Published May 14, 2019
FORT DEFIANCE, Ariz. — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer welcomed nearly 100 attendees on the opening day of the 2019 Navajo Nation Housing Summit hosted by the Office of the President and Vice President in Fort Defiance, Arizona.
The Nez-Lizer Administration organized the two-day summit to bring together Navajo-owned residential contractors, sub-contractors, service providers, material suppliers, and other housing stakeholders to discuss issues such as the need for building codes, funding sources, and other matters to help build stronger communities across the Navajo Nation.
“We have so many stakeholders who are doing so many things on the Navajo Nation, but it’s important that we provide this forum for them to come together and talk about ways of empowering our own people to become involved in helping to build their own homes to give them that sense of pride and ownership,” said President Nez. “We can work together utilizing these different resources to exercise our sovereignty and provide for our own people while making our Nation stronger.”
President Nez also emphasized the importance of volunteerism and sweat equity in the home building process for families.
“Our people need to return to the ways of our elders, who used to help one another with building homes and other tasks that ultimately benefit our entire communities. We have many of our people who go to vocational and trade schools and have the skills and knowledge of carpentry, plumbing, electrical wiring, welders, and others, but we need to work together to bring them home and help our people,” stated President Nez.
The first day of the summit provided presentations on various topics including the “modern hogan design” by Dan Nakai, who specializes in providing floor prints and the construction of traditional Navajo hogans that can house living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and multiple bedrooms for families who want to build a home on the Navajo Nation.
“The teaching of T’áá hwó’ ajít’éego is what we are striving to re-instill in our people, especially our youth, so they can have a real stake in the construction of their homes. If we build strong communities, that will help our Nation to move us forward in a positive direction in terms of economic development, job growth, and fighting a lot of the modern day ‘monsters’ like substance abuse, alcohol addiction, depression, and suicide,” added President Nez.
The two-day Navajo Nation Housing Summit is being held at the Window Rock Unified School District Administration Building in Fort Defiance, located west of the Tséhootsooí Medical Center.
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