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‘Blueprint for a Better Navajo Nation’ – A Push for a Brighter Tomorrow

Alysa Landry

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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smartphoenixnavajo's picture
Submitted by smartphoenixnavajo on
The data system will take ten years in indian time and millions of dollars will be wasted on consultants and they will buy the wrong system. Alcohol is legal in the Navajo casinos, but is intended for outsiders, although Navajos are their major gamblers. There is no vegetation for livestock and if there was, local grazing groups have control of it all and their families. Too many roads and no money, because its goes to dumb things like a coal mine. The Navajo housing authority is dis-functional and gives the feds back millions in unused dollars every year. Average Navajo cannot afford the lease process, a basic one acre site with utilities cost $1100.00 for the archaeological clearance alone. Most economics is given to outside corporations that send Navajo money out and its usually fast food place, dealing in diabetes. There is and never will be any ethics in the Navajo government. The last ten years alone, pretty much the whole government has been or still is under some type of investigation. The story is a nice fantasy and people dreaming of a better tomorrow, but the sad reality is just that and always will be.