A special letter to 2005 grads

This is that time of the year when hundreds of our Diné people celebrate personal accomplishment. To those of you graduating from high school or college or receiving a certificate, I congratulate and honor you for your achievement.

Receiving your degree reflects a new beginning in your life—a life blessed with happiness, a strong intellect, self-discipline and many riches.

I know about the unique challenges a Navajo college student must face when in school, such as homesickness, lack of money or strenuous academic competition. During your graduation ceremony, reflect back on the personal struggles you and your family have overcome to get to where you are today and the strength you are blessed with to overcome future endeavors.

Remember your parents, relatives and friends who encouraged and supported you with their prayers. Remember and thank your role models and those who positively influenced your life. Listen and think about your elders’ teachings that being blessed with richness is not based on your salary or how many vehicles you own.

I have been a public servant to the Diné people for many years. In spite of the many challenges our nation faces, I honor my position as a tribal leader and have the deepest appreciation for the Diné people who returned home to also be public servants to our people. The Navajo Nation welcomes home more and more Diné lawyers, teachers, doctors, businessmen and women and paraprofessionals each year.

During this time, I plead with all graduates celebrating their accomplishment to be careful of your actions and do not endanger your life or the life of anyone else by breaking the law, drinking alcohol or drinking and driving. I encourage each graduate to honor your accomplishment by spending quality time with your families or renewing your spiritual beliefs.

Appreciate the break from your studies by engaging in healthy and positive activities. May you have a beautiful graduation ceremony and live a happy and rich life.

Leonard Chee, Chairman

Navajo Nation Council

Education Committee

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