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Displeasure Shown Over Navajo Leaders’ Handling of Women’s Task Force

Displeasure Shown Over Navajo Leaders’ Handling of Women’s Task Force
December 01
05:31 2019

Amber Kanazbah Crotty

By John Christian Hopkins

Last week President Donald Trump issued an executive order to form an inter-agency task force on missing and murdered Indigenous women. As the president signed the order two of the guests in attendance included Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer and his wife, Second Lady Dottie Lizer.

And that was a concern for some advocates of the task force.

Council Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty, long a champion for women and children, said there needs to be more transparency between the Navajo Office of the President/Vice President (OP/VP) and Missing & Murdered Diné Relatives working group.

“The Missing & Murdered Diné Relatives working group initiated work on the missing and murdered issue on the Navajo Nation in March, and we were happy to invite the Office of the President and Vice President to
the table and met with them at that time regarding these issues,” Crotty said. “We have extended several opportunities since then to their office and have not received any consultation regarding the work we have completed on Missing & Murdered Diné Relatives.”

Crotty expressed disappointment that the OP/VP continues to keep her group out of crucial meetings with high-level leadership.

“On behalf of the 24th Navajo Nation Council, I wish to express a deep
concern with the approach the Office of the President and Vice President
has taken in addressing the issues of Missing and Murdered Diné

Navajo VP Lizer

Relatives and Indigenous People,” Crotty said. “Though widely publicized, their involvement has not reflected the best of the Navajo Nation’s efforts to tackle this issue head-on.”

In March, through the leadership of Crotty and the support of
the Office of Navajo Speaker Seth Damon, the Missing & Murdered Diné Relatives working group began developing a strategic plan to support families in addressing missing and murdered relatives.

In June, August and November, the working group held three community forums and established numerous partnerships with grassroots organizations, non-profits, and the Arizona and New Mexico MMIW task forces – who continue to consult and work directly with the Missing & Murdered Diné Relatives working group.

“The work of Missing & Murdered Diné Relatives is ongoing and we are incredibly happy that our partnering stakeholders honor our work and consult with us as we all are finding solutions to the missing and
murdered crisis … We call on President Nez to provide the same courtesy because we are all working towards the same goal – credit does not belong to one entity alone,” Damon said.

Meskee Yatsayte, founder and volunteer advocate for the Navajo Nation
Missing Persons Updates said she had hoped President Jonathan Nez
would continue monthly meetings as promised with families of the missing and murdered, however, he has only met with the group once, in August, since December 2018.

The Missing & Murdered Diné Relatives working group is a collective of volunteer members working to establish a data institute to track missing and murdered cases, support Navajo law enforcement, and to provide research on the issue to develop solutions and provide policy
recommendations.

In addition to the data institute, the working group continues to hold community forums and is developing a community toolkit that would directly aid families who may have a relative that has gone
missing.
For more information on the Missing & Murdered Diné Relatives’
initiatives, please email [email protected] or call (928) 380-4174.

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