‘Blueprint for a Better Navajo Nation’ – A Push for a Brighter Tomorrow
Seventeen individuals believe they have what it takes to be the next president of the Navajo Nation. An additional 122 people are vying for 24 open seats on the Navajo Nation Council.
While candidates campaign in their home communities and face off at public forums across the 27,000-square-mile reservation, a grassroots group of Navajo citizens is seeking a quieter change to the tribal government. Volunteers hoping to usher in widespread government reform are distributing a 12-page “Blueprint for a better Navajo Nation.”
“We need to stop doing things the same old way, and we need to change and adapt to the modern world,” Ron Wood, author of the blueprint, wrote in an open letter to Navajo citizens. “One of the many strengths of the Diné people has been our ability over the centuries to adapt to our changing environment. The time is now to make changes so that the Navajo Nation and our youth of tomorrow can prosper in this new century.”
Wood, a former tribal employee, worked with other savvy citizens to produce the document, which he said has been handed to most of the presidential hopefuls and is being distributed electronically to as many other candidates as possible.
Voters in November will select a president, council delegates and representatives for the Board of Election Supervisors and Board of Education, but Wood claims change needs to start long before ballots are printed.
“I’m just hoping to increase the dialogue on some of these issues,” he said during a phone interview. “I want to make people think about what we can do for the future.”
The blueprint, dated April 25, calls for reform in 12 specific areas, from local community governments all the way up to the three-branch tribal government. Some of the suggestions are drastic – like quadrupling the president’s salary – while others simply state longstanding needs like improving roads and boosting economic opportunity.
The bottom line, Wood said, is that governmental systems established almost a century ago are no longer getting the job done. With the right people in office with the right vision for the future, the Nation could see real changes in a decade or less, he said. That’s why he wants to see the blueprint have a prominent place at the candidate debates in the coming months.
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