Published August 21, 2017
TSE BONITO, NEW MEXICO – This week, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (D – AZ) and congressional staff from the offices of Sen. Martin Heinrich (D – NM), Sen. Mike Lee (R – UT), Sen. John McCain (R – AZ), and Sen. Tom Udall (D – NM), participated in site visits on the Navajo Nation to gain a firsthand perspective on several issues that are impacting Navajo communities.
The congressional delegation visited the communities of Tuba City, Aneth, St. Michaels, Kin Dah Lichii, Greasewood Springs, Dził-Na-O-Dith-Hle, and Crownpoint. The site visits began on Tuesday and concluded on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Council Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty (Beclabito, Cove, Gadi’i’áhi/To’Koi, Red Valley, Tooh Haltsooi, Toadlena/Two Grey Hills, Tsé ałnáoz’t’I’í) provided a welcome address to the visiting delegation at the Navajo Nation Division of Transportation and thanked them for taking the time to visit the Navajo Nation and its people.
“Whether we speak in formal or informal conversations, I appreciate you taking the time to come out here and see the complexities and challenges that the Navajo Nation faces,” said Delegate Crotty. “We must also remember that we have to think of issues in areas near to and in the border towns.”
Delegate Crotty stressed the need for public safety support and resources, such as funding and assistance to aid in implementing the Violence Against Women Act and the Tribal Law and Order Act, which were passed by Congress in recent years.
“In the last three years we have lost three police officers. Public safety is one of our priority issues and we need your help. We need to expand VAWA, TLOA, and any other laws that will safeguard our people. The Navajo Nation has the infrastructure already set up to implement these systems, but we need the money to make it work,” said Delegate Crotty.
Delegate Crotty also implored congressional leaders and federal officials to increase advocacy efforts on behalf of the Navajo Nation for federal funding and initiatives that support Navajo Nation programs.
She touched on several other issues such as uranium mine cleanups and health concerns, requesting support for AMBER Alert funding and other emergency services, health care, education, road infrastructure, water rights, and the Gold King Mine spill.
“The Gold King Mine Spill was a direct assault on our people, our children, our families, and our farmers. It impacted our people, it impacted our farming, and it impacted our livelihood. We need help from our representatives to provide the justice our people and local communities in that area deserve,” added Delegate Crotty.
She added that water rights are important to the Navajo people and emphasized that the Nation needs tremendous support from congressional leadership to aid in protecting the Navajo Nation’s water resources.
“Our water resources are precious and we want to reassert our water rights, because we need it for community development, education, and health. Healthy running water makes healthy communities,” said Delegate Crotty.
Also attending the congressional delegation meeting included Council Delegates Benjamin L. Bennett (Crystal, Fort Defiance, Red Lake, Sawmill), Davis Filfred (Mexican Water, Aneth, Teecnospos, Tółikan, Red Mesa), Otto Tso (Tó Nanees Dizí), and Leonard Tsosie (Baca/Prewitt, Casamero Lake, Counselor, Littlewater, Ojo Encino, Pueblo Pintado, Torreon, Whitehorse Lake).