Monday, October 2, 2023

Begaye to chapter officials: Grow up!

Begaye to chapter officials: Grow up!


President Russell Begaye called out chapter officials in his state of the nation address before the Navajo Nation Council Monday, stressing that they have to be accountable to their people.

Navajo Times | Rima Krisst
Delegate Otto Tso approaches President Russell Begaye with questions after the state of the nation address in the Council Chambers.

“How long are the chapters going to be treated like children?” Begaye asked. “You guys are adults, grown men and women. Stop fighting and stop mismanaging the people’s money and make good decisions on behalf of your people. You were elected because people placed their faith and trust in you. It’s time to grow up.”

The chiding struck some observers as ironic. They noted Begaye might consider this kind of tough-talk approach with his daughter, former legal counsel Karis Begaye, recently charged with DWI and totaling a Navajo Nation vehicle. Tribal investigators are now demanding reimbursement for the vehicle.

Begaye also said his administration is making a “paradigm shift” on the Nation from being dependent on natural resources like coal, oil and power plants to being technically driven. He cited additive manufacturing, 3D printing, building high-tech gadgets, robotics, and drones as areas for growth and new industry.

Begaye, who is running for a second term, also spoke of opportunities in the solar, wind, and tourism sectors.

Begaye expressed strong opposition to the recently proposed reorganization plan put forth by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which he said would eliminate the Navajo region, split the Nation into two regions, violate the federal government’s treaty promises, and jeopardize sovereignty, all without proper consultation.

Begaye and his team are working at the congressional level to “right a wrong” when it comes to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, and compensate those uranium miners who have been exposed to radiation, but haven’t been compensated by the limited original provisions of RECA, enacted in 1990.

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About The Author

Rima Krisst

Reporter and photojournalist Rima Krisst reported for the Navajo Times from July 2018 to October 2022. She covered Arts and Culture and Government Affairs beats.Before joining the editorial team at the Times, Krisst worked in various capacities in the areas of communications, public relations, marketing and Indian Affairs policy on behalf of the Tribes, Nations and Pueblos of New Mexico. Among her posts, she served as Director of PR and Communications for the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department under Governor Bill Richardson, Healthcare Outreach and Education Manager for the Eight Northern Pueblos, Tribal Tourism Liaison for the City of Santa Fe, and Marketing Projects Coordinator for Santa Fe Indian Market. As a writer and photographer, she has also worked independently as a contractor on many special projects, and her work has been published in magazines. Krisst earned her B.S. in Business Administration/Finance from the University of Connecticut.


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