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Friday the 13th Navajo Council decision delays special presidential election – again for disqualified presidential candidate
March 14, 2015 News Articles

Supporters of disqualified presidential candidate Chris Deschene once again marched on Council and packed Council chambers on Friday the 13th for Council debate on legislation 0010-15 to fund April 21, 2015,  special election for presidency, Land Boards and the Election Board. Council amended  0010-15 and entirely changed its intent by diverting the funding for a referendum for the Navajo people to decide if a presidential candidate speaks the Navajo language fluently. Photo by Marley Shebala. (Please provide proper credit when re-using photo.)

Supporters of disqualified presidential candidate Chris Deschene once again marched on Council and packed Council chambers on Friday the 13th for Council debate on legislation 0010-15 to fund April 21, 2015, special election for presidency, Land Boards and the Election Board. Council amended 0010-15 and entirely changed its intent by diverting the funding for a referendum for the Navajo people to decide if a presidential candidate speaks the Navajo language fluently. Photo by Marley Shebala. (Please provide proper credit when re-using photo.)

NAVAJO COUNCIL PRESS RELEASE: Council approves referendum
to allow Navajo people to determine fluency issue Resolution sent to President Shelly for consideration

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (3-13-15) – The Navajo Nation Council on Friday approved legislation to hold a public referendum to allow the Navajo people to determine language fluency qualifications for the positions of president and vice president.

Legislation No. 0010-15 sponsored by Council Delegate Dwight Witherspoon (Black Mesa, Forest Lake, Hardrock, Pinon, Whippoorwill) originally requested $317,000 to fund the presidential election scheduled by the Navajo Election Administration for April 21.

In his opening remarks, Delegate Witherspoon asked his colleagues to support the legislation to bring an end to the divisiveness created by the fluency issue.

During the discussion, Council Delegate Leonard Tsosie (Baca/Prewitt, Casamero Lake, Counselor, Littlewater, Ojo Encino, Pueblo Pintado, Torreon, Whitehorse Lake) proposed an amendment calling for the funding to be used to hold a referendum prior to the election.

The amendment states, “This appropriation shall first be used to have the Navajo voters vote on the referendum question to modify 11 N.N.C.,” which outlines qualifications for the office of the president and vice president.

In addition, the amendment calls for a special session to be held to address the presidential election following the certification of the referendum vote by the Navajo Election Administration.

Delegate Witherspoon argued that the amendment would change the intent of the legislation. However, Council supported the amendment with a vote of 12-8.

Prior to the final vote, Delegate Tsosie called for an increase in support for language immersion programs and stated that the legislation would give the authority back to the Navajo people to decide the issue.

“The people are the best decision makers on a tough issue like this,” stated Delegate Tsosie. “What we’ve done is given the authority back to the people.”

The Council resolution has been sent to the Office of the President and Vice President. President Shelly will have ten calendar days to consider the resolution.
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Navajo Council Vote on Delegate Leonard Tsosie and Nate Brown amendment that entire changed intent of Legislation 0010-15, 12 IN FAVOR, 8 OPPOSED
12 DELEGATES VOTING “YES”
Kee Allen Begay, Jr. is representing (Tachee/Blue Gap, Many Farms, Nazlini, Tselani/Cottonwood, Low Mountain)
Mel R. Begay is representing (Coyote Canyon, Mexican Springs, Naschitti, Tohatchi, Bahastl’a’a’)
Norman M. Begay is representing (Alamo, Ramah, Tohajiilee)
Nelson S. BeGaye is representing (Lukachukai, Round Rock, Tsaile/Wheatfields, Tse Ch’izhi, Rock Point)
Benjamin Bennett is representing (Crystal, Fort Defiance, Red Lake, Sawmill)
Nathaniel Brown is representing (Chilchinbeto, Dennehotso, Kayenta)
Tom Chee is representing (Shiprock)
Amber Kanazbah Crotty is representing (Toadlena/Two Grey Hills, Red Valley Tse’alnaozt’i’i’, Sheepsprings, Beclabito, Gadiiahi/To’Koi)
Seth Damon is representing (Baahaali, Chilchiltah, Manuelito, Red Rock, Rock Springs, Tsayatoh)
Tuchoney Slim, Jr. is representing (Coppermine, K’aii’to, LeChee, Tonalea/Red Lake, Bodaway/Gap)
Leonard Tsosie is representing (Littlewater, Pueblo Pintado, Torreon, Whitehorse Lake, Baca/Brewitt, Casamero Lake, Ojo Encino, Counselor)
Edmund Yazzie is representing (Churchrock, Iyanbito, Mariano Lake, Pinedale, Smith Lake, Thoreau)

8 DELEGATES VOTING “NO”
Lee Jack, Sr. is representing (Dilcon, Indian Wells, Teesto, Whitecone, Greasewood Springs)
Jonathan Perry is representing (Becenti, Lake Valley, Nahodishgish, Standing Rock, Whiterock, Huerfano, Nageezi, Crownpoint)
Leonard H. Pete is representing (Chinle)
Walter Phelps is representing (Cameron, Coalmine Canyon, Birdsprings, Leupp, Tolani Lake)
Alton Joe Shepherd is representing (Jeddito, Cornfields, Ganado, Kinlichee, Steamboat)
Raymond Smith, Jr. is representing (Klagetoh, Wide Ruins, Houck, Lupton, Nahata Dziil)
Otto Tso is representing (Tó Nanees Dizi)
Dwight Witherspoon is representing (Hard Rock, Forest Lake, Pinon, Black Mesa, Whippoorwill)

COUNCIL FINAL VOTE ON 0010-15, 19 IN FAVOR, 0 OPPOSED
19 DELEGATES VOTING “YES”
Kee Allen Begay, Jr. is representing (Tachee/Blue Gap, Many Farms, Nazlini, Tselani/Cottonwood, Low Mountain)
Mel R. Begay is representing (Coyote Canyon, Mexican Springs, Naschitti, Tohatchi, Bahastl’a’a’)
Norman M. Begay is representing (Alamo, Ramah, Tohajiilee)
Nelson S. BeGaye is representing (Lukachukai, Round Rock, Tsaile/Wheatfields, Tse Ch’izhi, Rock Point)
Benjamin Bennett is representing (Crystal, Fort Defiance, Red Lake, Sawmill)
Nathaniel Brown is representing (Chilchinbeto, Dennehotso, Kayenta)
Tom Chee is representing (Shiprock)
Amber Kanazbah Crotty is representing (Toadlena/Two Grey Hills, Red Valley Tse’alnaozt’i’i’, Sheepsprings, Beclabito, Gadiiahi/To’Koi)
Seth Damon is representing (Baahaali, Chilchiltah, Manuelito, Red Rock, Rock Springs, Tsayatoh)
Tuchoney Slim, Jr. is representing (Coppermine, K’aii’to, LeChee, Tonalea/Red Lake, Bodaway/Gap)
Leonard Tsosie is representing (Littlewater, Pueblo Pintado, Torreon, Whitehorse Lake, Baca/Brewitt, Casamero Lake, Ojo Encino, Counselor)
Edmund Yazzie is representing (Churchrock, Iyanbito, Mariano Lake, Pinedale, Smith Lake, Thoreau)
Lee Jack, Sr. is representing (Dilcon, Indian Wells, Teesto, Whitecone, Greasewood Springs)
Jonathan Perry is representing (Becenti, Lake Valley, Nahodishgish, Standing Rock, Whiterock, Huerfano, Nageezi, Crownpoint)
Leonard H. Pete is representing (Chinle)
Alton Joe Shepherd is representing (Jeddito, Cornfields, Ganado, Kinlichee, Steamboat)
Raymond Smith, Jr. is representing (Klagetoh, Wide Ruins, Houck, Lupton, Nahata Dziil)
Otto Tso is representing (Tó Nanees Dizi)
Dwight Witherspoon is representing (Hard Rock, Forest Lake, Pinon, Black Mesa, Whippoorwill)

1 DELEGATE VOTING “NO”
Walter Phelps is representing (Cameron, Coalmine Canyon, Birdsprings, Leupp, Tolani Lake)

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