WINDOW ROCK – Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez delivered the State of the Navajo Nation Address before the 24￼Navajo Nation Council on Monday, during the opening day of the Spring Council Session at the Navajo Nation Council Chamber in Window Rock.
Monday’s report from President Nez to the Council marked the second State of the Navajo Nation Address since taking office in mid-January. Vice President Myron Lizer was providing testimony on Monday before the U.S. Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources in support of S. 1079, the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act, a bill to withdraw the federal lands around Chaco Canyon from further mineral development and was unable to attend the Council session.
Well within the first 100 days in office, President Nez announced that the Nez-Lizer Administration has filled all of the division director positions as well as the attorney general and deputy attorney general positions.
“We have a great team of division directors in place who are dedicated to working for the best interests of the Navajo Nation and creating positive change. To move our Nation further, we respectfully ask for the support of the 24th Navajo Nation Council in confirming the cabinet members for the Nez-Lizer Administration,” President Nez stated, while calling on the Nation’s leaders to work together to create the positive change that the Navajo people want.
“In our view, change presents opportunity – the opportunity to work together to strengthen and empower our people and our communities through the teaching we know as, “T’áá hwó’ ajít’éego.” The Nez-Lizer Administration continues to reinforce this teaching within our youth. We need to believe in ourselves individually, collectively, and at the government level to become self-reliant and determine our own future. This is a critical teaching that our administration continues to promote and practice,” stated President Nez.
For many decades, the Navajo Nation has relied heavily on fossil fuels used for revenue and for electricity generation, however, many of our own Diné people remain without electricity to this day, according to President Nez. One major step toward change is redefining the Nation’s approach to energy development.
On April 2, President Nez and Vice President Lizer issued a historic proclamation, known as Navajo Hayoołkaał or Navajo Sunrise, during a ceremony held at the Veterans Memorial Park in Window Rock stating that the Nation will pursue and prioritize clean renewable energy development for the long-term benefit of the Navajo people.
“The time is now for our Nation to transition and prioritize clean renewable energy. Our people, especially the younger people, want change and that’s what our administration is committed to,” added President Nez.
In terms of healthy living and eating, the Nez-Lizer Administration has called for the creation of a Navajo food policy, to establish a food regulatory office that would allow more local Navajo farmers and ranchers to sell their products on the Navajo Nation while having their products inspected in accordance with the policy.
“If the Navajo Nation creates a food industry on the Nation that feeds all of our people then we could even expand to provide foods around the country and maybe even to other countries around the world – that would be true sovereignty at the highest level,” President Nez said.
More Diné people and families need to begin growing their own healthy foods through farming, and we as a Nation need to increase our overall capacity to farm our own lands. Doing so would allow the Nation to become less dependent on outside food sources and further strengthen the Nation’s sovereignty, he added.
To further strengthen the sovereignty of the Navajo Nation, the Nez-Lizer Administration has become a proponent of “Buy Navajo, Buy Local,” which means that we want our Diné people to purchase their products and services on the Navajo Nation from our own people.
“We need to change the mindsets of many to support small businesses on the Navajo Nation as opposed to having our consumers spend millions and millions each year in border towns,” stated President Nez.