Capital Briefs | Fallen officers on Navajo Police Officers Day
Navajo Nation Police Officers Day is observed the second Friday of May to recognize officers and to pay tribute to fallen officers, according to the Judicial Branch.
The Officer Down Memorial Pages lists the following Navajo Division of Public Safety fallen officers:
• Esther Charley (2020)
• Michael Lee (2020)
• Houston James Largo (2017)
• LeAnder Frank (2016)
• Alex K. Yazzie (2015)
• Ernest Jesus Montoya Sr. (2014)
• Darrell Cervandez Curley (2011)
• Winsonfred A. Filfred (1999)
• Esther Todecheene (1998)
• Samuel Anthony Redhouse (1997)
• Hoskie Allen Gene (1996)
• Andy Begay (1987)
• Roy Lee Stanley (1987)
• Loren Whitehat Sr. (1979)
• Burton Begay (1975)
• Gordon C. James (1960)
• Hoska Thompson (1949)
Special session to consider ARPA spending bill
WINDOW ROCK – The Navajo Nation Council will meet in special session Friday to once again kick around the political football of how to spend $1 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act.
On April 4, Council voted down a bill to spend the money on water projects, electricity, broadband connectivity, housing, and other needs.
Since then, the president’s office reports, Navajo Nation experts have worked to develop a new bill based on meetings with chapter officials, agency councils, Council delegates, and proposals submitted through the Division of Community Development’s online portal.
The Council’s latest attempt to approve a spending plan will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Friday.
The new bill, sponsored by Delegate Mark Freeland and several other delegates, proposes the following allocations:
• For water/wastewater development, $215 million;
• For home electricity connections, $96 million;
• For ·housing for families and veterans, $165 million;
• For broadband connections, $120 million;
• For bathroom additions, $150 million;
• For chapter priorities, $81 million;
• For rural addressing, $30 million;
• For E911/Public Safety, $5 million;
• For ·health care/mental health services, $79 million;
• For cyber security, $5 million;
• For economic development, $45 million; and
• For Hardship Assistance, $120 million.
Based on concerns expressed by delegates and local leaders, this new legislation is a compromise that incorporates $745,000 for each of the 110 chapters for local priorities and initiatives.
The $120 million for Hardship Assistance is included to ensure there is enough money to cover the growing number of applicants and newly-enrolled members who are seeking payments.
The president’s office does not support a separate bill that would divide the $1 billion equally among the 24 delegate regions to be allocated at the discretion of each delegate. Each delegate would oversee $45 million.
Navajo Nation citizens are asked to submit written comments on the new proposal by e-mail to email@example.com and to Navajo Nation Council delegates at 24thNNC@navajo-nsn.gov
‘Navajo Warriors,’ nursing home resolution signed
CHINLE — A Navajo Nation Council resolution that approves $29 million for the new “Navajo Warriors Home” was signed into law on Monday, the president’s office reports.
The 60-bed nursing home for Navajo veterans will be the first of its kind in the Navajo Nation.
The bill was sponsored by Delegate Carl Slater and Delegate Eugene Tso and was approved by Council with a unanimous vote on April 20.
Slater said, “With the approval of funding, our Nation is prioritizing the care of our veterans so that they no longer have to seek nursing home services hundreds of miles away from our homelands.
“They are our warriors,” he said, “and they deserve these types of services closer to home so they can be near their loved ones within our sacred mountains.
Navajoland Nursing Homes Inc. will oversee the construction and operation of the Navajo Warriors nursing home in Chinle.
Wayne Claw, CEO of Navajoland Nursing Homes Inc., who oversees the Dr. Guy Gorman Senior Care Center in Chinle, said work on this facility began in 2005.
“We have to take care of our veterans on the lands they have protected for us on the battlefields,” Claw said. “We welcomed our veterans back home when they completed their service, and now, we have to take care of them.”
President Jonathan Nez said, “We have a long, proud history of military service among the First People of this country. We are very thankful for the service and sacrifices of our veterans, and we thank all past and present leaders who advocated for this initiative.”
The Chinle Agency Veterans Organization and Chinle Chapter officials also attended the signing ceremony in Chinle on Monday.
$3.6M for electrical upgrade for Pine Hill School signed into law
WINDOW ROCK — On Monday, the Navajo Nation Council resolution appropriated $3.6 million from the Navajo Nation’s Síhasin Fund to upgrade and replace the Pine Hill School’s high-voltage electrical system was signed into law.
The funding will resolve the school’s reoccurring power outages and electrical problems caused by the current electrical system installed in the early 1970s.
The outages also affected nearby facilities, including the community’s health center.
The Council approved the resolution with a unanimous vote on April 21. Delegate Jamie Henio had introduced the bill.
President Jonathan Nez said, “This has been a longstanding issue for the students, teachers, and administrators. Today, we are proud to sign this bill into law to provide the funding that is needed to replace the electrical system and resolve the problem.”
The Nation will also continue to seek reimbursement from the federal government for the electrical system under the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The Division of Community Development has worked closely with the BIA and BIE to replace the system with federal resources. Still, replacement required immediate action to avoid greater problems for the school’s operations.
New criminal penalties for dog attacks
WINDOW ROCK – On Monday, the Navajo Nation Council resolution that sets criminal penalties for owners of free-roaming dogs and other animals that attack people was signed into law, the president’s office reports.
The resolution was approved by Council on April 19.
According to the Animal Control Program, approximately 3,000 animal-related injuries were reported last year.
The amended law specifies dog attacks as a criminal nuisance and establishes increased maximum fines and prison sentences.
The maximum fine amount is $1,000 and maximum sentence is 30 days. The previous fine amount was $500.
In addition, if found guilty, a pet owner will pay restitution for any costs incurred by the victims due to any physical or mental injury or death.
President Jonathan Nez said, “Through spaying, neutering, and vaccination, responsible pet stewardship can reduce the population of strays that wander and become aggressive due to the lack of care and socialization.”
First lady Phefelia Nez and second lady Dottie Lizer continue to work with nonprofits to offer affordable spay/neuter and vaccine services.
The Navajo Nation Veterinary Program also offers animal services. More information is available on their website at https://www.navajoveterinaryprogram.com/index.html
IHS announces $5M for Alzheimer’s
ROCKVILLE, Md. – The Indian Health Service announced $5 million to confront Alzheimer’s disease, the agency announced Monday.
The funds will be targeted directly to tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian organizations, and IHS facilities.
This marks the first time IHS will allocate funds for this critical need.
“Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that affects an estimated 5.5 million Americans,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.
In December 2021, Becerra announced an update to the department’s National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, which for the first time includes a goal focused on work being done to promote healthy aging and reduce risks that may contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
A recent study on 2014 Medicare data estimated the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias at 10.5% in American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Between 2014 to 2060, the number of Native Americans and Alaska Natives 65 and older living with memory loss is projected to grow more than five times.
Today, one of every five Native American and Alaska Native adults 45 and older reports experiencing subjective cognitive decline, which can be a precursor to dementia.
Congress appropriated $10.5 million for Alzheimer’s grants in fiscal 2021 and 2022. In March 2021, the IHS initiated tribal consultation and urban conferences. IHS’s announcement on funding decisions for $5.5 million in fiscal 2022 is forthcoming.
Nurses appreciation week recognized
WINDOW ROCK – A proclamation was signed on last Friday designating the week of May 6 to 12 as Navajo Nation Nurses Appreciation Week, following National Nurses Week across the U.S., the president’s office reports.
Nurses, Community Health Representatives, and other health workers are on the frontlines battling COVID-19 every day, the president’s office said, and continue to take risks and make sacrifices that impact their families.
President Jonathan Nez said, “Please show your appreciation to all nurses and continue to offer prayers for them and our entire Navajo Nation.”
Crotty receives Roehrig award
WINDOW R0CK – Last Friday, Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty was honored by the Southwest Indigenous Women’s Coalition with the Eleanor Roehrig Advocate Award.
The award is for her commitment, compassion and respect in responding to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.
She received the award with five others at the 7th Gathering for Healthy Relations Conference in Tucson.
Eleanor Roehrig was a fierce champion for Indigenous women and girls. A member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, she passed away in January 2010.
As a founding member and the first president of the coalition’s governing board, Roehrig worked tirelessly so women could live their lives free of violence.
Crotty said, “Serving as the Sexual Assault Prevention Subcommittee chair, I have seen our relatives deal with unbearable violence and many remain missing today.
“I am deeply honored to accept this award on behalf of our resilient Diné women,” she said.
Others receiving the award include LGBTQ+ leader Lenny Hayes, victim advocate Janice Patch, Pascua Yaqui Attorney General Alfred Urbina, and community health educator Vurlene Notsinneh-Bowekaty.
Diné contestants at College National Finals Rodeo honored
WINDOW ROCK – Hiyo Yazzie of Brimhall, New Mexico, will compete in the tie-down and team roping and Rooster Yazzie of Coyote Canyon, New Mexico, will compete in the steer wrestling at the College National Finals Rodeo set for June 12 to 18 in Casper, Wyo.
Both attend Navajo Technical University and Delegate Wilson Stewart Jr. applauded the student-athletes.
Stewart said, “The Navajo people love the sport of rodeo and are deeply proud of Hiyo and Rooster for representing us at the College National Finals Rodeo. We have witnessed their accomplishments in the rodeo arena and the Navajo Tech classroom through the years. We wish them well as they compete to become national champions in their events.”
Both are earning certificates with NTU’s heavy equipment program and are completing work for commercial driver’s licenses.
The Skyhawk men’s rodeo team is currently in fourth place in the Grand Canyon Region, behind Mesalands Community College, New Mexico State University, and Central Arizona College.
Other qualifiers for the college finals from the Navajo Nation include Brad Moreno of Kayenta in bull riding and Jaken Todacheenie of Indian Wells, Ariz., in team roping.