Mann urges a new nation built on Navajo law

By Krista Allen
Western Agency Bureau

TONALEA, Ariz., July 10, 2014

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Kee Yazzie Mann

He is one of five presidential candidates from Western Navajo seeking the highest office in the land.

A life of public service and willingness to fight for principle have prompted Kee Yazzie Mann Sr. to toss his black cowboy hat into the ring.

With more than a month to go before the primary election, he hasn't officially announced his presidency and he isn't even campaigning.

When asked why, Mann said he wants to keep a low profile by not swinging just yet.

"If I start doing that, I might say something wrong," said the legislative district assistant to Council Delegate Duane Tsinigine (Bodaway-Gap/Coppermine/Kaibeto/LeChee/Tonalea).

Born and raised in Kaibeto, Mann considers himself an "all-around cowboy," or an omnist, the belief in all religions.

He told the Navajo Times in a straightforward manner that he's running for office to "get the s**t done."

Perhaps Mann is the most revolutionary force of the 17 candidates. But can he lead the Navajo Nation?

"I'm already a leader. I'm already up there helping people," retorted Mann. "I want to be the head honcho in the executive branch to serve the people.

"I'll be heading the support service system to the 110 chapters," he said. "I know what to do with the system. Our foundation has been built. And we should keep on building on it instead of tearing it down."

Being in school for most of his life, Mann says if he's elected into office, he'll develop a new nation according to Navajo Nation laws, the blueprint which former leaders have left.

"It's our guidance. I don't think the executive branch studies it. If they did, we'd have better schools instead of sending children off to border town academies," said Mann.

He has decades of political experience under his belt including degrees in criminal justice and sociology from Northern Arizona University.

"Experience is essential because experience will tell anybody that you're not lazy," continued Mann, who now lives in Rough Rock, Ariz., with his wife, Rena. "Experience tells you what kind of life you're living, the kind of life you've lived and how healthy you are."

Mann was born on Jan. 19, 1945, to the late James and Rose Mann. He is Yé'ii Dine'é Táchii'nii, born for Naadáálgai Dine'é Tábaahá. His maternal grandparents are Tl'’z’lán’, and his paternal grandparents are Honágháahnii.

"Navajo Nation is a welfare and resolution government," added Mann. "We need to change that. Resolution is OK, but we need to change the Ôwelfare' and put people to work. We have the expertise we are welders we know how to swing a hammer, how to paint, and how to build things. We're artistic. We're smart and all we need is to get somebody to lead us, and that somebody is Kee Yazzie Mann."

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