Federal Court Rules for Navajo Head Start to Receive Full Funding

Published March 27, 2018

WINDOW ROCK – Today, the federal court ruled in favor of the Navajo Nation, ordering the federal Office of Head Start to allocate the original funding amount of $23 million dollars to Navajo Head Start.

“We applaud the federal court for making sure the federal government provides proper notice, appeal and hearing rights are afforded before reducing any funding that impacts the cognitive development of our children,” President Begaye said

On Feb. 28, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied the Navajo Nation’s preliminary injunction. However, today the federal court set aside the federal Office of Head Start reduction and required full funding of the Navajo Head Start program.

Today’s federal ruling reinforced the need for the federal government to provide notice, appeal and hearing rights to the Nation before enforcing a reduction of funding.

“When the U.S. District Court failed to grant the preliminary injunction, we felt the decision was unfair,” Vice President Jonathan Nez said. “President Russell Begaye and I remained vigilant in holding the federal government responsible to providing a fair and justified allocation to Navajo Head Start. In light of that decision, we had no choice but to cover the remaining amount with an emergency legislation.”

President Begaye said today marks a historic day in the federal ruling to provide the full $23 million-dollar funding to Navajo Head Start.

“I’d like to thank and acknowledge the stellar legal team who worked on this injunction,” President Begaye said. “The Navajo Nation Department of Justice, under the guidance of Attorney General Ethel Branch, helped the Navajo Nation to push back on the federal government to secure the full funding our head start program needs to continue providing education to our youngest children.”

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