Council votes down name change to Diné


It’s Navajo Nation, not Diné Nation.

On the second day of the 23rd Navajo Nation Council’s spring session, lawmakers debated and voted down legislation seeking a name change from Navajo Nation to Diné Nation.

Navajo Nation Seal“We can sit here all we want, and flex whatever we want, but I view it as the underlining acknowledgment of who we are as a people: Diné vs. Navajo,” said Jonathan Hale (Oak Springs/St. Michaels), sponsor of the bill and chairman of the Health, Education and Human Services Committee.

Coming from a suggestion from an elder and the issues that he and the rest of the committee have heard, Hale said these different incidents culminated into the reason for him to sponsor this bill.

“This was the fundamental to bring self-identity to all of us,” said Hale after the vote. “They (other delegates) aren’t inundated with all the information like our oversight…it goes back to your roots, your clans, your homestead.”

The legislation was first introduced during the Navajo Nation Council’s winter session but was tabled in order for a work session to be conducted.

During the April 14 work session, Navajo Nation Controller Perline Kirk said it was difficult to estimate how much it would cost the tribe to change it’s name to Diné.

“Last year for FY 2016, the cost was about half a million as far as the government operations,” said Kirk.

She said other implications would be for employees of the Navajo Nation changing their tax identification number, changes related to external funding, information technology and intellectual property would be affected and other various everyday functions.

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Categories: Politics

About Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reports on Navajo Nation Council, Business, Fort Defiance Agency, New Mexico State politics and Art/fashion. Her clans are Nát'oh dine'é Táchii'nii, Bit'ahnii, Kin łichii'nii, Kiyaa'áanii. She’s originally from Fort Defiance and has a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. Before working for the Navajo Times she was a reporter for the Gallup Independent. She can be reached at