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Published On: Thu, Feb 23rd, 2012

Navajo Nation Speaker, Johnny Naize, creating a clean council image


Weekly Edition | February 22nd, 2012 | By: Sam Tsosie 


Navajo Nation Council Speaker, Johnny Naize, Window Rock, AZ.

 Window Rock - Navajo Nation Speaker, Johnny Naize has had his hands full since taking on his position.  He was elected Council Speaker in January 2011, for the restructured 24- member Navajo Nation Council.   His first priority was to create a plan of operation for the reduced council.

“The people have voted for a reduced council, and we will make it work,” says Speaker Naize.

The reduced council has put in a lot work this year, with meetings sometimes being held until midnight.  Council delegates now represent several chapters, with some delegates serving eight chapters.  Delegates attend the various chapter meetings and functions and are rarely seen at home, which to the people, means they are working.  The new council members are legislators working for the chapters they each represent – a lot of travel is involved.

“The new council has a better image, we want to be responsive,”  says Naize

Naize says that having the reduced council allows for easier meetings and less questions.   The Speaker feels the smaller council and increased transparency will help clean up the image the people have of the Navajo Nation Government.

Johnny Naize said, “We did a lot of chapter visits. The people understand what we’re trying to do. So far the response has been positive,”

It has been a whole year since the reduced council was first assembled, that first year comparable to a baby learning how to walk.

In 2012, Speaker Naize is looking to tackle issues important to the people and the Navajo Nation.“I worry about the Bennet-freeze people and the lack of infrastructure, roads,” he says.

In 1966, the commissioner of Indian Affairs, Robert Bennett, halted development on 1.6 million acres of tribal land in northeastern Arizona that was claimed by both the Navajo nation and the Hopi tribe. Bennett had imposed the ban to stop either tribe from taking advantage of the other while they negotiated ownership.

The tribes settled in 2006, and Obama gave authority for federal funding, but no money had been earmarked for development.


Staff member and Johnny Naize, Window Rock, AZ

LGA Certification (Local Governance Act)

We’re the People

We’re the governing body

Give us authority

In 1999, Shonto was the first Chapter to be LGA Certified. Speaker Naize says there are five steps in the certification process, or the five-point management system.

Chapters must first set up finances, set up a filing procedure, rules of procurement, develop a land-use plan and develop an inventory-control plan.

“When Chapters are LGA-certified, they almost have full authority to run independently, and they can also establish themselves as non-profits. Chapters that are LGA certified can work with and receive funds directly from Federal and State agencies,” says Naize on the topic of LGA certification.  He would like to see more chapters work towards LGA certification. Only 27 of the 110 chapters in the Navajo Nation are LGA-certified.

“New Mexico State assists the Navajo Nation with capital improvement funds, giving the money directly to the LGA chapters.  Non-LGA chapters have their funds go to the Navajo Nation, creating more work,” says Naize.

The development of the Navajo Nation is a key issue Speaker Naize wants to address, along with developing jobs and improving the way business is conducted in the Navajo Nation.

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Navajo Nation Speaker, Johnny Naize, creating a clean council image