Navajo Nation Council Delegates Tsosie & Curley pushing for Navajo language fluency legislation to be added to council agenda

Navajo Council is debating the adoption of its agenda. Delegate Danny Simpson has asked to add legislation 0236-14, which is the council’s endorsement of New Mexico state Rep. Ben Lujan.

Delegate Jonathan Nez said that all political endorsement are done by Naabik’iyati Committee and it was approved, which means 0236-14 out of order.

Legislative attorney Mariana Kahn says that Navajo law does not mandate that the Naabik’iyati Committee the final authority.

Delegate Nz recalls that legislative counsel advised council that political endorsements go to Naabi.

Kahn says that delegates are allowed to ask for a political endorsement to go to council.

Nez continues to argue that political endoresements approved by Naabi is sufficient and that the legislative counsel’s advice is not consistent.

Council votes 8 in favor, 5 opposed on addition of Lujan endorsement to council agenda.

Delegate Leonard Tsosie asks for the council to recognize presidential candidate Chris Desche’s vice president Fannie Atcitty, who is sitting in the council gallery. Tsosie then asks for council to add legislation to vote on a new speaker, since that position is available because of former Speaker Johnny Naize’s resignation as speaker and delegate.

Delegate Katherine Benally
when i signed to have special council session, i signed for reports only and not legislation, which need to be properly added.

Bates agrees with Delegate Katherine Benally.

Tsosie aruges that the Council’s petition for a special council session was “to address” the Navajo language fluency qualification for elected officials, including the presidency, and the vacant speaker position with legislation.

Bates explains to Tsosie that proposed legislation to remove the Navajo language fluency requirement for presidential candidates needs to go through the legislative process and it has not gone through the legislative process.

Benally says she wants to see a copy of the petition for the special counsil session.

Delegate Alton Shepherd adds that each delegate is allowed five minutes and Delegate Tsosie used his five minutes.

Bates explains that Tsosie can challenge his decision and Bates calls for a second, which is made by Delegate Lorenzo Curley, who is sponsoring proposed legislation 0281-14, which is for the removal of the Navajo language fluency requirement for elected officials.

Delegate Duane Tsinigine asks whether the council endangers Navajo law by placing legislation for a new speaker and 0281-14, which address navajo fluency requirement for elected officials.

Navajo Nation Attorney General Harrison Tsosie says that the council may amend its agenda but if it enacts law that is not based on legislative process then the council has opened itself to lawsuits.

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