Delegates blast Nez for not working with them
President Jonathan Nez arrived early for his state of the nation address Monday but some delegates wished he came more prepared to talk about the issues that concern the Navajo people.
“Your catalog is nicely printed, but what is the plan of action for each of these priorities? I want to see that,” said Delegate Charlaine Tso. “It also claims, ‘We have laid the groundwork to build a positive and productive working relationship with each member of the 24th Navajo Nation Council for the benefit of our people.’ I can say many will disagree with that.”
Nez presented a glossy printed report illustrated with photos of his administration celebrating achievements such as the recent Nahata Dziil Bashas’ grand opening, a Newcomb NHA Home Modernization Project and a Spelling Bee champs recognition event.
Among his administration’s major achievements, Nez touted having already appointed a full cabinet of educated professionals and said the strategic plan for the executive branch, being prepared by former campaign manager and independent consultant Clara Pratt, will be available by day 100 of the administration (April 23).
The president’s report was very similar in content to a newsletter insert sent out by the OPVP in last week’s Navajo Times. It includes milestones like Navajo receiving $28 million in capital outlay funds from the state of New Mexico, the Nez-Lizer renewable energy proclamation, a food policy initiative, a task force to improve the nation’s financial processes, and the “Buy Navajo, Buy Local” campaign that kicks off Monday, April 22, on “Navajo Sovereignty Day.”
“We really want to challenge our Navajo people to spend more of their hard-earned money here on Navajo,” said Nez.
After the 20-minute speech, delegates shared their thoughts for five minutes each. No one wants to burn bridges with the president’s office, so some delegates were reserved in their critiques, but others were not.
“I’m wondering when we’re going to start addressing some of the issues,” said Charles-Newton. “It’s good that you’re showing up for these events and photo opportunities, but I think it’s time that we start working together.
“When are you going to start working with Council and judicial?” she asked. “The way I see this Council is doing heavy lifting and you are just along for the ride.”