Farmington — The Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission wants to hear testimony on gender discrimination against Navajo women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer tribal members.
The commission will have a public hearing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Shiprock Chapter house.
This is the last in a series of public hearings that started in December in Window Rock, Ariz., and in January in Tuba City, Ariz.
Leonard Gorman, executive director of the Human Rights Commission office, said the five-member commission decided to conduct the public hearings because reports completed by international human rights groups concluded there are "significant levels" of violence against indigenous women.
The commission is also examining the traditional views of Navajo women and how that affects equal treatment between men and women.
There are also concerns for the safety and treatment of Navajos who identify as LGBTQ, Gorman said.
He highlighted that the commission has received complaints about the Diné Marriage Act, which outlaws same-sex marriages on the Navajo Nation.
"All of us human beings have the right to be happy," Gorman said.
The public hearing serves as a mechanism for gathering evidence and recommendations on how to amend or modify Navajo Nation law to ensure safety for Navajo women and members of the LGBTQ community, according to a press release from the commission.
Although the tribe has laws that address violence against family members, input and testimony at the public hearing can provide the commission insight on those laws, help members make recommendations concerning the laws and close possible loopholes, according to the press release.
Gorman said the commission will also accept written testimony.Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @nsmithdt on Twitter.