SHIPROCK — The Shiprock Chapter made declaration that they are going to more or less do things their way from now on.

Chapter officials signed a declaration Sunday stating that they "accept the authorities embodied in our Sovereignty," the declaration said.

Chapter members applauded the declaration, which they perceived as a message to other governments, federal, tribal and state, letting them know that the chapter would more or less act out of its own will.

"We as the community, we as the people have the right to govern ourselves the way we want," said Graham Beyale, a chapter member and ambassador for the Northern Diné Youth Community.

The declaration went into effect Jan. 27 after 112 chapter members voted for the declaration, and one abstained from voting.

Little, though, is expected to change for the moment, chapter members said.

The chapter still is under sanction by the Navajo Nation, which processes all of the chapter s current expenditures — a task which usually would be done by the chapter itself.

The chapter has been under the tribe's sanction since 2010, when the tribe determined that the chapter was mismanaging funds.

Chapter President Duane "Chili" Yazzie said that the chapter hopes to be released from the sanction by the end of summer.

The chapter already is going through paperwork to claim back funds taken from the chapter when the tribe did an initial investigation.


Advertisement

Once it recaptures those funds, the chapter will still be under sanction for three months, after which the tribe will audit those 90 days and determine if the chapter is fit to be released from its sanction.

However, the tribe may not like the chapter's somewhat defiant flair that it put in writing and signed Sunday.

"It's a significant move for any chapter to make — to basically recognize and invoke our authorities," Yazzie said.

Jenny Kane can be reached at jkane@daily-times.com; 505-564-4636. Follow her on Twitter www.twitter.com/Jenny_Kane