The 23rd Navajo Nation Council has convened its first special session. It’s first action was to vote to keep Council Delegate LoRenzo Bates as its Speaker Pro Tem.
Bates called on Delegate Leonard Pete to do the innovation.
Delegates are now introducing themselves. Delegates Kee Allen Begay and Mel Begay introduced themselves, followed by Delegates Norman M. Begay of Tohajiilee, Nelson BeGaye, Benjamin Bennett, Nathaniel Brown, Amber Crotty.
Delegate Seth Damon is now introducing himself. It is now 3:40 p.m. I’ve taken my father’s place, Charles Damon. My mother is Patricia Damon, a former legislative administrator. Damon also thanked Delegate Otto Tso for dawn prayer at 6 a.m. “My door is open,” Damon says.
Most of the delegates have thanked the legislative staff for their work on the Inauguration, which was from about 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Delegate Davis Filfred said that there will be a Honoring Gourd Dance for all newly inaugurated elected officials and outgoing elected officials. (Filfred forgot to say when and where the gourd dance will happen.)
Delegate Jonathan Hale says that as a delegate, he works with all people. Delegate Lee Jack Sr. is now introducing himself. “I look forward to next four years.” There are a lot of challenges and a lot of work that needs to be done, Jack adds.
Delegate Jonathan Nez, who is presidential candidate Russell Begaye’s running mate, is introducing himself. Nez introduces his wife and son and thanks them for being his best co-campaign managers. He adds that it seems like yesterday when he was inaugurated for the first time four years ago.
Delegate Jonathan Perry introduces himself and says he’s representing eight chapters in the Eastern Agency. He’s also looking forward to working with his colleagues and for the people. Perry acknowledges his mother, who is sitting in the gallery. “Each and everyone of us with the skills we have can work for our people and the Navajo Nation.”
Delegates Leonard Pete and Walter Phelps introduce themselves. Both elected officials thank their communities for their votes. Phelps recognizes his wife by saying that they celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary.
Delegate Alton Shepherd congratulates all his colleagues and reminds them about his first words to them which was to think about what their legacy as the 23rd Council would be. And we all need to keep each other accountable, Shepherd emphasizes.
Delegate Tuchoney Slim Jr. immediately introduces his wife. “I look forward to working with you guys. We all know that we are here to represent our people..I’m really honored to work with all of you. And I’m looking forward to working on change.”
Delegate Raymond Smith Jr. says jokingly that the Council is being watched across the world via all the cameras that are pointed at them and that is making him a bit afraid. He recalls that past Inaugurations were all held at Navajo Nation fairgrounds but this year’s inauguration was held indoors where it was warm for the elders. His dad, late Raymond Smith Sr., was a delegate when the Council sat on benches. Some of the delegates that sat on benches were Donald Benally and Annie Wauneka. Smith then introduces his family and community members.
Delegate Otto Tso introduces himself. He is originally from Tuba City area. I appreciate 22nd Navajo for their work, which maybe was not an easy leadership for some. With the 23rd Council, i want to support you and help in making decisions. My leadership stems from traditional upbringing. i was raised in traditional home that had traditional ceremonies. we also appreciate the fact that we speak in Navajo. My hope is that we continue to speak our Navajo language. I appreciate those that have parents. I lost my mom at young age. I say thank you to all mothers. He recognizes Daryl Tso, who is sitting in the gallery. A former Delegate, Emmet Tso, who also was a relative, sat here. It’s inspirational to listen to all the leaders. I hope that we, as Council, uphold laws and are ethical. I want to acknowledge tribal employees for all the work they do, including the Judicial Branch.
Delegates Leonard Tsosie, Dwight Witherspoon and Edmund Yazzie will also be introducing themselves.