Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez signs Resolution CO-34-19 into law in Tonalea, Ariz. on Nov. 9, 2019.
Published November 12, 2019
TONALEA, Ariz. — Over 2,000 Tonalea residents will soon receive a new chapter house facility to help deliver services for the community, following a ceremony hosted by Tonalea Chapter officials on Saturday where Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer signed into law Resolution CO-34-19, which appropriates $3 million for the design and construction of the new facility.
For several years, the community has been without a chapter house due to the closure of the former facility due to health and safety concerns following surveys and assessments that identified shifts in the facility’s foundation and walls, traces of asbestos, and other major issues. The former chapter house was built in 1959 and served the community for approximately 50 years before its closure.
Since then, the chapter has held meetings and conducted their daily business in a nearby storage warehouse, the local senior center, and rented office space in Tuba City, which requires Tonalea residents to drive 25 miles to request assistance from their chapter.
President Nez thanked all of the local chapter officials for their years of work and effort to develop legislation, which was eventually introduced by Council Delegate Paul Begay and approved by the 24th Navajo Nation Council on Oct. 22.
“All of the hard work was done by past and current leaders and officials and your Council Delegate. Delegate Begay has a way of talking with his Council colleagues to gain their support and that’s what he did for the community of Tonalea,” said President Nez.
President Nez also recalled that during the Nez-Lizer campaign, he and Vice President Lizer held a meet and greet event one year ago in Tonalea, where the community members requested their support for the new chapter facility.
“We recognized the need and we are happy to see this project reach this point, a step closer to completion,” he added.
Vice President Lizer, joined by Second Lady Dottie Lizer, spoke of the need to do even more for the community by bringing in more businesses including Navajo-owned businesses to create jobs and revenues.
“Nez-Lizer represents opportunity. I always say that success happens when preparedness and opportunity meet half way and that’s what is happening here in Tonalea, but we need to do something bigger for the Western Navajo Agency,” said Vice President Lizer.
They were joined by Miss Navajo Nation Shaandiin Parrish and several Nez-Lizer Administration Division Directors including Navajo-Hopi Land Commission Office Executive Director Robert K. Black, Division of Human Resources Executive Director Dr. Perphelia Fowler, and Division of Natural Resources Executive Director Dr. Rudy Shebala.
Council Delegate Paul Begay also expressed his appreciation to those who supported the funding request and spoke of the benefits of the new facility.
“The prayers of the Tonalea community have finally been answered! Thank you, President and Vice President, Office of the President and Vice President, and the 24th Navajo Nation Council for supporting and approving the long-awaited chapter house replacement funding request. Our local government can now operate from comfortable offices and provide large meeting areas for our people. We are forever grateful,” stated Delegate Begay.
Following the signing of the resolution, President Nez and Vice President Lizer joined the local leaders and elders, and Council Delegates Paul Begay, Otto Tso, Edison Wauneka to break ground for the new chapter house, which will be constructed where the previous facility once stood. Local officials stated that they anticipate the new chapter house to be completed by late 2020.