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Navajo VP Nez Meets with Utah Guv

Navajo VP Nez Meets with Utah Guv
September 12
14:04 2017

Nez and Herbert in Bluff

BLUFF, Utah – In a meeting on Sept. 5, Vice President Jonathan Nez asked Utah Governor Gary Herbert to express support for Bears Ears National Monument to President Donald Trump.

Vice President Nez said he appreciates the government-to-government discussion and that the actions taken by Native Americans to protect Bears Ears are progress helping us to unite.

“We want to move forward together with this national monument for the benefit of future generations,” Vice President Nez said. “You are able to recommend that position to the President as well.”

On April 26, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to review and report on many of the national monuments designated or expanded since Jan. 1, 1996. In an interim report in June, Zinke recommended the reduction of Bears Ears National Monument, which was designated by President Barack Obama on Dec. 28, 2016. Recently, his final recommendation was submitted to President Trump, however, the details of his recommendation are not yet known.

There are concerns from tribes that his recommendation to reduce the monument has not changed. If this proves to be the case, the Navajo Nation will strongly oppose the decision.

“I support Bears Ears and its designation should remain as is, with no decrease in size,” said President Russell Begaye. “Our goal is to protect all sacred sites within the area.”

In addition to the Navajo Nation’s support for Bears Ears National Monument, Vice President Nez informed Governor Herbert about the Begaye-Nez administration’s four pillars: veterans, youth and elders, infrastructure and employment.

As part of this message, Vice President Nez advocated for the state to help disseminate information on veterans benefits in Utah Navajo, pursue further measures to aid with the recruitment and retention of teachers, continue promoting cultural education with staff diversity training and resources for language programs, build a road from Navajo Mountain to Olijato-Monument Valley, and use Bears Ears National Monument for economic development.

“If we all work together on economic and community development, we can bring a lot of our family members home so our fathers can take on their obligation of being a parent,” said Vice President Nez. “We can bring our parents back together again.”

Vice President Nez also encouraged Governor Herbert to send his staffers to Utah Navajo communities.

In August, congressional staffers from Senator Mike Lee’s office came to the Navajo Nation and received a tour of a uranium site. With visits to Utah Navajo communities, Governor Herbert’s staffers can experience what we experience and give him guidance on how all of us can work together to help our people attain the tools necessary for survival and self-reliance.

The importance of government-to-government relations is to establish open communication. The meeting with Vice President Nez, Utah Navajo Chapter Presidents, tribal leaders and Governor Herbert is part of a process to develop a strong relationship between the Navajo Nation and the state of Utah.

It is of utmost importance to continue these discussions and work with one another for the good of all. Bears Ears needs to be protected, our veterans should be respected, our children deserve a quality education, and our people should be able to breathe clean air and drink clean water.

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