Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez deliver the State of the Navajo Nation Address.
Published April 17, 2018
WINDOW ROCK — President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez gave the State of the Navajo Nation Address (SONNA) for the 23rd Navajo Nation Council’s 2018 Spring Council Session.
The speech began and ended with the treaty and highlighted recent accomplishments of the administration regarding the four pillars: veterans, youth and elders, infrastructure and job creation.
“All of us share a common history,” President Begaye said during the first part of the speech. “One hundred and fifty years ago, our ancestors were imprisoned at Bosque Redondo. On June 1, 1868, our great leaders signed a treaty with the United States government. That treaty guaranteed our rights of sovereignty and self-determination. It also secured our rights to our homeland within our four sacred mountains.”
On June 1, an original copy of the treaty will be unveiled at the Navajo Nation Museum. The Office of the President and Vice President invites everyone to join the event and other events this year commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of 1868.
“Our ancestors were resilient,” Vice President Nez said. “And we look to them for strength and courage as we fight our modern-day monsters of suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and crimes against our children. If we need examples of resiliency, it’s right there. The blood that pumped through the hearts of our ancestors also pumps through us.”
A number of individuals were recognized during SONNA including Cassandra Morgan, a Navajo Nation veteran who was recognized for her help to create the first ever Navajo Nation Women Veterans Day.
“Women face unique challenges when they serve in the military, and as they transition back to civilian life,” President Begaye said. “On March 20, we officially honored these women, their service to the country and to the Navajo Nation, and their roles as individuals and in their families.”
Two students from the University of New Mexico, Janalee Livingston and Naomi Brown, were in attendance. Both are now living in the Lobo Rainforest Building, which has two floors available for up to 118 Navajo students. There are now 77 Navajo students occupying the facility now. President Begaye and Vice President Nez signed the contract to secure the dorm space at the beginning of the year in January.
A number of community members from Dennehotso attended the speech and were recognized for their years of work to bring a convenience center to their chapter.
“Dennehotso is miles away from places to purchase everyday items like gas and produce. To fuel up, school buses need to travel over 50 miles round-trip to purchase diesel,” Vice President Nez said. “Those days will soon be past because of the efforts of people who it upon themselves to make a difference.”
The Navajo Nation Council accepted the address in a vote of 12 to 2.
A full copy of the address can be found here.