Published July 18, 2017
WINDOW ROCK – The 23rd Navajo Nation Council voted 16-0 with 8 abstaining to accept the report of President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez as they presented the State of the Navajo Nation Address (SONNA) before the opening 2017 Summer Council Session today.
After entering the chambers and being seated, President Begaye and Vice President Nez thanked the Council for the opportunity to present the SONNA while recognizing honored guests and officials in the audience.
The address focused on empowering both the Navajo people and Navajo communities through the development of housing, infrastructure and economic endeavors.
In addressing housing, President Begaye said that the Navajo Nation can move toward becoming a self-sustaining nation through the building of homes for tribal members.
The president emphasized the importance of utilizing the Naat’áanii Development Corporation in addressing the potential loss of revenue that will be created as the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) shuts down in 2019.
“The passage of the NGS Replacement Lease has provided a certain direction to the future of energy production and supply on the Navajo Nation,” President Begaye said. “The Navajo Nation is now an energy tribe with access to 500 megawatts. This alone can bring in more revenue than the coal industry has been providing the Nation.”
Vice President Nez told the Council that serving the Navajo Veterans community has remained a top priority for the Administration.
“The Office of the President and Vice President assisted the Navajo Veterans Administration in holding the first annual Navajo Nation Veteran’s Summit at Dine College last week,” said Vice President Nez. “In order to provide more comprehensive assistance to our Navajo Veterans, both on and off the reservation, we must network with service providers while pushing legislation that is assistive to our vets.”
President Begaye also addressed the Office of Navajo Hopi Indian Relocation (ONHIR) and reiterated that “our position has been consistent that OHNIR should not close until it has fulfilled all of its obligations under the Navajo Hopi Settlement Act.”
In light of his position on ONHIR’s potential closure, President Begaye said the Nation must be prepared should closure occur.
“Either President Trump has the authority to close ONHIR or Congress can cease funding,” he said. “As such, the ONHIR transition team has been addressing the situation of a possible closure.”
Both the president and vice president thanked Council for their assistance in confirming the appointments of the Directors of Health and General Services. They also recognized Council’s efforts in addressing the NGS Replacement Lease and the establishment of the Naat’áanii Development Corporation along with its accompanying federal charter.
President Begaye and Vice President Nez called for continued collaboration between all branches of government to bring positive progress for the Navajo people.
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