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Capital Briefs | 6th Navajo Education Conference


Female Navajo leaders, the decolonization of education and the future of Navajo teaching and learning are some of the topics and research that more than 80 Navajo education leaders and scholars will discuss when they gather for the 6th annual Navajo Education Conference at the Navajo Nation Museum today and Friday.

The conference is organized and sponsored by the Navajo Nation, the Office of Navajo Nation Scholarship and Financial Assistance, the Navajo Nation Teacher Education Consortium, the Department of Diné Education, and the Fielding Graduate University.

Barbara Mink dean of the School of Leadership Studies for Fielding Graduate University, said, “Developing the human capital in Indian Country, in particular, in the Navajo Nation, is paramount to achieving education sovereignty.”

Longtime educators and emerging scholars will be among the teachers, administrators, and counselors who will convene at the museum.

Many earned doctoral degrees from Fielding through a partnership with the Navajo Nation that began nearly two decades ago and continues to thrive. Nearly 30 Navajo doctoral students earned degrees.

Rolanda Billy, with a doctorate in education, will present research on enhancing culturally relevant education for Head Start children.

Miranda Haskie, with a doctorate in education, will present a session on preserving the Diné language.

Rose Graham, manager of the Navajo scholarship office, said, “Fielding stepped in to offer a program to help Navajo educators enhance their credentials with an advanced degree without uprooting them from the communities where they are truly needed.”

Rock Springs breaks ground for 10 new homes

ROCK SPRINGS, N.M. — Rock Springs Chapter on Tuesday broke ground for the construction of 10 housing units.

The public rental units will be two-bedroom apartments for couples, small families and elderly from the region.

One home will be built to meet Americans with Disabilities Act regulations and is wheelchair accessible.

Arviso Construction of Iyanbito is working with Dyron Murphy Architects on the project’s first phase.

Maureen Curley, CEO of Arviso Construction, said, “This project will begin next week with our contractors from Arviso Construction, a Navajo-owned company.

“There are also plans to build more homes at the Rock Springs Chapter,” Curley said.

According to Navajo Housing Authority, Rock Springs has 41 acres ready for new development Bááhaalí Chapter has 88, Red Rock Chapter has 160 and Manuelito Chapter has 144 acres for new construction.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that around 60,000-plus new homes are needed to meet the growing needs of the Navajo people.

NHA is working on 50-plus housing projects across the Navajo Nation in the next year.
NHA Commissioner Tammy Yazzie said, “These 10 public rental units are just the first phase of our larger vision for the Navajo Nation.

“Building new homes and NHA neighborhoods begin at the grassroots level with the support of the communities we serve,” he said. “Thinking ahead, these houses and apartment units will become a home for those who need it most.”

For working on the project since 2015, Speaker Seth Damon expressed appreciation to Legislative District Assistant Lester Yazzie, Brian Reid, Earl Tulley and the late Victor McCray.
Also at the groundbreaking were President Jonathan Nez, NHA Chief Operations Officer Dwayne Waseta, and local community leaders.

‘Uncontrolled spread’ warning sent to 63 chapters

WINDOW ROCK – On Monday, based on the number of cases from July 8 to 21, the Navajo Department of Health issued a health advisory notice warning of the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 to 63 of the 110 chapters.

The chapters are Aneth, Baca/Prewitt, Becenti, Beclabito, Black Mesa, Cameron, Chichiltah, Chinle, Church Rock, Coyote Canyon, Crownpoint, Crystal, Dennehotso, and
Dilkon, Forest Lake, Fort Defiance, Ganado, Hogback, Houck, Indian Wells, Iyanbito, Jeddito, Kaibeto, Kayenta, Lake Valley, Leupp, Littlewater, Low Mountain, Lukachukai, and
Lupton, Manuelito, Many Farms, Nahodishgish, Navajo Mountain, Nazlini. Nenahnezad, Newcomb, Oak Springs, Pinon, Ramah, Red Lake, Red Valley, Rock Point, and
Rock Springs, Rough Rock, Sanostee, Sheepsprings, Shiprock, Shonto, Smith Lake, St. Michaels, Standing Rock, Tachee/Blue Gap, Teecnospos, Teesto, and
Thoreau, Tohatchi, Tonalea, Tsaile/Wheatfields, Tsayatoh, Tuba City, Twin Lakes and Upper Fruitland.

Na’ha’ta Dziil celebrates new bridge

WINDOW ROCK – Na’ha’ta Dziil Chapter officials on Monday celebrated the new two-lane bridge along Navajo Route 2007 located along Interstate 40.

The new bridge replaces a previous structure that was built in 1942.

Construction included a new four-span concrete bridge, pavement, lane striping, grading, installation of guardrails and nine piers, right-of-way fencing, and other work.

In 2014, $18 million was secured through the Federal Highway Administration’s Tribal Transportation Program for the project.

However, the project was delayed due to increases in pricing and the need for more money.

Na’ha’ta Dziil Governance Commission President Darryl Ahasteen talked about the bridge’s history, challenges and delays that residents had to deal with for many years.

Garret Silversmith, director of the Navajo Division of Transportation, said, “We thank all past and current leaders who made this project a priority for the community. The combined efforts and working together made this possible for the community.”

Fiber-optic company delivers $15K check

WINDOW ROCK – On Julu 20, Speaker Seth Damon and Delegate Rickie Nez welcomed Arcadian Infracom officials who presented a $15,500 check to finance the first fiber optic communications network along the Navajo Nation rights-of-way.

Joined by Delegate Thomas Walker Jr., Nez accepted the first revenue sharing check from Arcadian CEO and co-founder Dan Davis, according to the speaker’s office.

Nez said, “The Navajo Nation is in dire need to generate more revenue as we are going through unprecedented times and Mr. Davis and his company will help kickstart the revitalization of our economy.”

The fiber project will connect the Navajo Nation to Phoenix, then Salt Lake City and routing to Denver and Los Angeles.

This project will enable the Navajo Nation to have a bigger presence on the global stage due to improved high-speed internet access, the speaker’s office said.

Laguna receives ARPA funds for Route 66 projects

WASHINGTON – Democrats on New Mexico’s congressional delegation on Friday announced Laguna Development Advancement will receive $875,000 to plan and design a facility to support projects along the Route 66 corridor.

The American Rescue Plan included funds for the Indigenous Communities program, which allocates $100 million to support the needs of tribal governments and Indigenous communities.
The program aims to develop and execute economic development projects to recover from the pandemic and build economies.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., said, “Thanks to this federal funding, tourists hitting the road and traveling down the historic Route 66 highway will have more opportunities to stop by and show their support for Laguna Pueblo businesses.”

The funds were also supported by Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., and Rep. Melanie Stansbury, D-N.M.


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