Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk and Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley visit with students from Rough Rock Community School’s Navajo Language Immersion class. The students were on hand to witness the groundbreaking event for Phase II of the ARRA-funded replacement construction project that will revitalize their historic school.

Navajo Nation School Buildings Opening After Renovations

ICTMN Staff
8/12/11

With funds from the American Recovery and Investment Act (ARRA), the Rough Rock Community School, on the Navajo Nation Reservation, spent the past two years getting replacement buildings including the school’s academic building, dormitories and other facilities.

“The Rough Rock Community School Replacement Project is an important priority for the Interior Department and Bureau of Indian Education,” Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk said in September 2009. “The $52.5 million provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will revitalize this historic school by creating an improved learning environment for its students, teachers and staff, as well as bringing much-needed jobs to the Navajo people.”

Now, on August 15 Echo Hawk will be on hand to speak at the opening of the new buildings in Chinle, Arizona.

Echo Hawk will not be alone, he will be joined by other Interior officials, including Jack Rever, director of the Indian Affairs Office of Facilities, Environmental and Cultural Resources; Emerson Eskeets, deputy director of the Office of Facilities Management and Construction; and Bart Stevens, deputy director of School Operations at the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).

Rough Rock is a BIE-funded K-12 school that opened in 1966 as the first Native American, Navajo-operated school within the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) system.

“The Rough Rock Community School is a symbol of tribal self-determination that is at the heart of Navajo education,” former Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley said in 2009. “I want to express my deep appreciation for the funding that has made this replacement and repair project possible. I am pleased at the attention being paid to improving this historic school, and to the economic and employment opportunities that the project brings to our reservation.”

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