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Navajo Council Opens Session Without President

Navajo Council Opens Session Without President
January 28
08:38 2016

The Navajo Nation Council began its winter session this week in an unusual way: it did not let President Russell Begaye deliver the State of the Nation report.

Ironically, in his report to the council, Speaker LoRenzo Bates stressed a need for cooperation between tribal leaders.

It’s unclear why Begaye wasn’t able to deliver the speech. He was apparently on his way to council chambers when delegates decided to move forward without him.

It would have been Begaye’s second address to council.

Instead of waiting for Begaye, the council voted to accept his written report.

“If council had any questions on our report, we were here to answer them,” Begaye said in a press release.

When he arrived, council did allow Begaye to make a few remarks. He later delivered his full report via KTNN, the Navajo Nation’s radio station.

“There is definitely more to look forward to,” Begaye said.

The president was not bothered by not being allowed to give an oral report before council.

“Our administration is based on a foundation of ethics and transparency. Whether we present these reports before council, standing committees or the area chapters, we always present information with the intention of providing a complete and thorough overview of our projects, initiatives and priorities,” Begaye said in a statement.

Meanwhile, in his own report, Bates said the tribe’s legislative branch needs to work more closely with the executive and judicial branches.

“We cannot move forward and help our people without collaboration between the branches of government,” said Bates.

Begaye has been in office for eight months, following one of the oddest elections in Navajo history. Court challenges waylaid the scheduled 2014 presidential election and it wasn’t until late spring of 2015 that Begaye won an election against former Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr.

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