WINDOW ROCK, AZ – The 25thy The Navajo Nation Council voted unanimously to approve legislation to appropriate more than $1.5 million of the unreserved, unearmarked Navajo Nation Fund balance to support the continuing operations of the St.
Council Delegate Brenda Jesus sponsored Legislation 0062-23 to provide funding to help St. Michaels Special Education Society overcome setbacks from the COVID-19 pandemic that has reduced funding, staff and other critical resources.
Delegate Jesus was joined by the association’s interim executive director Leroy White, who thanked council members and the Social Services Division for their support and assistance in introducing the legislation. He also explained that the association has a long history of serving Navajo communities and helping individuals with disabilities exercise their rights to choose, grow, contribute to their community, and become self-sufficient.
Health, Education and Human Services Committee Chair, Council Delegate Vince James commended the hard work and commitment of St. Michaels Special Education Association staff and caregivers who support individuals with special needs. Speaking in Navajo, Delegate James stated that people with special needs are the children of the sacred people and that it takes people with strong hearts and patience to help them every day.
During the debate, council members spoke in support of the legislation and asked for information regarding the association’s plans and strategy to become more financially stable and sustainable. They also thanked the Society for serving communities in various Navajo agencies and communities, far beyond the St. Michaels community.
“As a former classroom teacher, I fully support and understand the degree of obligation that includes any and all services for our children and adults with special needs,” said one of the sponsors of the legislation, Council Delegate Dr. Andy Neese. “St. Michaels Special Education Society deserves to continue operations, and I am proud to vote for the environment.”
Legislation No. 0062-23 was co-sponsored by Council Delegates Eugenia Charles Newton and Seth Dimon. The House approved the legislation by a vote of 20 to none. Navajo Nation Chief Buu Nygren will have 10 calendar days to consider the decision once it is approved by Speaker Crystalyne Curley and delivered to the Office of the President and Vice President.