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Listening session focuses on Navajo gov. reform

The Daily Times

SHIPROCK – Community members from the Northern Agency attended a listening session to discuss ideas for Navajo government reform on Wednesday at the chapter house here.

The session was sponsored by the Office of Navajo Government Development and the Commission on Navajo Government Development.

Edward Dee, executive director for the government development office, said government reform has garnered interest due to new leadership in Window Rock.

“It is our intent — the staff and the commission — that we hold listening sessions across Navajo to capture your thinking, your wishes, your ideas and recommendations,” Dee said.

By providing such insight to tribal leaders, they will know where government reform stands among the people, he added.

To encourage discussion, ideas and topics were posted in the front of the room.

Shiprock resident Barbara Morgan reviewed the material, including one that listed a proposal for a Navajo constitution, then suggested a Navajo Bill of Rights be developed.

“Because it encompasses a lot of things that affect us,” Morgan said about the document’s inclusion.

Other comments focused on setting firm boundaries for chapters, revising procedures for livestock and grazing permits and transitioning division director positions from appointed to permanent service.

He added the remarks will be complied and used in a report about government reform to the Navajo Nation Council and to the tribal president’s office.

The report is scheduled for release in April. It will also contain results from more than 400 surveys the office collected at the Northern Navajo Nation and Western Navajo fairs and from the presidential debates held last year at Navajo Technical University, Arizona State University and Diné College.

“I believe that government should come from the people,” said Rachel Felix, a member of the government development commission.

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