Nez reflects on first months in office, launches new initiative
FARMINGTON — The State of the Nation address from Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez mixed reflection about the first 100 days in office with an outlook for the coming months.
In the address to the Navajo Nation Council on Monday in Window Rock, Arizona, Nez announced his office is developing the "Buy Navajo, Buy Local" initiative.
The president's written report described the initiative as motivating the Navajo people to purchase products and services locally, including shopping at small businesses.
"I think we all recognize the need to keep a lot of our dollars here on the Navajo Nation and one way to do that is to challenge our constituency to buy in our local communities," Nez said.
With help from the council, new business facilities are developing and opening, he added.
The latest development, the Nahata Dziil Shopping Center, opened last month in Sanders, Arizona.
With Navajo Nation Sovereignty Day approaching on April 22, Nez advocated for tribal members to support the tribe's economy that week by buying from local resources.
"We want to challenge our Navajo people to spend more of our hard-earned money here on Navajo," he said.
His review of the first 100 days in office, which will be reached on April 23, emphasized that each division director seat has been filled, and the session includes several bills to confirm nominees.
"We have a full cabinet within the 100 days," he said.
The president also spoke about the April 2 proclamation to pursue and prioritize renewable energy development to create a new economic outlook for the tribe.
He said a work group will further the policy and will work with Delegate Elmer Begay and the Resources and Development Committee to update the tribe's energy policy.
"We look forward to those debates and discussions in the near future," he said.
Sitting next to the president was first lady Phefelia Herbert-Nez.
She briefly addressed the council and spoke about work she and second lady, Dottie Lizer, have done since January.
They have worked with Delegates Amber Kanazbah Crotty, Eugenia Charles-Newton and Charlaine Tso to increase awareness of sexual assault and child abuse by signing proclamations and attending events that highlight the issues.
Herbert-Nez said the next focus in the coming months is bringing financial literacy courses and non-profit resources to the tribal land.
She also encouraged parents to take time to read to their children, especially with summer break approaching.
"Keep reading with them, to them and then encourage them to keep reading," Herbert-Nez said.
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.