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Area Briefs: Case against Greyeyes’ election victory tossed


The Utah Supreme Court tossed out a lawsuit Sept. 30 filed by a Republican candidate trying to overturn the victory of a Navajo commissioner in a county dogged by allegations of discrimination against Navajo voters.

Special to the Times|Krista Allen
Willie Grayeyes, left, talks to Paul Smallcanyon after he voted at Naatsis’aan Chapter Tuesday. Grayeyes won a seat on the San Juan County (Utah) Commission.

Kelly Laws filed a lawsuit in January 2019, after losing the race to Democrat Willie Grayeyes in San Juan County. He claimed that Grayeyes was not truly a Utah resident, but the high court ruled Laws did not have standing to challenge his victory.

County officials had tried to remove Grayeyes from the ballot before the election for the same reason, saying an investigation sparked by a complaint from a different Republican hopeful found that he lives primarily over the nearby Arizona border.

A federal judge reversed that decision after deciding the county clerk falsified the complaint by improperly backdating it. U.S. District Judge David Nuffer did not rule directly on the residency issue, however.

Grayeyes has called the residency question a political attack as Navajos were poised to form a majority of the three-person commission for the first time.

He has been registered to vote in San Juan County since he was 18 and held leadership positions in Utah for decades, his lawyers have said.

Laws’ attorney Peter Stirba did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

For Indigenous People’s Day, 34-mile horse ride planned

SMITH LAKE, N.M. – Oct. 11 marks Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which honors the cultures and histories of tribes across the country, and the 34-mile Indigenous Peoples’ Day Horse Ride will begin at 8 a.m. at Cornerstone Ministry Center (1299 N.M., Highway 371) and travel west to Rehoboth Christian School.

Stops will include:

• Travel west on Navajo Route 49 and stop at a dirt road turnoff at 5.5 miles.
• Mariano Lake School at 11.1 miles.
• Gated stop at 16.5 miles.
• Break for lunch at 21.9 miles.
• Turn south onto N.M. Highway 566 and stop at the Speedway store in Church Rock at 26.5 miles.
• Navajo Housing Authority at 29.7 miles.
• Turn west onto Historic Route 66 and stop at Fire Rock Casino at 32.2 miles

The riders are expected to arrive at Rehoboth after 2 pm. Riders can join the ride at exchange areas along the route, where water will be provided for horses.

All riders can join at the Fire Rock Casino exchange area to ride the final 1.8 miles together.

‘Uncontrolled spread’ notices sent to 35 chapters

WINDOW ROCK– On Monday, the Navajo Department of Health issued a health advisory notice to 35 chapters due to the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 based on cases from Sept. 17 to Sept. 30.

The chapters are Baca/Prewitt, Becenti, Bread Springs, Cameron, Chichiltah, Chinle, Church Rock, Coyote Canyon, Crownpoint, Dennehotso, Ganado, Indian Wells, Iyanbito, Kaibeto, Kayenta, Leupp, Manuelito, Nageezi, Naschitti, Pinedale, Piñon, Rock Springs, Sheepsprings, Shiprock, Teec Nos Pos, Teesto, Thoreau, Tohatchi, Tonalea-Red Lake, Tsayatoh, Tuba City, Twin Lakes, Two Grey Hills, Upper Fruitland and White Horse Lake.


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