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The Navajo Nation Council begins its spring session on April 19. Here's what to expect


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FARMINGTON — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez will give the State of the Nation address and Chief Justice JoAnn Jayne and Speaker Seth Damon will give reports during the first day of the Navajo Nation Council Spring Session scheduled to start at 10 a.m. on April 19.

The session will stream online on YouTube and Vimeo under the Navajo Nation Council name and on the council's Facebook page and may last up to five business days. 

The delegates will meet in hybrid format. In-person participation will be in accordance with guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the Office of the Speaker.

What's on the council's agenda?

On the proposed agenda are six bills that seek funding from either the Síhasin Fund or the Unreserved Undesignated Fund Balance for various projects and services.

Other bills seek to fill three open seats on the Commission on Navajo Government Development, a 12-member panel focused on initiating reforms to further development of an accountable, responsible and ethical tribal government.

The Navajo Nation Judicial Branch was awarded $18.2 million in a lawsuit against the federal government. Now, the branch is seeking approval by the tribal council to establish a fund to deposit the amount. If approved, the $18.2 million will help the branch develop long-term planning and systems that benefit its purpose and enhance judicial services on the Navajo Nation.

In 2013, the branch submitted paperwork to the Bureau of Indian Affairs that requested $17 million for calendar year 2014 as part of a contract to fund certain programs.

However, the BIA "failed" to respond to the request and the Navajo Nation subsequently filed a lawsuit against the BIA and the U.S. Department of the Interior for violating the contract, according to the bill.

Prior to the session, Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty will host a walk to raise awareness about sexual assault.

The walk will start at 8 a.m. at the Navajo Nation Shopping Center in Window Rock and proceed to the council chamber.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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