Window Rock, AZ – On July 21, 2009, the 21st Navajo Nation Council voted "green" and passed the enactment of the Navajo Green Economy Commission. Navajo Nation Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan and the Navajo Green Economy Coalition developed these legislation to support the creation of hundreds of Green Jobs on the Navajo Nation.
In the morning, over fifty supporters from across the reservation gathered in front of the Navajo Nation Education Building and peacefully marched a quarter of a mile in green "Green Jobs" shirts to the Navajo Nation Council Chambers in Window Rock, AZ. Supporters greeted Council Delegates while filling up the front row seats of the council chambers. Multi-generational supporters sat in to encourage and ensure that their community representatives pass the legislation.
"This is the just the beginning for Indian Countzry. We hope our efforts pave the way for other tribal nations to bring local sustainable green jobs to their communities," said Wahleah Johns, Co-Director of the Black Mesa Water Coalition.
"A green economy is not a new concept to Navajo. There are many green business opportunities that fit perfectly with our culture. We must once again hearken to such processes to truly build our own economy that puts high value on our tradition - old and modern economic pursuits. In this way, we will build a vibrant economy for the future generations while honoring our great ancestors. Today's decision is a critical first step towards making this dream a reality," said Tony Skrelunas, the former Executive Director of the Navajo Nation's Division of Economic Development and a member of the Coalition.
"The passing of this legislation is monumental because it is a catalyst for economic development on the Navajo Nation with Navajo traditional values & community at it's core," says David Johns of the Dine' Haatali Association Vice-President (Navajo Medicine Men Association).
The enactment of the Navajo Nation Green Economy Commission was introduced and tabled during the Navajo Nation Spring Council Session in April 2009. After three months of additional work, the legislation was brought up as Old Business on the council floor and quickly went to a vote. The 14-month effort ended victoriously with a vote of 62 to 1.
The Navajo Green Jobs Coalition congratulates the Navajo Nation Council in taking this first, important step in securing green jobs for the Navajo people. This legislation will set up the infrastructure needed to capture federal money already earmarked for green job development. What’s more this legislation will focus on small-scale, community development—a form of economic development that empowers local communities and allows folks to work near their homes and communities. This moves the Navajo Nation and the Navajo people one step closer to a green economy. We look forward to the president’s signature on the legislation in the coming weeks.
Nikke Alex (505) 879-7461
Chelsea Chee (928) 637-5592
Fax Number: (928) 213-5905