LAS VEGAS – On December 9, President Russell Begaye was elected as the chairman of the Coalition of Large Tribes (COLT). As the chairman for this new coalition, President Begaye will be instrumental in voicing the concerns of the COLT at a national level.
In President Begaye’s acceptance speech, he stated, “We will utilize our networks to advocate on behalf of the common interests of the large tribes. We share many of the same concerns – I look forward to continuing our fight for tribal sovereignty and protecting our treaties.”
President Begaye’s vision for COLT is to bring in new members and build upon the organization’s foundation of work. This will include hiring staff, working with the new presidential transition team, supporting critical infrastructure and promoting economic development. COLT also passed a resolution in support of the consensus-based decisions made by tribes to address undisbursed Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) funds and opposing any rider language being added into appropriations bills. COLT’s agenda continued on with legislative updates on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) regulations, a legislative update and discussion about the next presidential administration.
President Begaye went on to provide his thanks to outgoing Chairman Darin Old Coyote of the Crow Tribe, “Thank you for your work and time to propel COLT forward.”
COLT will reconvene in February for their quarterly meeting in Washington, D.C. Coordination with the presidential transition team will be vital to establish a good working relationship not only for the Navajo Nation, but to all COLT member tribes.