From the Publisher: 60 years of Diné history in the Navajo Times
Tuesday, Aug. 4, marked the 60th anniversary of the Navajo Times, and as we all cruise through this wild and crazy year of 2020, we have a lot to share with all of you.
Just think for a minute about all of the news articles, sports stories, photographs, advertisements, rodeo results and obituaries that have been printed in 60 years of publishing the “Newspaper of the Navajo People.”
That is a lot of information, folks. In fact that’s 60 years of local, regional and national history recorded in the pages of the Navajo Times.
On Thursday, Aug. 4, 1960, the first official edition of the Navajo Times newspaper was published. That first tabloid-sized issue cost 10 cents and the late Paul Jones served as the elected leader of the Navajo Tribe. His official title was chairman of the Navajo Tribal Council.
The major story in that first issue was headlined, “Interior Department final approval next.” It was an article about how the Navajo Tribal Council had just approved final plans and funding to construct a multi-million dollar steam-electric power plant near Fruitland, N.M.
That new, modern power plant was to be called the Four Corners Power Plant and the next step in the construction negotiations was to seek the formal approval of the U.S. Interior Department in Washington, D.C.
Another front-page article detailed the Council’s deliberation and approval of the Fiscal Year 1961 Tribal Program Budget in the total amount of $23.4 million. The headline of that article was “Spending allotted by tribal council.”
An interesting and historical part of that 1961 annual budget process was the Council approved a resolution that officially established the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority Enterprise.
As you can see, there was significant history being made back in 1960 and the Navajo Times was there to record and report those newsworthy events to its readers throughout the Navajo Reservation.
Now, let your mind move forward to 2020, and if you’re an old-timer like me, you can realize the incredible amount of Navajo history that has been documented over the last 60 years in the pages of the Navajo Times newspaper.
For the past six decades, the Navajo Times has gone through many changes in its layout and design, its ownership model, its personnel and leadership. But it has always maintained its original purpose and that is to serve as a voice for the Navajo people.
That purpose is as important and relevant today as it was back in August 1960.
The staff and carriers of the Navajo Times Publishing Company are proud and happy to celebrate the 60th birthday of the award-winning Navajo Times.
It was our plan and intent to share with the general public our celebratory excitement and cheer at many of the tribal fairs and rodeos, conferences, sporting and social events held across the Navajo Nation in 2020. But, due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, we had to cancel those plans.
So we have decided to share our 60th anniversary celebration through the pages of the Navajo Times. We will showcase over the next few months as much history, news and accomplishments of the past 60 years of the Navajo Tribe and Navajo Nation as possible, that were reported in the Navajo Times.
I also want to identify and acknowledge the many employees and newspaper carriers who have worked for the Navajo Times over the last 60 years, and their contributions to its legacy.
I know for a fact that there have been some remarkable, talented and dedicated people who were employed in different departments and offices of the Navajo Times organization and they deserve to be recognized.
I also distinctly remember that some of these old timers had an incredible sense of humor and it was through their ability to make us laugh at their jokes and antics, and at ourselves, too, that got us through some real tough and stressful times.
First and foremost though, on behalf of the many present and past staff members of the Navajo Times, I want to sincerely thank you for all of your support and friendship. Because of you we have been able to survive and succeed for the past 60 years, and we are grateful for that.
During this time of the coronavirus, when we are all dealing daily with stress, worry and sadness, it’s nice to be able to share some good news with you.
We are proud and happy to share our 60th anniversary celebration with all of you – our readers, our advertisers and our Diné people.
As we move forward to the end of 2020, we look forward to hearing from you and your stories, recollections and remembrances of the past 60 years. Let’s all have a fun, great time!