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Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

home : latest news : regional August 28, 2014


3/11/2014 10:18:00 AM
Shirley seeks third term as Navajo Nation President
Navajo Nation bill seeks to limit any candidate from running for a third term, consecutive or not
Chinle District Court Judge Victor Clyde swears in former Navajo President Joe Shirley, Jr. as Apache County Supervisor Dec. 4 in Chinle, Ariz. Shirley is seeking a third term as Navajo Nation President. Photo/George Hardeen
Chinle District Court Judge Victor Clyde swears in former Navajo President Joe Shirley, Jr. as Apache County Supervisor Dec. 4 in Chinle, Ariz. Shirley is seeking a third term as Navajo Nation President. Photo/George Hardeen
Navajo-Hopi Observer


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - Former Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., filed papers to run for a third term as Navajo Nation president Feb. 27 despite a pending bill in the Navajo Nation Council that would limit his ability because of term limits.

Shirley is currently Apache County Supervisor for District 1.

"I decided to run because I love my Navajo Nation, I see a leadership vacuum that needs filling, there's ample opportunity for me to serve again, and I frequently hear from Navajo people who tell me they would like me to run again," Shirley said.

Shirley served as president from January 2003 to January 2011, becoming the first Navajo president to be re-elected for a second term in 28 years.

In 2010, the Navajo Nation Supreme Court ruled that Shirley could not seek a third consecutive term. However, the court noted that presidential term limits did not impose a lifetime ban on seeking a third term as president.

"The (Navajo Election Administration) asserted that the provision is a justifiable restriction as it only restricts Dr. Shirley's right to run for a third consecutive term as President, after which he is free to run again for President without restriction," the Supreme Court ruled. "In other words, the provision imposes a one-term wait period between a two-term President's candidacy for the same office."

"It is always about working on behalf of the people, and our challenge of the term limit law was no different," Shirley said. "It was on behalf of the people, at their urging, that I went forward and filed to seek a third term and challenge the term limit law in 2010. However, I respected the decision of the Supreme Court justices and today there is nothing blocking our way."

But there may be something blocking his way. Russell Begaye, council delegate from Shiprock, sponsored a bill that would limit any candidate from running for a third term, consecutive or not.

The court, in its case, did uphold the right of the Navajo people to elect the leaders they want.

"Dine bi beenahaz 'aanii encompasses the right of the Dine to choose leaders of their choice," it said. "Dine bi heenahaz 'aanii provides guidance on the subject of leadership and the manner in which traditional law has established the People's right and freedom to choose their leaders."

The court found that the Council may not amend any portion of the Navajo Nation Code in a manner that disturbs and undermines the principles of the one-term wait period, separation of powers, accountability to the people, acknowledgement of the people as the source of Navajo Nation governmental authority and service of the anti-corruption principle.

The court found that a president can run for a third term after a one-term wait period "until the people themselves determine otherwise," the court said.

"There are still Navajo people in need and there is work to be done to secure the Navajo Nation's future," Shirley said. "No one accomplishes anything alone. Together, we will embark on this campaign with heart, integrity, diplomacy, and a sacredness of mind."

While in office as Navajo Nation president, Shirley battled the Navajo Nation Council on a host of issues, which some believe destabilized the Navajo Nation government. He reduced the number of delegates from 88 to 24 and instituted a presidential line item veto. During that time, Shirley called himself the "Champion of Change" and heavily criticized the council for allegedly breaking Navajo Nation laws. The council alleged that Shirley's action to seek a third term as president displayed disregard for the Navajo Nation's laws.


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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, May 1, 2014
Article comment by: George Hardeen

And…
2008 $130 million pooling agreement with Arizona tribes.
2009 $350 million renegotiation of El Paso Natural Gas pipeline ROW payments.
2009 $600 million breach of trust lawsuit against Peabody Coal in U.S. Supreme Court. Results in $50 million settlement for NN.
2009 Initiative election to reduce Navajo Nation Council, presidential line item veto.
2009 $350 million renegotiation of El Paso Natural Gas pipeline ROW payments.
2009 Development of Dilkon, Crownpoint, Tuba City Judicial Complexes.
2010 Official end to Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute
2010 Defense of Dine’ Fundamental Law, results in NN Supreme Court ruling May 28, 2010


Posted: Thursday, May 1, 2014
Article comment by: George Hardeen

Done nothing except:
2004 $5.5 million federal settlement with Mobil Oil to pay for Navajo Nation oil spill clean-up.
2005 Natural Resources Protection Act of 2005 (Uranium Mining Ban).
2005 San Juan River Water Settlement, $870 million Navajo-Gallup pipeline under construction now. Will bring water to 80,000 Navajos.
2005 Diné Sovereignty in Education Act, creation of the Navajo Nation Board of Education.
2006 Creation of Navajo Gaming Regulatory Office, Navajo Gaming Enterprise, Fire Rock Casino.
2005 Decriminalization of azee for use by Azee' Bee Nahagha of Dine' Nation.
2005 Protection of the San Francisco Peaks before Federal District Court & 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
2006 Intergovernmental Compact to end to Bennett Freeze. In 2009 President Obama signs law repealing Bennett Freeze.
2007 US EPA, Navajo EPA federal clean up of radium-contaminated soil at Coyote Canyon Chapter.
2007 Navajo Nation AUM Screening Assessment Report. EPA cleanup at Northeast Church Rock Mine, Mariano Lake Mine, Quivira Mine, Skyline Mine, Cove Transfer Stations, Sections 32 and 33, Ruby Mines 1-4, and 20 mine claims in Cameron Chapter.


Posted: Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Article comment by: Gloria Begay

I cannot believe Mr. Joe Shirley wants to run his third term! We need new people who can do a better job. We saw that he didn't do anything to improve or promise the Navajo Nation. He said on the radio at his rally, he will do this and that. Well, he said the same ole thing the year he ran the first time. He just won't get it. We, the people, need someone new. This is such an embarrassment! Please vote no for Mr. Joe Shirley.

Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014
Article comment by: ARTHUR ALVA

are you kidding me he has done nothing but hurt the tribe let it heal see his hands are in the cookie jar and wants more no let the leaders we have now there was no trouble we were in peace and have some good ones in office and cut down the chapter of gov. the tribe should listen when have you seen him not until now lie lie King Arthur of earth



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