Indian Affairs Committee will meet this week on the Navajo Nation

Noel Lyn Smith The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The New Mexico Legislature's Indian Affairs Committee will hold three meetings this week on the Navajo Nation.

The first meeting will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the John D. Pinto Library at Diné College's south campus in Shiprock.

Among the items on the tentative agenda is a report about the Upper Fruitland senior citizen center.

Upper Fruitland Chapter Vice President Lenora Williams said chapter officials will talk to committee members about securing additional funding to help the center become a reality.

"We have some in there, but it's not enough to fund the building," Williams said.

The chapter held a groundbreaking ceremony for the center a year ago.

The new building would replace the existing center, which is located east of Route 562 and next to the Walter Collins Center.

Since the groundbreaking, chapter officials have worked with an engineer to complete blueprints for the center, but construction remains on hold by the tribe's Design and Engineering Services, Williams said.

"We really need this building for our elders.... We were hoping it will start by now," she said.

Also on Wednesday's tentative agenda is a status update from Diné College President Maggie George and an update from Ute Mountain Ute Chairman Manuel Heart.

There are also reports about the Navajo Route 57 project, a new senior citizen center in Gadii'ahi-Tokoi Chapter and the San Juan Generating Station. Rep. Sharon Clahchischilliage, R-Kirtland, who co-chairs the Indian Affairs Committee, said the members are receiving a status report about the generating station.

The committee is also meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Red Valley Chapter house and at 9 a.m. Friday at the Huerfano Chapter house.

At Thursday's meeting, Clahchischilliage said the report about school bus transportation issues will focus on the condition of roads that serve as bus routes.

"We need to get these bus routes taken care of," she said, adding that improved roads would make travel safer and prolong the lives of buses by reducing wear and tear.

She added the committee will also hear a request by the Kirtland Youth Association about expanding its facility in Kirtland.

"We're going to be busy," Clahchischilliage said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and Follow her @nsmithdt on Twitter.