Navajo Nation needs Open Meetings law

The Navajo Nation Council Resources and Development Committee is scheduled to hear a report and discuss the Recon Oil’s approved lease for the Fort Defiance, Arizona, gravel pit Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, at the Navajo Department of Transportation, Tse Bonito, New Mexico.

But no one but the Resources and Development Committee, the Navajo Department of Justice, Office of the President and Vice President, Navajo Nation Mineral Department, and Navajo Nation Department of Natural Resources will hear the report and discussion because the report and discussion will be behind closed doors.

During the Office of the President and Vice President report on an audit of Navajo Housing Authority on Dec. 28, 2017, before the Navajo Nation Council Naabik’iyati Committee, OPVP legal advisor Karis Begaye informed the Naabik’iayti that the president’s NHA Task Force recommended the Navajo Council’s passage of an Open Meetings Law because the former NHA Board had abused executive sessions by having an excessive number of closed door sessions.

The Resources and Development Committee traveled to the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry, which is near Farmington, N.M., where the committee held a closed door session while it discussed “NAPI operation issues and concerns” with the NAPI management board on Dec. 29, 2017.

On Dec. 11, the Resources and Development traveled to the NAPI headquarters for a committee meeting, which included a tour of Navajo Transitional Energy Company, Navajo Mine, which NTEC owns, a meeting with NTEC officials, and dinner for the committee.

But the tour, meeting and dinner were all held behind closed doors.

The Navajo Nation Council and its standing committees need an Open Meetings Law because they are elected public servants of the Navajo people. The money that they use for travel, lodging, food, and to pay for their meeting room, their meeting stipend, legislative staff, documents, etc., is the Navajo people’s money and so the Navajo people have a right to know what the Council and committees do in their name.

The Council and its standing committees publish their meetings and agendas on the Navajo Nation Council website at

The proposed agenda for the Resources and Development’s Jan. 3, 2018, meeting is posted there but I’ll also post here:


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