Navajo Nation President Swears in New Veterans Advisory Council Member

Navajo Nation Karessa Kee, Candice Pioche-Zunie, President Russell Begaye, Kim Silentwalker, Katrina Yazzie, Lt. Col. Tracey Clyde.

Published April 19, 2018

WINDOW ROCK – President Russell Begaye on Tuesday administered the oath of office for Kim Silentwalker, who was sworn in as a member of the Navajo Veterans Advisory Council.

Silentwalker, of Round Rock, is an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, during which she was stationed in Herbert Field, Fla. Silentwalker is To’dichi’nii born for Tó’aheedlíinii.

She will represent the Chinle Agency on the advisory council.

Established in the Navajo Veterans Act, the Veterans Advisory Council comprises 10 members: two representatives from each agency, one male and one female.

“The Office of the President and Vice President (OPVP) welcomes Kim Silentwalker to the advisory council,” President Begaye said. “The advisory council plays a critical role in advising OPVP on veterans issues. We look forward to your perspective on issues facing your comrades and your fellow women veterans.”

Lt. Col. Tracey Clyde, director of the Navajo Nation Veterans Administration, said he appreciates Silentwalker coming aboard. In her new role, Silentwalker needs to tap into the knowledge she gained in service.

“We’re on the same team and the same side of the fight,” Lt. Col Clyde said. “At the end of the day, we work together.”

Maintaining good communication between the advisory council and OPVP is important, said Karessa Kee, an OPVP Executive Staff Assistant and veteran liaison. Kee said the duality in council membership is critical.

“It’s valuable to have this duality,” she said. “We need to use this to best guide the services that are afforded to our veterans.”

Veterans Agency Council members Katrina Yazzie and Candice Pioche-Zunie thanked Silentwalker for stepping into her new role. Pioche-Zunie said it felt good to have another sister on board.

Yazzie said that she’s always pushed for female representation on the advisory council.

“How are men supposed to know what obstacles women face in the military?” she asked. “Female representation brings harmony into full balance.”

President Begaye told Silentwalker that the Chinle Agency is a heavy load and that he looks forward to learning more about the region through her representation.

“The voice you carry, you carry for your veterans,” President Begaye said. “You play an important role in advising about services and laws that affect the lives of all our Navajo veterans.”

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