Health, Ed & Human Services 9 AM, 2.17.21 mtg still on hold.

Greetings Relatives/Frens/Humans, Hope you are all Safe & Healthy and Continue to be Safe & Healthy. The Navajo Nation Council’s Health, Education & Human Services Committee was scheduled to hold a 9 am Work Session today, 2.17.21, on several issues involving the Indian Health Service “water mission”; a meeting between Dept of Dine’ Education and the University of New Mexico, and a Dept of Health report on Nursing Homes.

I’m hoping the Report on the meeting between Navajo government education officials and UNM concerned Rainforest Student Housing, which was established to provide a “Home” for our Navajo students, who include Graduate Students.

Here’s a story about the Eviction of our Navajo Students from the Rainforest that was published by the UNM Lobo:

Navajo Nation, UNM Rainforest affordable housing agreement set to terminate
By Hannah John, Shelby Kleinhans  Published 01/25/21 7:49am

After July 31, an affordable housing agreement for Navajo students at the University of New Mexico’s Rainforest building will end, leaving 118 residents of the downtown apartment complex looking for alternative — and undoubtedly more expensive — accommodations.

Former Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye signed an agreement on Jan. 3, 2018 that provided housing for Navajo students on the fifth and sixth floors of the Rainforest building at a discounted rate of $945, or $189 a month, per fall and spring semester.

Since the Navajo Nation decided not to renew the agreement, it will end after its originally scheduled end date this summer.

“(The Navajo Nation has) indicated that they are not going to renew that occupancy down there … We would love to continue with the agreement and continue to house that population of students,” Thomas M. Neale, director of real estate at UNM, said. “We were really excited about that prospect at the outset and continue to be so, but for reasons I’m not 100% clear on, they’ve decided to terminate that agreement.”

A source close to the Navajo Nation administration said that since many Navajo students returned home rather than continue living at the Rainforest building during the pandemic, a contract renewal would be cost-prohibitive.

The housing deal, which was struck in 2018 at a cost of $1,457,300 for a period of three years and seven months, included provisions that Navajo students’ $189 rent would go back to the Navajo Nation rather than UNM.

According to residents, the decision not to renew the agreement and thus end the UNM Navajo Nation Living Learning Community (LLC) was announced through an email to residents of the LLC on Dec. 17 of last year. On UNM’s housing website, the Navajo Nation LLC has been removed from the list of the “Living Learning Communities” they offer on campus.

The Daily Lobo reached out to Jared Touchin, the communications director for the Office of the President and Vice President of the Navajo Nation, for more information. However, when asked for clarification on why a renewal was not pursued or what other options these students have, he declined to comment.

Residents of the Navajo Nation LLC were saddened by the announcement of the housing agreement’s termination because of the benefit it brought to Navajo students.

“It was kind of sad at the time,” Jaida Smith, a UNM senior, Navajo student and resident of the Navajo Nation LLC, said. “I know it’s something that a lot of people depend on, and it’s a community where people can gather. But some things end, some people change their minds and it’s just something that kind of just has to happen.”

The inability of some Navajo students to pay for and find affordable housing was an issue that the Navajo Nation had in mind when the LLC first opened in 2018. Now that the LLC is closing its doors, some students worry about where they’ll live now and how they’ll juggle the cost of school with the cost of housing.

“It sucks because I have friends who live here, and they’re going to have to start getting more money to pay for their housing,” Orion Martinez, a junior UNM student and resident of the Navajo Nation LLC, said. “I think it was a really good opportunity for us to be able to not put so much stress on our housing costs. That’s the thing being taken away — so that’s just going to cause a bit of a concern about, if this is all they can afford at the moment, where are they going to go next?”

While discounted housing rates were an important selling point to residents, Smith and Martinez also shared the sentiment that the community aspect of the Navajo Nation LLC was significant as well. Current Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, who was vice president when the housing agreement was reached, concurred in a statement at the time.

“With the purchase of the Lobo Rainforest Facility, not only will we see costs decrease for our college students’ housing, but we’ll create a sense of community to ultimately increase retention and decrease the college dropout rate,” Nez said in 2018.

Smith said learning about the UNM Navajo community at the Rainforest and their traditions was a central part of her college experience.

“We all identify ourselves as Indigenous people, but it’s just interesting to learn about specific traditions that people have,” Smith said.

The Daily Lobo also reached out to the Dean of Students office and Residence Life and Student Housing management, who also declined to comment and re-directed reporters back to Neale.

According to Neale, there are currently no plans for a new Navajo Nation LLC or another similar housing provision for Navajo Nation students. However, he said that UNM is more than willing to work with the Navajo Nation on future projects.

“Sure, I think we would be open to anything,” Neale said. “We love having the students there, and we think that our housing group provides a great environment for those students and would love to continue to work with the Navajo Nation.”

Hannah John is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @yesitshannahj

Shelby Kleinhans is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @BirdsNotReal99

According to a Dec. 17, 2020, NOTICE to our Navajo Students from UNM, and not Nez, Lizer & the Council, our Navajo Students were being Evicted because the Navajo Nation decided not to renew the Agreement with UNM to keep a Roof over the Heads of Our Navajo Students. Here’s the NOTICE:

The Council, with the Full support of President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer, purchased a $4.8 million “Home” for the Navajo Nation Washington, D.C., Office and themselves in Washington, D.C.

And the Council, Nez & Lizer made their JOINT announcement about their New Home on VALENTINE’S DAY…SMH

PRESS RELEASE – February 14, 2021, Navajo Nation will strengthen federal advocacy with investment in land and property near Capitol Hill

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – On Sunday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer signed Resolution No. CJA-07-21, approving approximately $4.8 million from the Navajo Nation’s Land Acquisition Trust Fund principal to acquire land and two separate buildings that will serve as the Navajo Nation Washington Office, create revenue generating opportunities, and strengthen the Navajo Nation’s advocacy efforts at the federal level.

“It’s a historic investment that will establish the Navajo Nation’s presence near Congress and build equity for many years to come. We will be the only tribal nation to own land and property near Capitol Hill and it will allow us greater access to meet with members of Congress and other federal partners to advocate for the Navajo people. If you look back at the role that the Navajo Nation Washington Office over the years and recently, they along with our Nation’s leaders have successfully lobbied for the recent Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act that was signed into law in December, $53 million for fiber optic internet service through the FCC’s E-Rate Program, the recent approval of at least $150 million for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians, hundreds of millions of dollars for uranium mine clean-up efforts, the COVID-19 vaccine doses that we have received, and of course the $714 million in CARES act funds that directly helps our Navajo people,” said President Nez.

In response to recent concerns brought forth by some members of the Navajo Nation, President Nez noted that the Land Acquisition Trust Fund has its own policy and guidelines that require the funds to be used only for these types of acquisition of land and property and cannot be used for COVID-19 relief or other types of direct services such as housing. He also stated that the administration continues to work with the 24th Navajo Nation Council on a housing manufacturing initiative, more COVID-19 resources, and other services to help the Navajo people.

“We have many more issues that we continue to advocate for including the ongoing efforts to restore the Bears Ears National Monument to its original size, the remediation of uranium mines and benefits for former uranium mine workers and downwinders, more funds to supplement our own investments in infrastructure, COVID-19 relief, and many more. The Navajo currently spends over $25,000 per month in rent, not including utilities, totaling $300,000 each year that will never be recouped. By acquiring property near Capitol Hill, the Navajo Nation will not only save money in rent, but build equity in property that will appreciate over time. The property’s prime location and features also create the potential to rent space and create revenue for our Nation,” added Vice President Lizer.

“This purchase will catapult the Navajo Nation Washington Office’s advocacy by improving our access to Congress, with whom we work every day to ensure that the United States lives up to its treaty and trust obligations to all American Indians. When the Navajo Nation Council created the Navajo Nation Washington Office in 1984, Navajo leaders envisioned someday planting the Navajo flag on Capitol Hill. Located across the street from Spirit of Justice Park, behind the House of Representatives, the property has been a family home since it was built and the Navajo Nation will be just it’s third owner. This is an investment for our future generations,” said Navajo Nation Washington Office Executive Director Santee Lewis

“In working with federal representatives and members of Congress, the Navajo Nation has made significant steps towards improving the number and size of resources sent to our Nation from the federal level. The Council provided the discussion on this purchase and has approved this initiative because it provides a long-term vision for those efforts to continue long into the future. The acquisition of property in Washington, D.C., is an important milestone for our Navajo People, and we continue to look forward to sending our children to Washington to advocate a strong position for our Nation,” said Council Delegate Wilson Stewart, Jr.

Council Delegate Rickie Nez stated: “The Navajo Nation Washington Office has been a voice for the Navajo People in the US Capitol since 1984. Nearly four decades later, it’s time we made a permanent place from which we can lobby and advocate for our Navajo Nation there in Washington. We have planted a seed that will allow our issues and our voice to be firmly presented and expressed within the halls of our national government. That is part of the vision we have, as leaders, for this administration and all those that follow.”

“The Navajo Nation’s position has always been to build and enhance tribal sovereignty and self-determination. With the purchase of property in Washington, D.C., in close proximity to the US Capitol building, the Navajo Nation looks now to build our position from a permanent place alongside Congressional and federal leadership. We look ahead to our future generations and we pray this action will create a better place for them to lead our Nation,” said Speaker Seth Damon.

AGENDA, HEALTH, EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE, 24th NAVAJO NATION COUNCIL
Work Session, February 17, 2021, 1:00 p.m.
PRESIDING : Honorable Daniel E. Tso, Chairperson
Honorable Carl Roessel Slater, Vice-Chairperson
PLACE : Via Telecommunications –
Call In Number: 1-669-900-6833 Mtg. ID: 979-985-0956

Window Rock, Navajo Nation (Arizona)


□ Paul Begay, Jr. □ Charlaine Tso
□ Carl Roessel Slater □ Daniel E. Tso
□ Pernell Halona □ Edison J. Wauneka


1) CALL WORK SESSION TO ORDER
2) INVOCATION
3) RECOGNIZE GUEST AND VISITING OFFICIALS
4) REVIEW THE WORK SESSION AGENDA
a. Work Session for Legislation 0221-20 Plan of Operation for Office of Miss Navajo Nation February 10, 2021 – Work Session requested to finalize the amendments and recommendations for Legislation 0221-20 An Action Relating to Naabik’iyati’ Committee; Amending the Plan of Operation for the Office of Miss Navajo Nation Sponsor: Honorable Seth Damon (Eligible for Committee Action September 15, 2020)
January 18, 2021 – A public forum was held Monday, January 18, 2021 through livestream zoom on social media and Facebook live. The communications team from the Office of the Speaker assisted
the HEHSC committee on this initiative. The goal is to receive recommendations and input from the former Ms. Navajo Nation’s. The comments and input will be added to Legislation 0221-20 for the purposes of the Plan of Operations Amendments for the Office of Miss Navajo.
December 30, 2020 – Receiving Report provided to HEHSC from Office of Miss Navajo Nation regarding Legislation 0221-20
December 17, 2020 – Naabik’iyati’ Committee Main Motion held by: Eugenia Charles-Newton; Second by: Nathaniel Brown; VOTE: Pending
December 17, 2020 – Directive Motion: Directive to have the Office of Miss Navajo Nation work collaboratively with the former Miss Navajo’s and the Miss Navajo Council, Inc. for possible
recommendations to legislation 0221-20 ; Motion by: Eugenia Charles-Newton; Second by: Jimmy Yellowhair; Vote; 23 in Favor 00 Oppose/ (Chairman Damon Not Voting)
December 17, 2020 – Referral Motion from Naabik’iyati’ Committee to HEHSC for further discussion with all entities including the Office of Speaker; Motion by: Otto Tso; Second by: Eugenia
Charles-Newton; Vote; 23 in Favor 00 Oppose/ (Chairman Damon Not Voting)
M: S: Vote: Yeas: Nays Absent:
Not Voting:
5) CLOSE OF MEETING; ANNOUNCEMENTS; ADJOURNMENT
THIS AGENDA SUBJECT TO CHANGE: The public is advised that the Navajo Nation Council Agenda and the Agendas of the Standing Committees are not final until adopted by a majority vote of the Navajo Nation Council or the Standing Committees at a Navajo Nation Council or a Standing Committee meeting pursuant to 2 N.N.C. §§163 and 183, Navajo Nation Council Rule of Order
No. 7, and Standing Rule of Order No. 8.

AGENDA, HEALTH, EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE, 24th NAVAJO NATION COUNCIL
Regular Meeting, February 17, 2021, 9:00 a.m.
PRESIDING : Honorable Daniel E. Tso, Chairperson
Honorable Carl Roessel Slater, Vice-Chairperson
PLACE : Via Telecommunications –
Call In Number: 1-669-900-6833 Mtg. ID: 979-985-0956

Window Rock, Navajo Nation (Arizona)


□ Paul Begay, Jr. □ Charlaine Tso
□ Carl Roessel Slater □ Daniel E. Tso
□ Pernell Halona □ Edison J. Wauneka


1) CALL MEETING TO ORDER; ROLL CALL; INVOCATION; ANNOUNCEMENTS
2) RECOGNIZE GUESTS AND VISITING OFFICIALS

3) REVIEW AND ADOPT THE AGENDA
m: s: v: Yeas: Nays: Not Voting: Absent:
4) REVIEW AND ADOPT THE JOURNAL(S):
m: s: v: Yeas: Nays: Not Voting: Absent:
5) RECEIVING REPORT
a. Update Report on Water Mission from Navajo Area Indian Health Service Presenters: Roselyn Tso, Area Director, NAIHS
m: s: v: Yeas: Nays: Not Voting: Absent:
b. Report on Elderly Home Care from NDSS Presenters: Deannah Neswood-Gishey, NDSS Executive Director; and NDSS Staff; Valerie Jones, DALTCS Administrator Jill Jim, NDOH Executive Director;
Honorable Daniel E. Tso
m: s: v: Yeas: Nays: Not Voting: Absent:
c. Discussion regarding HEHSC Meeting with UNM Administration Presenters: Patricia Gonnie, Acting Superintendent of Schools, DODE; Rose Graham, Program Manager, ONNSFA Scholarship
Office; Honorable Daniel E. Tso
m: s: v: Yeas: Nays: Not Voting: Absent:
6) OLD BUSINESS
7) NEW BUSINESS
a. Other –
m: s: v: Yeas: Nays: Not Voting: Absent:
8) CLOSE OF MEETING; ANNOUNCEMENTS; ADJOURNMENT
Adjournment Motion: s: v: Yeas: Nays:
THIS AGENDA SUBJECT TO CHANGE: The public is advised that the Navajo Nation Council Agenda and the Agendas of the Standing Committees
are not final until adopted by a majority vote of the Navajo Nation Council or the Standing Committees at a Navajo Nation Council or a Standing
Committee meeting pursuant to 2 N.N.C. §§163 and 183, Navajo Nation Council Rule of Order No. 7, and Standing Rule of Order No. 8.

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