Code talker day back on the table

WINDOW ROCK

Navajo Times | Krista Allen
Herman H. Holiday, son of the late Samuel Tom Holiday, delivers a brief eulogy during his father’s funeral service on June 15 in Oljato-Monument Valley, Utah. The Navajo Nation Council’s Health, Education and Human Services Committee this week passed legislation returning Code Talker Day to paid holiday status, but it still needs approval from the Naabik’iyati Committee and the Navajo Nation Council.

Navajo Code Talkers Day is only two months away and Delegate Raymond Smith this week led a charge to reinstate the day as a paid holiday for the Navajo Nation.

“I’m pleading with the members of HEHSC (Health, Education and Human Services Committee) to support putting this back on as a paid holiday,” said Smith, whose dad was a code talker. “We are losing our code talkers. A lot of descendants are asking to have that day back and have a day off work to honor the fathers who went out there in World War II.”

With a vote of 2-1, the committee issued a “do pass” recommendation for the bill, along with one amendment to include the Fort Defiance Agency Veterans Organization’s supporting resolution as an exhibit.

The legislation moves forward for consideration by the Naabik’íyáti’ Committee. The Navajo Nation Council serves as the final authority on the bill. In April 2017, the Council declared Aug. 14 as an observed holiday rather than a paid holiday, which was sponsored by Health, Education and Human Services Committee member Jonathan Hale.

Supporters of the bill said at the time the controller had told them the Navajo Nation had too many paid holidays, which was lowering staff productivity.

In 1982 President Ronald Reagan issued a presidential proclamation to honor the Navajo Code Talkers by declaring Aug. 14 as “National Navajo Code Talker Day,” and in 2006 the Navajo Nation designated the day as a paid holiday. Bobbie Baldwin, with the Navajo Nation Veterans Administration, said the day is to educate the children about the code talkers and to share the history to those who are unfamiliar with code talkers.

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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 abecenti@navajotimes.com.