Hopi High students attend Navajo Nation inauguration<br><br>

Melvin, who is Navajo, said he hopes Shirley keeps his promises, especially focusing on education. He said Shirley and Dayish both gave good speeches, although they focused on different aspects.

Congressman Rick Renzi, an Arizona Republican, read a letter from President George Bush congratulating the new president and vice president and stating that the Bush administration wants to work with Shirley/Dayish on many issues including health care and economic development.

Bush’s letter also praised Navajo Codetalkers and veterans.

Melvin said he was glad President Bush sent a letter of support.

“I hope he’s sincere, and I hope he works with the Navajo Nation like he said,” Melvin said. Melvin said the inaugural atmosphere was joyous, and

he liked that.

Miss Hopi High Randi Boucher, who is Navajo and Sioux, said the inaugural was exciting and unique because it was her first time there.

“The speeches were good. It was cool that the planes flew over, and the crows too. Edison Spencer had good jokes,” she said.

Spencer, a well-known announcer on the rodeo circuit, served as emcee. His jokes kept the crowd smiling and helped with the festive atmosphere.

“The entertainment was good. I wasn’t bored,” Boucher said.

Boucher said Shirley gave a good speech.

“I’m glad he said he’s going to put more money into education. It’s good that he’s interested in the youth. I’m glad the new president and vice president want to see changes and see if they live up to what they say they are going to do,” she said.

Boucher said Shirley and Dayish care about youth and education.

“Before, you really didn’t see that,” she said.

Boucher noted that a lot of youth were involved in the ceremony either as royalty, performers or spectators.

“We are the next generation that will one day be leading, so it’s good to have the youth involved,” she said.

Boucher said it was good that President Bush recognized the Navajo Nation.

“It was neat that he had encouraging words,” she said.

Jeremy Jelle, a member of the Mic Mac Tribe from Maine and a junior at Hopi High, had positive comments about the inauguration.

“Shirley gave a good speech. It was real informative about what he wants to do for the Navajo Nation. It was nice that President Bush recognized the Navajo Nation president,” Jelle said.

Cindi Honani, teacher of the Navajo class at Hopi High, said the inaugural was well organized and she commends the organizers for keeping everything just about on schedule.

Honani, who is Navajo, noted that Shirley started his speech in Navajo while Dayish started his speech in English.

“They didn’t give any specifics in their speeches about what they are going to do, but the specifics were listed in the program,” she said. “They gave

upbeat speeches and I was impressed.”

Honani said the students appeared to enjoy the airplane flyovers and the jokes.

“The inaugural was people oriented. I have faith that they will follow through on their agenda,” she said.

Honani said she expects Shirley and Dayish to succeed because of their education and experience. She noted that the two new Navajo leaders both have master’s degrees.

Honani said she was also excited when Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano made a grand entry into the ceremony.

Bernard Leonard, a teacher aide in the Navajo class at Hopi High, said he found the inaugural so overwhelming that he felt words could not describe it.

“It was a speech with real hope for the Navajo Nation. My heart was filled with pride because the speeches were in Navajo. I know the Navajo language and it’s something that no one can take away from me,” he said.

Leonard said the best part was hearing in Navajo what Shirley and Dayish want to do and how they want to do it.

He noted that flute player Travis Terry also made reference to the pride that native people have when they hear leaders talking in their native tongue.

Leonard was also glad that there were many youth at the ceremony.

Leonard said the Bush letter was a nice gesture of common courtesy.

“I don’t think it’s real, but it was the appropriate thing for him to do,” he said.


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