Hale questions chapter misuse of money

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye answers questions posed to him by members of the 23rd Navajo Nation Council during the summer session in Window Rock.

WINDOW ROCK

An issue not discussed in the state of the nation report by President Russell Begaye on Monday was embezzlement of money by chapter officials.

Delegate Jonathan Hale said there is no real supervision at the chapters and suggested that the whole structure be revisited.

“We are working with the FBI office in terms of white-collar crime, we get this on regular basis,” said Begaye.

He also mentioned that tips received about these crimes are taken seriously and are given to the Navajo Nation Department of Justice and FBI.

“We are asking for the FBI and Navajo Nation to partner in terms of hiring former FBI investigators to help us with these white-collar crimes especially at the chapter level,” said Begaye.

Homes for veterans, establishing a Navajo bank, the closing of the Office of Navajo-Hopi Indian Relocation and the Amber Alert were among the issues discussed during Begaye’s state of the Navajo Nation address, which began the first day of summer session.

Another issue Begaye did not address was the status of establishing the Amber Alert on the Navajo Nation.

Delegate Amber Crotty has made it her mission to see a system up and running on the Nation, but it’s taking longer than expected. The software needed to implement the program has not been acquired by the tribe. She asked Begaye to make this priority.

“Use the weight that you have of your office to make sure that this is not only established, but to make sure its also implemented,” said Crotty. “It’s been nine months since executive programs received money to purchase software.”

In response to Crotty, Vice President Jonathan Nez said there is a functioning Amber Alert. He said with Arizona they have to go through the counties, and with New Mexico they have to go through the state in order to sound the alert.

“All it is is communication, following those guidelines to issue an Amber Alert,” said Nez. “We are working on having our own alert system on the Navajo Nation because of these intricacies.”

On other issues, Begaye stated that his administration is supportive of the Tribal HUD-VASH Act, allowing joint tribal housing initiatives between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing.

This will ensure that at lease 5 percent of all HUD-VASH funding is set aside for Native American tribes and tribal housing authorities to address veterans’ homelessness.


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Categories: Politics

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.