WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren met with Navajo Nation Council Delegate Andy Nez (Fort Defiance, Sawmill, Crystal and Red Lake) and Legislative District Assistant Amber Benallie to hear his priorities and discuss where they can work together.
For each chapter he represents, Dr. Nez said ARPA-funded projects are his priority. These include bathroom projects, waterlines, a grader for Sawmill, rural addressing for Crystal and a warehouse for both crystal and Fort Defiance.
Dr. Nez said he wants to reinforce support for veterans assistance, socio-emotional and mental health services, interagency relationships among NDOT, states, chapters and Apache County to enhance service delivery with an emphasis on roads.
He said he wants the president support for the Abandoned Homes Project. Right now, he said, there are about 30 abandoned homes in Fort Defiance. Cleaning them up or demolishing them would improve neighborhoods and make room for additional homes, he said.
President Nygren said some need to be demolished and replaced with apartment complexes because of the Window Rock crisis faced by the Nation’s employees that reflects the larger problem with housing.
Dr. Nez said there is interest in Fort Defiance for an elderly home, an initiative he supports, as well as reviving support for a senior center and Head Start in Sawmill.
“Let’s bring our elders back,” he said.
President Nygren said anything that would help elders and youth he’d be happy to work on with council, he said.
“How can we help the senior centers and Head Starts?” he asked. “It would be so nice to see that interaction, if that’s something you could help champion.”
Both Crystal and Sawmill are chapters where agriculture could use some help, too, Dr. Nez told the president. The land need maintenance, wells, more farming, irrigation, and he foresees the opportunity for Crystal and Wheatfields to support something like a sub-NAPI project because of its agricultural wealth.
In Red Lake, Dr. Nez said he wants public safety cross-commissioning, noting that the chapter almost reached a memorandum of agreement with McKinley County but was awaiting OPVP’s support. Because this is one of President Nygren’s priorities, too, Dr. Nez said he hopes to attempt the MOA a second time.
Regarding Navajo Nation priorities, Dr. Nez told the president he supports amending tribal codes that “impede progress on the Navajo Nation such at Title 10 (education), Title 16 (land), delayed grazing permits, enforcement of natural resource regulations and community/family cemeteries.”
During his Jan. 23 State of the Navajo Nation address, the president told delegates he would welcome meetings with them individually. He continues these meetings this week.