Sinema visits NGWSP, meets with Diné naat’áanii
WINDOW ROCK – Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) met with President Buu Nygren, Speaker Crystalyne Curley, BFC Chairwoman Shaandiin Parrish, and Delegate Andy Nez Sept. 7 to discuss issues important to the Navajo Nation.
The senior senator spent the day at the tribal capital to see the construction of the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project firsthand and continue her work with the Navajo Nation to meet Diné needs.
“I was really grateful that I got to meet with the president and the Council,” Sinema said during a Sept. 12 phone interview with the Navajo Times.
“The first thing that I went to go see was the new pipeline that they’ve been constructing with the funds that I was able to get allocated in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” she said. “I wrote and led the negotiations, and that pipeline is going to bring badly needed running, clean water to folks all across the Nation.”
The senator traveled just outside Window Rock to see the creation of the NGWSP and said its construction is “an important step forward” and that the Bipartisan Infrastructure law funded all existing Indian water settlements throughout the country.
“The Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project was the largest one,” she said.
Also included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was $3.5 billion for the Indian Health Service to address the Sanitation Facilities Construction Program backlog.
The senator said she spoke about that issue with the tribal leadership.
“I was really proud to see those dollars in action as well,” she said.
Sinema said IHS announced the fiscal 2023 funding allocation last week for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and noted that the Navajo Nation will receive $58 million.
During the roundtable discussion at the president’s office with the tribal leaders, Sinema said the Grand Canyon National Monument designation by President Joe Biden was also discussed.
“The Navajo Nation was a key partner in the work that we did to create a collaborative effort,” she said. “(It was) really the first of its kind, to come together, not only First Nation communities, but also sportsmen, hunters, environmental groups, and impact communities.”
During the meeting, the senator said another key topic was first lady Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren’s work with the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women effort.
“This is the commitment that she and I share,” Sinema said.
Sinema added that the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2022 was also discussed, adding that she helped “shepherd through” the legislation in Congress last year.
“We continued talking about some of the other issues that face the Nation, like infrastructure, road repairs, water, education assistance, et cetera,” she said.