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Navajo Nation’s State of the Navajo Nation Address

Navajo Nation’s State of the Navajo Nation Address
October 22
05:48 2021

President Nez and Vice President Lizer present the State of the Navajo Nation Address

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – On Monday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer presented the State of the Navajo Nation Address, on the opening day of the 24th Navajo Nation Council’s Fall Council Session. The address was conducted virtually from the Office of the President and Vice President in Window Rock, Ariz., due to COVID-19 restrictions that limit in-person attendance.
President Nez provided an update on the Executive Branch’s ongoing work to fully implement the American Rescue Plan Act funding. As of Friday, the Navajo Nation has allocated $411 million for defunded CARES Act allocations and appropriations that were previously funded through the Navajo Nation’s Síhasin Fund and Unreserved, Undesignated Fund Balance (UUFB), in accordance with Resolution CJY-41-21, which will create leverage for our Nation to use these funds to address more needs for communities.
The proposed plan for the remaining funds would provide at least $780 million for water, powerlines, broadband, housing, and bathroom additions, $350 million for direct services in communities related to education, health care, mental health, social services, detox centers, senior centers, economic development, and tourism. $220 million would be allocated for chapter projects and $100 million for enterprises. Approximately $207 million has already been approved for another round of hardship assistance for enrolled members of the Navajo Nation.
“We are open to expediting the process to get hardship assistance out to our people as quickly as possible. In order to increase the amount for hardship assistance, it will require the support of the Council to amend Resolution CJY-41-21. The comprehensive project listing compiled by the Executive Branch for the Navajo Nation exceeds $18 billion. Clearly, $2 billion will not meet all of the needs in our communities, but it is a start and it is an opportunity to improve the quality of life for future generations through infrastructure development and other initiatives included in the proposal,” said President Nez.
Vice President Lizer also thanked the Council’s Health, Education, and Human Services Committee for their support and approval of policy amendments that allow the Navajo Veterans Administration to proceed with the construction of new homes for Navajo veterans. On Monday, the Navajo Veterans Administration conducted a site visit to the first location for a new home for a Navajo veteran. Based on the visit, the next step will be to develop a construction schedule to build the home.
“We will have new homes for Navajo veterans built very soon,” said Vice President Lizer. He also noted that the Navajo Veterans Administration is currently conducting home repairs for Navajo veterans who previously received new homes between 2014 and 2017.
Regarding federal issues, President Nez highlighted the recent successful restoration of the Bears Ears National Monument. He recognized and thanked the Navajo Nation Council, past and present members, the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and many others who stood together for many years. President Nez was one of several tribal leaders that was invited to the White House for the signing of the proclamation that restored the national monument to 1.36 million acres.
While in Washington D.C., President Nez had the opportunity to speak directly with President Biden, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, and Asst. Secretary Bryan Newland regarding public safety, infrastructure, missing persons, and other initiatives.
“We spoke about the need to secure more funding to continue extending the Navajo Gallup Water Supply Project to reach more Navajo communities and homes, missing and murdered Indigenous relatives, and the federal infrastructure bill being considered by Congress. Our administration also continues to support Secretary Haaland’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative to identify burial sites and bring our children home,” stated President Nez.
The Nez-Lizer Administration continues to push for the passage of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) Amendments of 2021, which was introduced in the U.S House and Senate on Sept. 22. The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act was first enacted in 1990, then amended in 2000, and is set to expire in 2022. The amendments introduced last month would extend the Act until 2040, expand downwinder eligibility based on geographic residency and expand the range of years that can be used for calculating exposure for certain individuals working in uranium mines, mills, or transporting uranium ore.
“We strongly support this bill, but also urge Congress to go further to include all downwinders, to expand eligibility for coverage under the program to include additional categories of uranium workers and types of cancers and other radiation-related illnesses, and to increase the compensation cap to a minimum of $200,000 per individual regardless of worker classification or category of disease,” added Vice President Lizer.
The State of the Navajo Nation Address also highlighted several road/transportation projects that have made progress in the last few months. In August, President Nez approved $19.5 million to pave existing dirt roads between the communities of Hard Rock and Pinon. The Administration also broke ground on the paving of a seven-mile stretch of N71 in Birdsprings, Ariz. In September, Navajo Division of Transportation also completed the construction of a new two-lane concrete bridge in Tsé Si áni and the replacement of a bridge in Manuelito, N.M. NDOT also recently completed road improvements in Many Farms, Tselani/Cottonwood, and Mariano Lake.
The address also highlighted the Navajo Nation’s opposition to the transfer of uranium mine waste at the Northeast Church Rock abandoned uranium mine site, ongoing work to protect and support the voices of Navajo voters through redistricting at the state level, support for Just Transition funds from the state of Arizona and utility companies to help recover from the closure of coal plants and to support post-coal economies. President Nez also called for the Council’s support to set-aside $50 million from the Síhasin Fund to establish a scholarship endowment to create more funding opportunities for Navajo students.
The 24th Navajo Nation Council voted 19-2 to accept the report. The full State of the Navajo Nation Address is available online at:…/State-of-the-Navajo…. The Nez-Lizer Administration thanks the 24th Navajo Nation Council, Navajo Nation Chief Justice JoAnn B. Jayne, chapter officials, and others for their support.
Navajo Nation’s State of the Navajo Nation Address - overview

Summary: President Nez and Vice President Lizer present the State of the Navajo Nation Address


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