Tuesday, October 27, a senior Trump Administration delegation met with executive and legislative leaders of the Navajo Nation. As a sign of respect for the largest Native American Tribe in the United States, the delegation visited Window Rock, the seat of government for the Navajo Nation in Northeast Arizona.
Last week, President Trump released his policy agenda for Indian Country entitled, “Putting America’s First Peoples First: Forgotten No More.” The agenda outlines President Trump’s core principles to fight for Native American communities: respecting tribal sovereignty and self-determination, promoting safe communities, building a thriving economy with improved infrastructure, honoring Native American heritage and improving education, and delivering better health outcomes.
After the day’s roundtable discussion, Myron Lizer, Vice President of the Navajo Nation, remarked, “Second Lady Dottie Lizer and I were very honored to welcome senior White House officials and other federal partners to the Navajo Nation. We discussed infrastructure, health and veteran’s affairs, the need for safe communities, ways to bolster our economic development and growth, addressed the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous relatives, and more. Working with the White House and the Trump-Pence Administration, the Second Lady and I strongly believe that the Navajo Nation will persevere and become a part of the ‘American Dream. This pandemic is an important time to be able to collaborate with our Federal family, and this first meeting was a key step towards a great partnership. There was a time when the Navajo Nation would go to Washington D.C. to advocate for our people, but today Washindóón came to Navajo Nation,” said Navajo Nation Vice President Lizer.
Doug Hoelscher, Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs described the government to government meetings as, “a tremendous opportunity to discuss the President’s vision to build stronger, healthier, and safer communities in partnership with Navajo leaders and ensure that no member of the Navajo Nation is forgotten as we all work together to grow our economy and support our families.”
The delegation participated in working sessions with their Navajo governmental counterparts to better understand the challenges and opportunities for economic growth and safer communities in the Navajo Nation. In the afternoon, the delegation participated in formal government to government discussions to identify opportunities for partnership to achieve the goals of the President’s plan in the Navajo Nation. The delegation also had an opportunity to tour economic development and cultural sites near Window Rock.
During the proceedings, on behalf of President Donald J. Trump, the delegation presented Navajo leaders with the “2020 Presidential Award for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons” for their leadership in combating human trafficking on tribal lands, and for bringing greater awareness of the realities of human trafficking in Native communities. The Trump Administration has worked closely with Tribal leaders across the Nation on the issue of human trafficking and on the issue of missing and murdered Native Americans, which President Trump was the first President to recognize via a formal proclamation. The President signed an Executive Order in November 2019 to form Operation Lady Justice to systematically and aggressively address the too-long overlooked issue of missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Jeannie Hovland, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Native American Affairs and Commissioner of the Administration for Native Americans at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was also present during the Navajo Visit and shared an important announcement. “Today, HHS’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released the framework on Missing and Murdered Native Americans (MMNA) containing guidance for supporting and strengthening Tribal and Native American communities whose citizens are at risk for going missing or being murdered. The framework focuses on improving the well-being of Native populations and communities through a wide range of ACF programs and technical assistance resources.”
Today, Wednesday, October 28, the Federal delegation participated in the opening of the Navajo Nation’s Little Singer Community School, which received over $27 million in Federal funding to build a facility that will improve the educational experience for Navajo children. Additionally, the delegation met with leaders of the Hopi Tribe to announce the advancement of an important water quality project and with leaders of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community to tour the construction of the River People Health Center to improve health care access for Native Americans.
- Myron Lizer, Honorable Vice President, Navajo Nation
- Dottie Lizer, Second Lady, Navajo Nation
- Seth Damon, Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council
- Delegate Daniel Tso, Committee Chair, Health Education and Human Services, Navajo Nation Council
- Delegate Eugenia Charles Newton, Committee Chair, Law and Order Committee, Navajo Nation Council
- Delegate Jamie Henio, Committee Chair, Budget and Finance Committee, Navajo Nation Council
- Delegate Rickie Nez, Committee Chair, Resources and Development Committee, Navajo Nation Council
- Delegate Amber K. Crotty, Committee Chair, Sexual Assault Prevention Committee, Navajo Nation Council
- Delegate Kee Allen Begay Jr., Committee Chair, TIBC Transportation Committee, Navajo Nation Council
- Doug Hoelscher, Assistant to the President & Director, White House Intergovernmental Affairs
- Jennie Lichter, Deputy Assistant to the President, White House Domestic Policy Council
- Eric Hargan, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)
- Paul Lawrence, Under Secretary, Veterans Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
- Tara Sweeney, Assistant Secretary, Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI)
- Jeannie Hovland, Commissioner, Administration for Native Americans and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Native American Affairs (ACF), HHS
- Rear Admiral Michael Weahkee, Director, Indian Health Service (IHS), HHS
- Katie Sullivan, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, Co-Chair Designee Lady Justice, U.S Department of Justice (DOJ)
- Mark Cruz, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Economic Development, Indian Affairs, DOI