajos that former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton are heading a fundraising effort to help victims through a website, www.bushclintonkatrinafund.com

He also said that people can donate to the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army by contacting their websites; www.redcross.org and www.salvationarmyusa.org/. http://www.arizonaredcross.org/

“Pictures showed thousands stranded in the Superdome, elders stuck in wheelchairs along highways, families camped beneath underpasses, children on housetops, people being pulled through the rafters of their homes, people drowning in their own homes,” President Shirley said. “As during 9-11, most Americans have never seen such devastation, maybe never heard of it.”

The President noted that as of Tuesday, the American Red Cross had raised $400 million but more than $1 billion would be needed for the rescue operation.

Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Gulf Coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, an area three times larger than the Navajo Nation – about 90,000 square miles. The storm left thousands homeless and caused an estimated $200 billion in damage.

“Our Navajo teachings tell us how our people traveled through previous worlds and floods to arrive at this, the Glittering World,” President Shirley said. “We came here to escape the rising water. Our teachings tell us we have been through much to survive, grow and prosper. Those teachings, prayers, songs and ceremonies sustained us and gave us the strength of heart and mind to survive.”

##

President Shirley’s Statement on the Hurricane Katrina Disaster:

It’s Not Too Late To Help

September 7, 2005

Like Americans all over the country, many Navajos watched last week and weekend as the events of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans went from bad to worse. And we’re told worse yet is still to come. Pictures showed thousands stranded in the Superdome, elders stuck in wheelchairs along highways, families camped beneath underpasses, children on housetops, people being pulled through the rafters of their homes, people drowning in their own homes.

Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Gulf Coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, an area three times larger than the Navajo Nation – about 90,000 square miles. The storm left thousands homeless and caused an estimated $200 billion in damage. Now we hear the entire city of New Orleans is to be evacuated and many more thousands will be left with nowhere to live, jobless, destitute, hungry, sick and stripped of all possessions.

As during 9-11, most Americans have never seen such devastation, maybe never heard of it. The news tells us the federal government’s response came late, and the finger-pointing and blame has begun. All last week and weekend, there appeared to be little comfort. But comfort is coming now.

Like everyone else, Navajos want to help by giving. It’s not too late.

Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who are heading a fundraising effort, say the need for financial donations may be greater in the coming weeks and months as initial disaster funds are used. You can help by sending a donation to www.bushclintonkatrinafund.com/.

As of Tuesday, it was reported that the American Red Cross had raised $400 million. However, well over $1 billion will be needed for the rescue. Right now, it’s recommended that cash donations, rather than items, be sent to organizations.

There are many dozens of organizations helping the flood victims, and it’s hard to know which to contribute to. Certainly, it’s an individual choice.

But it’s safe to donate to those which have been in the disaster relief business a long time, such as the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

Any amount will help. It’s not too late.

To donate to the American Red Cross, you can mail your contribution to P.O.

Box 37243 , Washington, D.C. 20013 . To donate online, go to www.redcross.org

or www.arizonaredcross.org. To donate by phone call, 1-800-HELP-NOW

(1-800-435-7669)

To donate to the Salvation Army, send your checks earmarked “disaster relief,” to the Salvation Army, P.O. Box 4857, Jackson, MS 39296-4857. If you want to to donate online, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org/ .

Our Navajo teachings tell us how our people traveled through previous worlds and floods to arrive at this, the Glittering World. We came here to escape the rising water. Our teachings tell us we have been through much to survive, grow and prosper. Those teachings, prayers, songs and ceremonies sustained us and gave us the strength of heart and mind to survive.

In these hard times, remember to explain what is happening to your children through the context of our Navajo teachings so they know their history and will know they have teachings to help them survive.

Joe Shirley, Jr., President

The Navajo Nation

###

CONTACT
George Hardeen, Communications Director
Office of the President and Vice President The Navajo Nation
928-871-7917 928-309-8532
georgehardeen@opvp.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 7, 2005

NAVAJO NATION PRESIDENT, FIRST LADY VISIT RAMAH CHAPTER FOR 13TH ANNUAL FAIR, RODEO

RAMAH , N.M. – Visiting for the 13th annual Ramah Navajo Fair & Rodeo, Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., told this unique Navajo chapter that despite it being separate from the rest of the Navajo Nation, it is never forgotten.

“The people of Ramah are not forgotten,” President Shirley told about 75 people gathered for a mini-summit with the Ramah Navajo School Board of Trustees celebrating 35 years of Self-Determination on Saturday. “You’re not being pushed away. You’re part of the Navajo Nation.”

The President and First Lady Vikki Shirley were here to participate in the fair parade, visit with local residents and share a meal sponsored by the school board.

Martha Garcia, Ramah Chapter vice president, presented the President with a 10-page report outlining the chapter’s needs. The subjects of the reported include water, local governance, state funding, trust lands and land acquisition, the school dormitory, detention facilities and BIA issues.

“Today, the Ramah Band of Indians celebrates 35 years of self-determination and we are proud to be the leaders of the Indian Self-Determination movement across the nation,” Ms. Garcia said.

The Ramah Chapter, which is about 100 miles from the southeast boundary of the greater Navajo Nation, was created in 1955 by the Navajo Tribal Council.

Today it has 3,500 residents and consists of about 154,000 acres of woodlands, sandstone cliffs and mesas and high desert prairie. Much of the land ownership is checkerboard, which the chapter would eventually like to see consolidated.

The chapter says that because of its geographical isolation from the rest of the Navajo Nation, it has been left out and inadequately served by federal and tribal programs. However, in 1972, the Ramah Band of Indians won the creation of the Ramah Navajo Agency under the administration of the Southwest Regional Office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The chapter led the way in self-reliance by contracting services even before passage of the Indian Self-Determination Act in 1975. The Ramah Navajo School Board, Inc., was founded by the Ramah Chapter in 1970. Today it operates four divisions with more than 35 programs for the Pine Hill School and Ramah Navajo Community.

The Ramah Navajo Chapter has its own government-to-government relationship with the federal government that is acknowledged by the BIA and authorized by resolution of the Navajo Nation Council.

The chapter provides direct services and programs for the community which include the Ramah Navajo School Board, Inc., KTDB public radio, Ramah Navajo Community Clinic and Wellness Services, law enforcement, community planning and development, and administration for these and other services.

Ms. Garcia told President Shirley that the chapter would like his assistance to:

• Secure funds to increase the availability of potable water and to repair stock wells.

• Secure an MOA with the State of New Mexico to fund capital projects and programs with the chapter.

• Secure an MOA to allow the chapter jurisdiction and authority over its own trust lands.

• Help the chapter resolve obstacles to its economic development.

• Call upon the BIA to transfer the Ramah Navajo Dormitory to the chapter.

• Secure funds to build a new detention facility, and

• To secure funds to re-surface BIA Rt. 125 and rebuild BIA Rt. 122.

Also meeting the President and First Lady were Leo L. Pino, the Ramah Chapter president and school board member, Nancy R. Martine-Alonzo, school board president, Sam Alonzo, superintendent of the Pine Hill School, Samantha Whitetail Eagle, executive director of the Ramah Navajo Chapter, Bennie Cohoe, the interim executive director of the Ramah Navajo School Board, Roger Martinez, secretary-treasurer of the school board, Gilbert Maria, vice president of the school board and board members Beverly J. Cohoe and Time Maria, Jr.

###

CONTACT
George Hardeen, Communications Director
Office of the President and Vice President The Navajo Nation
928-871-7917 928-309-8532
georgehardeen@opvp.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 31, 2005

NAVAJO NATION PRESIDENT JOE SHIRLEY, JR. PRESENTS $429 MILLION CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PLAN TO TCDC FOR FIRST TIME

Urges committee to work with him to improve 60-month plan

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – After waiting nearly six months, Navajo President Joe Shirley, Jr., today was given his first opportunity to introduce his $429 million Capital Improvement Plan to the Navajo Nation Council’s Transportation and Community Development Committee.

The President spent all day at a work session in the Navajo Nation Council Chamber presenting a summary of 320 projects that would cost $429,559,041. The entire construction and development program would take 60 months.

The President said that once the CIP is adopted and projects are selected, the plan to fund it could be debated by the entire Council.

“First we adopt a plan,” he said. “I think that’s where we are.”

The major initiatives to be funded over the five-year period would be:

• 31 economic development, business infrastructure projects valued at $87.4 million. These would promote business growth and jobs on the Navajo Nation, a critical component to develop the Navajo economy.

• 7 elder care, nursing home projects valued at $47.5 million. These would be constructed at Chinle, Tuba City, Pinon, Ganado, Indian Wells, Crownpoint and Shiprock.

• 12 trauma system projects valued at $13.2 million. Currently, there are no trauma centers anywhere on the Navajo Nation. These would be constructed at Tuba City, Chinle, Ft. Defiance, Ganado, Winslow, Shiprock, Kayenta and Crownpoint. Inscription House, Teec Nos Pos and Tohajiilee would receive ambulances.

• 7 “one-stop-shop” public safety-correctional-judicial government centers valued at $145 million. President Shirley has said that if the Navajo Nation Council adopts only a single component of this CIP plan, that these centers are what should be provided. These would be located at Tuba City, Crownpoint, Chinle, Dilkon, Shiprock, Kayenta and Ft. Defiance.

• And 262 chapter projects involving renovations and additions, senior centers and Navajo Headstart facilities, power/water/sewer line extensions and parking lots valued at $134.3 million

“It is incumbent on this body whether to put it before the Nation’s council and which projects are funded,” the President said. “If there are some things wrong with this plan that you see, bring it up. I think we can fix what you see to be wrong. Let’s settle on what the plan should be by working together.”

Chairman Maryboy raised a concern that funding the President’s CIP plan would require a waiver of the Navajo Appropriations Act. President Shirley noted that the Navajo Nation Council waives tribal law often and a waiver in this instance would serve the Navajo people. Chairman Maryboy agreed with the President’s assessment, and said he has spoken to legislative counsel and the Navajo Department of Justice to review the laws necessary for waivers.

“If we stay at eight percent, we’re not waiving anything,” the President said. “If we go beyond that, we can waive the law. We’re waiving laws very frequently as we have need. The chapters have needs. They needed these projects yesterday, last year.”

Ganado/Kinlichee Council Delegate Willie Tracey said he agreed with the President’s appraisal of need, adding that with minor changes he would like to “run with” the plan.

The President emphasized, however, that the first step in the process is to adopt a plan that specifies projects such as the CIP. Next is to select which project to proceed with. Lastly is to determine funding options.

The President, who thanked the committee for the work session and its agreement to move forward to create a CIP the Navajo Nation is proud of, said he would like to meet again on Sept. 22.

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CONTACT
George Hardeen, Communications Director
Office of the President and Vice President The Navajo Nation
928-871-7917 928-309-8532
georgehardeen@opvp.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 2, 2005

NAVAJO NATION PRESIDENT JOE SHIRLEY, JR., DEFENDS LAND ACQUISITION TRUST FUND BEFORE NAVAJO NATION COUNCIL
Council fails to pass proposal to liquidate $37 million fund

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - In hopes of preventing the Navajo Nation Council from liquidating the $37 million Land Acquisition Trust Fund, Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., today defended the need and value of the fund in a report to the Council today.

Speaking to a special session of the Council, the President said the Navajo Division of Natural Resources was working diligently to acquire several new parcels and properties that would add to the Navajo Nation's land base and provide new economic opportunities to the Nation.

To purchase land for economic gain is just one part of the purpose of the land, the President said. Certainly we need to purchase land for economic gain.

Also on the Council's agenda was legislation sponsored by Navajo Nation Council Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan and Transportation and Community Development Committee Chairman Mark Maryboy that sought to waive the trust fund law in order to gain access to $33 million.

The special session rules precluded the President from discussing that legislation. However, when it came to a vote, it failed to achieve the required 59 votes and was defeated by a vote of 57-22.

The legislation, dubbed the "M & M" or "candy plan" because of the sponsors' names, was billed by some as an alternative to President Shirley's proposed Capital Improvement Plan. Mr. Morgan and Mr. Maryboy had hoped to take $33 million from the trust fund to distribute $300,000 to each of the 110 Navajo chapters.

President Shirley has called the proposed legislation an irresponsible misappropriation of funds. He explained that the Land Acquisition Trust Fund has only $5.4 million currently available in investment income.

Within 10 years, however, that amount is expected to grow, giving the Navajo Nation huge buying power and enabling it to spend at least $10 million per year on land purchases, according to the Division of Natural Resources.

President Shirley told the Council the Nation is considering the purchase of the:

1. Bonds Ranch, eight miles south of Ramah, N.M., 9,720 deeded acres and 1,920 acres of state land.

2. JF McDonald Property at the Counselor Trading Post, 320 acres of deeded land with 1,760 acres of BLM land.

3. Red Cliff Ranch at Coolidge, N.M., 8,270 aces of deeded land.

4. Thoreau Properties at Thoreau, N.M., 304 acres of deeded land.

5. Red Mesa Foundation in East Gallup, 32 acres of deeded land.

6. I-40 at Thoreau along Highway 371, 73 acres of deeded land.

7. Mohamids Development at East Gallup along Highway 66, 15 acres of deeded land.

8. Giant Industries at Southeast Cinza Ramp along I-40, 400 acres of deeded land, and

9. the Wayne Property south of I-40 along Highway 191 at Chambers, which is 3,840 acres of deeded land.

This amounts to 22,974 acres of land the Nation could acquire. The Land Acquisition Trust Fund was created in 1994 to create a self-sustaining method to purchase land to be added to the Navajo Nation. Prior to that, land was purchased using the Navajo General Fund. The land base of the Navajo Nation began with 3.3 million acres acquired through the Treaty of 1868 despite its aboriginal homeland stretching into all Four Corners states. Today, the Navajo Nation encompasses more than 17 million acres within Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The fund was intended to consolidate the Navajo land base by purchasing allotted lands, expand the land base for more grazing and homesite areas, create economic development opportunities and to relieve crowded areas to make land available for the growing Navajo population.

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CONTACT
George Hardeen, Communications Director
Office of the President and Vice President The Navajo Nation
928-871-7917 928-309-8532
georgehardeen@opvp.org


Contact: Karen Francis, Public Information Officer
Navajo Nation Council Office of the Speaker
(928) 871-7160
karenfrancis@navajo.org
www.navajonationcouncil.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: Friday, September 02, 2005

COUNCIL OVERRIDES VETO DURING SPECIAL SESSION

The Navajo Nation Council passed an override of the presidential veto of Legislation No. 0602-05, allowing for Chapters to use money that has already been appropriated to them for emergencies. Katherine Benally (Dennehotso) made the motion and Willie Grayeyes (Navajo Mountain/Inscription House) made the second. The final vote was 64 in favor and 8 opposed.

Sponsor Harry Clark (Chinle) explained that the conditions on spending the funds for Chapters have been too stringent and the Chapters are reluctant to use the money despite the dire needs in their communities.

In addition, the Council also passed the Navajo Nation Special Elections Act of 2005, sponsored by Willie Tracey, Jr. (Ganado/Kinlichee), by a vote of 56 in favor and 13 opposed. The amendments to the Navajo Nation Election Code required a simple majority to pass.

Tracey said that the amendments came about because of the concerns by local people that were aired after a Navajo Nation Council delegate became vacant. He said that the amendments will re-establish the electorate process and rebuild interest and morale in voting.

The legislation to re-appropriate $33 million from the Land Acquisition Fund for capital improvement projects at each of the 110 Chapters failed by a vote of 57 in favor and 22 opposed. The legislation required 59 votes or more to pass.

The Navajo Nation Council is scheduled to meet in its annual special budget session beginning on Tuesday, September 6, at the Navajo Nation Council Chamber at 10 a.m.

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For More Information Contact:
Karen Bedonie – 928-871-7881
Cathy Newby –505-598-4410
Karen Francis –928-871-7160

News Release

1st Annual Navajo Nation Fair Exceptional Children’s Rodeo

Window Rock, Arizona - The Navajo Nation’s exceptional children will be put into the spot light when they take to the rodeo arena for the 1st Annual Navajo Nation Fair Exceptional Children’s Rodeo set for Sept. 8, 2005, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Dean C. Jackson Arena in Window Rock, Arizona.

Held in conjunction with the 59th Annual Navajo Nation Fair, approximately 150 children who have physical and mental disabilities will have the opportunity to rope their own steer, ride a horse around a barrel, and cowboy up for a wooly ride in their own mock rodeo.

The children will be paired with the Indian professional cowboys and cowgirls including John Boyd, Jr. and Ruth Bitsui. Each child will be guided through a series of events including Lickity Split Barrel Racing, Pony Ride Express, Kidz Kowboy Roping, Bucking Bronc Riding, Slip Knot Autograph Tent and Photography and the Home on the Range hospitality tent.

Navajo Nation Council Resources Committee Chairperson George Arthur and over 50 other volunteers are working to bring the first exceptional children’s rodeo to the Navajo Nation. “We embrace this opportunity to advocate for all exceptional children and their families and support organizations.The event teaches acceptance and recognition for all exceptional children, their families and support organizations.”

I would like to encourage participation by the entire Navajo community. This represents a unique opportunity to give of ourselves,” said Ruth Bitsui, Event Coordinator. “There are many Navajo families that live with disabled family members. Most of us do not realize that there are so many challenging moments in their lives. This event offers our Navajo children, families and community to come to together to bestow honor, value human dignity and allow the children to experience the joy of mounting a horse or swinging a rope for the very first time.

Recently, Navajo Nation leaders proclaimed Sept. 8 a day of recognition and respect on behalf of the Navajo Nation¹s most exceptional citizens ­-­those with physical disabilities. In the rarest of occasions, Navajo President Joe Shirley, Jr., Navajo Vice President Frank Dayish, Jr., Navajo Nation Council Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan and Navajo Supreme Court Chief Justice Herb Yazzie were in one place to sign a proclamation to launch the first-ever Navajo Nation Fair Exceptional Rodeo.

The First Annual Children’s Exceptional Rodeo is made possible by a number of organizations and companies including the PNM, BHP-Billiton, Transwestern, Inc., Conoco Phillips, Dine Power Authority, Enterprise Oil and Gas, Larry Foster and Indigitech, John Jenkins, Booger Barter World Championship Roping, John Chapella Law Firm, Penny Emerson Native Resource Development Company Inc., Navajo Oil and Gas, Ross Dia, America Native Medical Transport, and the Navajo Nation Resources Committee, Office of the President and Vice President and the Office of the Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council.

The volunteer committee is comprised of several rodeo participants and enthusiasts who believe the event will make a positive impact for the children. Committee members are George Arthur, John Boyd, Jr. Ruth Bitsui, Edison Bitsui, Marcella King, Cathy Newby, Clarina Arviso-Boyd, Charlene James, Louise Bitsui, Gloria Grant, Ray Russell, Florinda Jackson, Marilynn Freeland, Herman Largo, Karen Francis and Roger Gishie.

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Contact: Karen Francis, Public Information Officer
Navajo Nation Council Office of the Speaker
(928) 871-7160
karenfrancis@navajo.org
www.navajonationcouncil.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: Thursday, September 01, 2005

COUNCIL ADOPTS AGENDA FOR COUNCIL

The Ethics and Rules Committee adopted the agenda for the Navajo Nation Council special session scheduled for September 2, 2005, and the agenda for the special budget session scheduled for September 6– 9, 2005, during a schedule meeting on September 1, 2005.

The agenda for September 2 includes an override of the veto of Legislation No. 0602-05, which had been passed during the Council’s summer session. The legislation empowers the local Chapters by allowing for them to use appropriated funds for emergencies. The override requires 59 votes or more to succeed.

Also included on the special session agenda are a proposal to use $33 million in unencumbered funds for capital improvement projects for each Chapter of the Navajo Nation and a budget resolution appropriating funds to settle the matter concerning Tuba City Boarding School construction. Both require at least 59 votes to pass.

The Council is also scheduled to hear the audit report from KPMG LLP for the year ending September 30, 3004.

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