Delegates Walk with Grandma Emma in Support of Domestic Violence Awareness

Emma Thompson, also known as “Grandma Emma” with Speaker LoRenzo Bates, Council
Delegate Nathaniel Brown, and Council Delegate Steven Begay at the Navajo Nation Council Chamber in Window Rock, Arizona on Oct. 19, 2017.

Published October 20, 2017

WINDOW ROCK – On Thursday, Navajo Nation Council Speaker LoRenzo Bates (Nenahnezad, Newcomb, San Juan, Tiis Tsoh Sikaad, Tse’Daa’Kaan, Upper Fruitland) and several other members of the Navajo Nation Council showed their support for Emma Thompson, also known as “Grandma Emma” from the community of Tohatchi, as she made her way on foot to the capital of the Navajo Nation to bring awareness to victims of domestic violence on the Navajo Nation.

Speaker Bates, Council Delegate Nathaniel Brown (Chilchinbeto, Dennehotso, Kayenta), and Council Delegate Steven Begay (Coyote Canyon, Mexican Springs, Naschitti, Tohatchi, Bahastl’a’a’) walked with Grandma Emma as she made her way into Window Rock on Thursday morning, after beginning her journey on Wednesday from the city of Gallup to raise awareness for domestic violence.

A few family members who carried signs drawing attention to Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is recognized during the month of October each year, also joined Grandma Emma who wore a sign that read, “Trish, please forgive me my daughter – we didn’t do enough to keep you alive and healthy. We love you my daughter,” in honor and remembrance of the life of her daughter who died three years ago due to domestic violence.

The group arrived to the Council Chamber just before noon on Thursday, where Council members, staff, local media, and others welcomed them. Grandma Emma addressed the crowd as she made an emotionally plea for the public and the Nation’s leaders to focus more attention to social problems that often lead to domestic violence and other problems.

She was joined by several other Council members outside the Council Chamber, including Council Delegate Otto Tso (Tó Nanees Dizi) and Council Delegate Herman Daniels, Jr. (Shonto, Naa’tsis’Áán, Oljato, Ts’ah Bii Kin), who both offered words of encouragement and condolences to Thompson and all other victims of domestic violence, while acknowledging that more needs to be done to help victims.

“Grandma Emma” walks to the capital of the Navajo Nation
with Council members on Oct. 19, 2017.

Speaker Bates thanked Grandma Emma for taking the initiative to begin her walk and for reminding the Nation’s leadership of the problems associated with domestic violence. He also pointed out that through the Council’s Sexual Assault Prevention Subcommittee, the Council is making progress to amend laws to help deter several offenses including domestic violence.

Arizona State Rep. Wenona Benally (D – Dist. 7) also participated in the walk and spoke in support of victims while providing information in regards to the large increase in phone calls from victims of domestic violence. She stated that the Navajo Nation has received nearly double the number of crisis calls from victims within the last three years, rising from over 3,300 calls to over 6,400.

On Friday, Grandma Emma will continue her journey to raise awareness for domestic violence victims, as she continues her walk to the community of Chinle, which located nearly 70-miles from Window Rock.

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