The Navajo Nation

Office of the President

     The Navajo Nation

Office of the President

Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren advocates for roads, missing & murdered indigenous people with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland

WINDOW ROCK, Navajo Nation — In their first discussion after the 2023 Inauguration, Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren and United States Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland expressed their commitment to addressing critical issues facing the Navajo People at the federal and Tribal levels.

One of the major issues affecting Navajo people are roads.

To begin improving the more than 11,200 miles of Tribal and US DOI Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) roads, President Nygren requested the assistance of Secretary Haaland in obtaining the required federal approvals for multiple gravel pits throughout the Navajo Nation.

With easier access to gravel pits, local Navajo communities could immediately begin improving some of the nearly 9,500 miles of unimproved dirt roads that Navajo families, school buses, emergency services, visitors, and others rely on every day.

“I’ve tasked the Navajo Division of Transportation’s Roads Department to help us become the world’s foremost experts on dirt roads,” said President Nygren. “Sometimes when ambulances, first-responders, or public safety tries to respond to issues, the roads are very bumpy, wash-boarded, they’re muddy.”

Coordination with US Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on projects specific to Tribal Nations is underway, Secretary Haaland shared.

President Nygren also shared his goal of establishing an internal Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) unit close to the Office of the President and Vice President. The office will be better able to partner with Secretary Haaland’s initiatives within the US DOI and the Not Invisible Act Commission.

In closing, the historic election of the first woman Vice President of the Navajo Nation, Richelle Montoya, was acknowledged during the leadership call. President Nygren also expressed his appreciation to Secretary Haaland for her leadership and for being a trailblazer for young Indigenous leaders following in her footsteps.

President Nygren and Secretary Haaland will meet in-person later to continue coordination on key issues.