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The Navajo Post Newspaper is a monthly newspaper that covers tribal communities in Arizona, New Mexico and Navajo Nation.

Navajo presidential hopeful had to choose new running mate

in Latest News

By FELICIA FONSECA, Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A former two-term Navajo president seeking to recapture the office was forced to pick another vice presidential candidate Tuesday after discovering his earlier choice wasn’t eligible because he isn’t registered to vote.

Joe Shirley Jr., who left the presidency in 2011, announced the selection of high school principal Peter Deswood III as his running mate at a press conference Tuesday in the tribal capital of Window Rock. A banner behind the podium already had their names printed on it.

But as the deadline neared for Shirley to record his choice with the tribe’s election office, officials told the campaign Deswood was listed as an inactive voter. He last registered in 2015 but was purged from the voter rolls because he did not cast a ballot in the last two consecutive major elections as required by tribal law, said Murray Lee of the election office. The purge affected more than 55,000 voters, not all of whom re-registered.

Shirley later chose Buu Van Nygren, a 31-year-old operations trainer for a national construction company who is from the Utah portion of the reservation, as his running mate.

Nygren has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Arizona State University. Nygren said he understands the needs of the youth because he’s a recent college graduate and the needs of the elderly because he grew up without running water or electricity and speaks fluent Navajo.

“My biggest strength is being able to work with people, understand people and go out in the community, being able to communicate with elders and youth,” he said. “My biggest struggle was being a Utah, northern representative.”

Shirley, of Chinle, Arizona, faces current Vice President Jonathan Nez in the Nov. 6 general election. The two beat out 16 others in a record field of candidates to win the primary, with Nez getting more than twice as many votes as Shirley.
The reservation is the country’s largest at 27,000 square miles in Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. Candidates typically choose a running mate from another state to broaden their voter base.

Nez bucked the tradition in picking Myron Lizer, who oversees Ace Hardware stores on the reservation. Both are from Arizona.

Nez credited Lizer for his management skills, bringing people together and guiding Navajos in financial literacy. He called Lizer a “great, bright individual” who can help improve the tribe’s economy and encourage young, educated Navajos to return to the reservation.

“I met Mr. Lizer a few times throughout my tenure, and he has always challenged leaders to have the Navajo Nation be business friendly,” Nez said.

Lizer is a graduate of Window Rock High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. He previously worked as an accountant for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. He and his wife Dottie have three children.

“I bought into this ticket with the mindset of politics,” he said. “And the definition I’ve long held is the ability to influence someone’s decisions, not through coercion or through sleight of hand but being mindful and holding to disciplines that add fruit to your tree.”

Nez said he and Lizer would continue campaigning as he did before the primary — visiting communities on and off the reservation and listening to Navajo people.

Deswood said he would support Shirley in the election.

Deswood said he did not recall being notified by election officials that his name would be removed from the voter rolls. He said he wasn’t able to make it to his home chapter in Upper Fruitland, New Mexico, to vote in the primary election or might have discovered then he wasn’t registered.

“I feel bad right now about this whole thing because I worked hard to get to this point,” he said in an interview.
He later apologized to supporters in a Facebook post for “letting the Navajo people down.

“However, I promise that I will continue to do my part as an informed citizen, voter and educator who is committed to bettering our nation,” he wrote.

Voter registration for the tribe’s general election opens Monday.

Navajo candidates endorse Lujan Grisham for New Mexico gov

in Latest News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The remaining two presidential candidates of the nation’s largest American Indian reservation have endorsed Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham for New Mexico governor.

Navajo Nation presidential candidates Jonathan Nez and Joe Shirley Jr. said Thursday they were supporting Grisham over Republican Steve Pearce because of her record on Native American issues.

Nez says Grisham as a member of Congress always had her door open for the Navajo residents and would continue as New Mexico governor.

Shirley says Grisham would work to strengthen the sovereignty of the Navajo Nation and preserve the tribe’s language.
The Navajo Nation sits in New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.

McCain had complicated relationship with Indian Country

in Latest News
YORK, PA - AUGUST 12: Republican Presidential Candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) speaks at a Town Hall Meeting while on the campaign trail in the Toyota Arena August 12, 2008 in York, Pennsylvania. Over one thousand people attended the Town Hall. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

By FELICIA FONSECA, Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — John McCain hadn’t been elected to the U.S. Senate when a fellow veteran and friend spotted him at the annual Navajo Nation Fair.

“Someone should tell this representative that he’s only a representative … this is not even his district,” former Navajo Chairman and President Peterson Zah recalls his dad jokingly telling McCain.

That began Zah’s friendship with the late McCain, who served one term in the U.S. House before becoming one of Arizona’s longest-serving senators.

The Republican McCain helped usher through Congress some of the most pivotal legislation in Indian Country, including the right for tribes to open casinos. That legacy also includes criticism for seemingly favoring corporate interests over tribes.

At a memorial service in Phoenix days after McCain died from a brain tumor last month, tribal leaders from around Arizona gathered to pay their respects. A Navajo flutist was among the musical performers.

“There are a few that really advance the cause of Native Americans,” said Delbert Ray, president of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. “But I’d have to say he’s the bus driver.”

Fresh to Washington, D.C., McCain relied on the late Rep. Morris Udall of Arizona and Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, both Democrats, to familiarize himself with Native American issues. Inouye later asked McCain to join him as vice chairman on what is now the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. McCain went on to serve twice as the panel’s chairman.
McCain and Inouye believed solutions for long-standing problems in Indian Country didn’t lie in the nation’s capital, but rather with tribes, said Eric Eberhard, who worked for McCain for six years. McCain saw treaties with tribes as proof that the U.S. hadn’t lived up to its ideals.

“He spent considerable capital trying to correct that when there was no political reward for it,” Eberhard said.
In his last speech to the National Congress of American Indians, McCain said: “We must listen more to you, and get out of the way of tribal authority.”

McCain helped write the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 that established a legal framework for tribes to operate casinos on their reservations after a U.S. Supreme Court decision cleared the way. Now, nearly 240 tribes operate casinos in more than half of U.S. states, generating more than $31 billion a year in gross revenue.

McCain, Inouye and Udall also teamed up to enact the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act to ensure human remains and funerary items are returned to tribes. He worked on legislation to strengthen tribal self-determination and self-governance. More recently, he championed a bill to expand a child abduction alert system into Indian Country.
Zah introduced many other Native American leaders to McCain over the years, emphasizing his reputation and ability to work across party lines.

“In basketball, if the score is 90-90 with five seconds left, who do you go to?” Zah said. “The Indian people went to Sen. McCain.”

Wendsler Nosie Sr., a former San Carlos Apache chairman, said McCain also missed opportunities to do right by Indian Country and is hopeful others in Congress can learn from that.

Nosie was flying back from Washington, D.C., in late 2014 when he heard McCain had slipped a provision into the national defense bill to give land Apaches considered sacred to a copper mining company. McCain touted the jobs it would bring, while Nosie and others decried the environmental and psychological damage they said it would cause.
“He pulled the rug from underneath us without anybody knowing anything,” Nosie said.

Another provision McCain slipped into a must-pass bill earlier in his career allowed the University of Arizona to build telescopes atop Mount Graham in southern Arizona, another area Apaches considered sacred. They lost a legal battle to stop construction.

On the Navajo and Hopi reservations, the disdain some had for McCain stemmed from a massive relocation of tribal members and water rights.

McCain and Jon Kyl, who was named this week to temporarily fill McCain’s seat, introduced legislation in 2012 to settle the Navajo and Hopi claims to the Little Colorado River. Much of the opposition came from the rushed nature of the bill and language in it to benefit a coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Nation.

“I don’t know if he (McCain) did not understand but he advocated for corporate interests against our tribal aboriginal rights,” said former Hopi Chairman Ben Nuvamsa.

Nicole Horseherder, a Navajo water rights advocate, said Navajo should be included in the compact that divvied up Colorado River water among Western states. She said McCain worked to keep tribal resources to a minimum.
“For him or anyone to say they are giving tribes what they want or consulting or ensuring, that’s all baloney,” she said.
In a statement after McCain’s death, Navajo President Russell Begaye said the senator “sometimes had a rocky relationship with the Navajo Nation, but he was always willing to listen.”

That included hearing about a painful part of Navajo history that resulted in thousands of tribal members being removed from Hopi land to settle a long-standing dispute.

McCain wasn’t part of the legislation that put relocation into motion but repeatedly pushed for an office tasked with providing benefits to close. The fiscal conservative said the office far outlived its life and cost taxpayers millions more than it should have. The Hopis agreed but the Navajos did not.

Zah, whose tenure was dominated by relocation, said McCain was blamed unjustly for the troubles of those who were relocated.

Peter Osetek ran a legal services clinic for Navajos and Hopis in the 1980s and showed McCain around an area known as the Bennett Freeze, where a federal construction ban prevented Navajos from making fixes to their homes as part of the land dispute.

He said McCain saw one home dug into the side of a hill with a piece of wood for a door and said the conditions were “worse than the tiger cages when he was in Vietnam.”

Women sentenced to 7 years in brother’s shooting death

in Latest News

PHOENIX (AP) — A woman from northeastern Arizona was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for her convictions in the September 2017 shooting death of her brother on the Navajo Reservation.

Georgina Warren of Dennehotso was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Steven Logan.

Warren had previously pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

Navajos pick 2 seasoned politicians to vie for presidency

in Breaking News
Mildred James of Sanders, Ariz., shows off her "I Voted" sticker as she waits for results of the Navajo Nation presidential primary election to be revealed Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, in Window Rock, Ariz. (AP Photo/Cayla Nimmo)

By FELICIA FONSECA, Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Voters on the country’s largest American Indian reservation have advanced two seasoned politicians vying for the presidency to the general election.

Current tribal Vice President Jonathan Nez maintained a hefty lead throughout Tuesday’s primary among a record field of 18 presidential hopefuls. Nez garnered more than 14,100 votes, according to unofficial results. Former President Joe Shirley Jr. came in second with about half that number. The top two vote-getters advance to the general election.
The two will pick their own running mates and face off in the November general election.

Current President Russell Begaye came in fifth in the primary behind engineer Dineh Benally, a former vice presidential candidate. More than half of the roughly 93,000 registered voters cast a ballot in the presidential race.
Tuesday’s results ensure somewhat of a repeat from the last election when Shirley and Benally were up against Begaye and Nez.

Nez, a former tribal lawmaker and county supervisor who was raised in Shonto, credited his win to meetings on and off the reservation with a handful up to 150 people at times in frank discussions about things like suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, and the need for mental and behavioral health services. He held running and walking events to raise money for the campaign and to encourage healthy living.

“Our folks are tired of the rhetoric, the old politics where people are screaming and yelling when there are real problems in our communities,” he said. “We changed the tone.”

His campaign also focused on promoting Navajo-owned businesses, transparency in government and elevating the voice of the youth.

He and Begaye often appeared jointly at national events, on camera and before tribal lawmakers to give a quarterly address during their administration. But Nez distanced himself as he jumped on the campaign trail.
Lorraine Begay from Sawmill near the Arizona-New Mexico line said Nez appealed to her because he is educated, married and she believes he will stand for the youth, the elderly and those suffering from social ills. She also likes that he hasn’t made any promises.

“Can’t have promises because there’s policies,” she said. “Things like that get in the way.”

Shirley served two terms as president, leaving the office in 2011. He lost by 10,000 votes in the last presidential election that was delayed over a language fluency issue. The long-time Apache County supervisor from Chinle championed the only voter initiative approved on the reservation that reduced the number of tribal lawmakers from 88 to 24 and secured a presidential line-item veto.

He has touted experience and said he’d rely on teamwork to combat poverty, hunger and other issues on the Navajo Nation.

“One man cannot take it on alone and hope to be successful,” Shirley said.

About half the workforce is unemployed, and many Navajos live without running water or electricity. The tribe also faces a substantial loss in revenue if a coal-fired power plant near the Arizona-Utah border closes next year as planned.
Margie Begay from Wheatfields said she voted for Shirley because of his plans to bridge the youth and the elderly so they can learn from each other.

“We have more young generations that are coming in,” she said. “We talk about the language, we talk about Native Americans across Indian Country, that they’re losing their language and their culture.”

Tribal lawmaker Tom Chee, a tribal lawmaker and the third-place finisher, intentionally spoke Navajo during most of his campaign. He said he wanted to show that by returning to their roots, Navajos could embrace and retain their unique identity.

Of the race, he said he did “quite well.

“First-time candidate at his level against two well-seasoned gentlemen,” he said.

Navajos to narrow record list of 18 presidential candidates

in Latest News

By FELICIA FONSECA, Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Voters on the country’s largest American Indian reservation are headed to the polls to narrow a record field of 18 candidates for Navajo Nation president.

More than 93,000 Navajos are registered to vote in Tuesday’s primary. The top two candidates move on to the November general election.

Candidates have spent the last couple of days campaigning on the radio, in tribal communities and on social media. The field includes seasoned politicians who tout experience and newcomers who are challenging the status quo.
Polls close at 7 p.m. MDT.

Improving on an unemployment rate that hovers around 50 percent on the vast reservation that stretches into New Mexico, Utah and Arizona, and ensuring Navajos have basic necessities like running water and electricity are central to the campaigns.

“Everything is urgent and emergent on Navajo land, it doesn’t matter the issue,” said presidential hopeful Joe Shirley Jr. of Chinle, who served eight years in the post.

The candidates’ plans for economic development include tourism, manufacturing, encouraging entrepreneurs and changing policies that candidate Hope MacDonald LoneTree of Tuba City says are “hostile” toward job creation. Alton Shepherd of Ganado, a tribal lawmaker from Ganado, says he’d like to see less government interference in business.
Current tribal President Russell Begaye, who beat Shirley in the last election, is seeking re-election. He hasn’t campaigned much but radio spots this week focused on his support for student and veterans housing.

Vice President Jonathan Nez, a former tribal lawmaker and county supervisor, is among his challengers.

Candidates like Emily Ellison from Chilchitah, New Mexico, and Nick Taylor of Klagetoh have targeted the youth in their campaigns mostly run through social media.

Norman Patrick Brown of Chinle and Calvin Lee Jr. of Greasewood Springs have advocated for a tribal government based on a constitution.

The other candidates from Arizona are Benny Bahe of Houck; Kevin Cody of Pinon; Trudie Jackson, a doctoral student from Teec Nos Pos; former tribal Vice President Rex Lee Jim of Rock Point; Shawn Redd, a businessman from Dilkon; Tom Tso, a former Navajo chief justice from Teec Nos Pos; and Vincent Yazzie, an activist from Tolani Lake.
The other candidates from New Mexico are tribal lawmaker Tom Chee and Dineh Benally, who is pushing hemp farms. Both are from Shiprock.

Navajo officials bid farewell to Indian Affairs director

in Latest News

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation officials are bidding farewell to their region’s director for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The tribe says Sharon Pinto has been reassigned to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education as the deputy director.
Her last day as head of the BIA’s Navajo region is Friday. She was appointed to the position in late 2011.

The regional office oversees schools, building, residences, forested land and windmills. It also maintains roads and bridges, and provides social and emergency services.

Navajo Nation Council Delegate Leonard Tsosie says Pinto understood and practiced self-determination and upheld the federal government’s responsibility to tribes. Navajo officials had advocated for her to remain in the job.

Pinto thanked tribal officials, her staff and family for their support during a ceremony Thursday in Window Rock.

A Navajo Business, that’s making your Vehicle cooler one window at a time

in Latest News

By Alexander Chambers

Ever driving down the road and something catches your eye out of the ordinary? That’s how I found Navajo entrepreneur and business man Llyod Smith, who started Blackout Window Tinting and has been in business for over 25 years.

Llyod offers a unique way to advertise his location, he has one of his employee’s stand by the road with a sign that let’s drivers know, there’s an huge deal on his services.

For $100 bucks, Llyod crew will tent your entire vehicle, Which, I thought was a pretty good deal.

It takes approximately 45 minutes for them to tint your an entire car, there waiting room is air conditioned and comfortable, so you don’t have to wait outside, however you want, you can sit outside and watch them, it’s a pretty cool experience to see them cut the tint and work as a team.

Llyod explaining his process on cutting the window tint. – Navajo Post

His staff are professional, friendly and courteous. They tint with a massive smile and are very service oriented.

Llyod whole family is practically in the window tinting business, one of his family also owns Squeegee Window Tinting on butler ave in Farmington. Which is also another popular place.

According to Grand View Research, The global window films market size was valued at USD 7.93 billion in 2015. The market is expected to witness considerable growth owing to increasing demand from end-use industries including automotive, construction, and marine. Surging use of window films in green buildings and net zero energy buildings is anticipated to drive its consumption in the construction sector.

Llyod hopes to garner some of that growth and expand his window tinting company in Farmington, by offering low affordable prices.

To schedule an appointment, call or text Llyod at 1-505-304-1727.

 

 

 

Great Lakes Aviation sues over unpaid fees in Four Corners

in Latest News

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — The city of Farmington says Great Lakes Aviation failed to pay landing fees and terminal fees before the company ceased Four Corners Regional Airport service.

The Daily Times of Farmington, New Mexico, reports Farmington filed a complaint in state district court last week asking for the court to order Great Lakes to pay the alleged unpaid fees.

The city alleges Great Lakes owes $693.88 for landing fees and $2,584.49 for terminal rent in September. It also alleges the airline owes $394.25 in landing fees and $2,311.72 in terminal rent for October.

The Cheyenne, Wyoming-based Great Lakes Aviation offered commercial flights to and from Farmington until November 2017. The airline cited a pilot shortage as the primary reason for leaving the Four Corners Regional Airport.

Great Lakes Aviation CEO Doug Voss says he has not seen the lawsuit.

Potential new coal plant operator offers few new details

in Latest News
D0132B Navajo Generating Station, a 2250 megawatt coal-fired power plant located on the Navajo Indian Reservation near Page, Arizona

By FELICIA FONSECA, Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A Chicago-based company in negotiations to take over a coal-fired power plant in northern Arizona said it would run the generating station at less than half its existing capacity to ensure it’s economical, a company official said Tuesday.

Fewer employees, and a new lease and coal supply agreement also are in the mix as Middle River Power pursues a takeover of the Navajo Generating Station. The current owners of the 2,250-megwatt plant near the Arizona-Utah border are planning to shut it down next year unless someone else buys it, saying power produced by natural gas is cheaper.

Joseph Greco, a senior vice president for Middle River Power, told Arizona utility regulators the company would operate the plant at 44 percent of its capacity, and differently during peak and off-peak demand, making it more economical while ensuring a steady power base. The company offered few other details, citing non-disclosure agreements.

“We believe there is a solution to be made,” Greco said.

The power plant sits on the Navajo Nation and is fed by coal jointly owned by the Navajo and Hopi tribes.
Navajo President Russell Begaye has said a lease agreement with Middle River Power and its parent company, New York-based Avenue Capital, could come before tribal lawmakers at their October session. Still, a sale is considered a longshot.

Tuesday’s meeting before the Arizona Corporation Commission was meant as an update on the plant’s future. The Arizona Corporation Commission doesn’t regulate the power plant or its majority owner, the Salt River Project. But it oversees two Arizona utilities that own shares of the power plant, Tucson Electric Power and Arizona Public Service Co.
The Salt River Project said it’s been in talks with Middle River Power but couldn’t discuss specifics because of a non-disclosure agreement. In the meantime, the utility is working to place employees at the Navajo Generating Station in other jobs at SRP. Deb Scott, senior director of regulatory policy at SRP, said 140 of the 443 employees have left for other jobs, and their previous positions are being filled by contractors.

One of the bigger hurdles for Middle River Power is finding utilities that will buy power from the coal plant.
California and Nevada already are moving away from coal-produced energy. Middle River Power has focused its attention on the Central Arizona Project, which has used the power from the Navajo Generating Station to move water through a canal system to Arizona’s most populous areas but has said it can save money buying power on the open market. Middle River says natural gas is too volatile.

The Navajo Generating Station once was predicted to stay open until 2044, and it’s unclear how long Middle River would run it if a sale is finalized.

Clark Tenakhongva, vice chairman of the Hopi Tribe, said Tuesday that the tribe needs another five to 10 years to better chart its future. Coal revenue provides about 85 percent of the Hopi Tribe’s budget, and thousands of people rely on coal to heat their homes on the Navajo and Hopi reservations.

“If the plant does shut down, that’s another part of the headache I’ll have to address, how am I going to provide heating to all my people up north?” he said.

Coal and lease payments supply about 22 percent of the Navajo Nation budget.

Nicole Horseherder, a Navajo woman who is advocating for the plant to shut down, said she wanted more answers about Middle River’s plans, particularly when it comes to cleaning the site and impacts to tribal members.
“To date, MRP has offered to provide power at competitive prices without a shred of detail on how they will do so or evidence that doing so is even economically feasible,” she wrote to utility regulators.

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