WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan completed a five-day sweep of all Navajo Nation chapter inaugurations for all 110 Navajo Nation chapters on Jan. 9, in Shiprock, N.M.
Speaker Morgan was among several tribal and state dignitaries, including Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. that attended chapter inaugurations held during the week.
Chapter inaugurations began at Fort Wingate, N.M., for the Eastern Navajo Agency on Jan. 5; the Western Navajo Agency held their inaugurations in Tuba City on Jan. 6; Chinle Agency in Chinle on Jan. 7; Fort Defiance Agency in Window Rock on Jan. 8; and the Northern Navajo Agency held their inaugurations in Shiprock, N.M., on Jan. 9.
Speaker Morgan congratulated all newly elected chapter officials on behalf of the 21st Navajo Nation Council and explained, "You have challenges and accomplishments waiting for you."
The challenges, obstacles and struggles of being part of a chapter government is something Speaker Morgan knows about first hand. Morgan served as an elected official since 1981 and continues his work on behalf of the Navajo Nation as speaker of the Navajo Nation Council.
"I know how it is to work at the local level and I know the challenges that you endure," Speaker Morgan said. "For that reason, as speaker of the Navajo Council, I have taken an initiative and an interest in helping chapters across our Navajo Nation."
Morgan's main theme throughout the week was, "Help your Navajo people and make them your number one priority."
Speaker Morgan encouraged officials and gave them advice in working with their central tribal government. He encouraged the strengthening of partnerships, open communication, teamwork and building camaraderie.
Morgan explained, "This circle of cooperation begins with you as Chapters to work with our central government, to work with our Council and to work with outside entities for the betterment of our people."
In the spirit of cooperation, the Office of the Speaker has collaborated with Chapters across the Nation on several issues and is committed to continuing its service to open and establish relationships with other governmental entities at all levels - relationships that directly and indirectly benefit chapters around the Navajo Nation.
"Your Navajo Nation Council is also working for you and is committed to providing you with necessary tools to strengthen your local governments," Speaker Morgan added. "Funding is important and that is why your Council does what it can to provide Chapters with necessary funding appropriations to help improve the quality of life for the Navajo people."
"As Chapters, you are vitally important to our tribal government," Speaker Morgan said. "As governmental entities, chapters are responsible in bringing stability, accountability and services to their constituents."
"As elected officials, you will face many challenges in providing quality services," Morgan added. "Because our governments have limited resources, we must begin to work together and address the common problems that face our Navajo people by working together. We can all make a positive difference in improving our government - you have all made a commitment today to help your people, and I thank you for your service to the Navajo Nation."
"As a Nation, we have overcome these challenges, we have survived and we have thrived, because we have worked together to take down barriers and we turned them into opportunities and challenges - let us continue to overcome the challenges before us," said Speaker Morgan.
The Navajo Nation Council strongly supports giving autonomy to its local governments, so they can become more self-sufficient and they can determine their own destiny. The Council's approval of the Local Governance Act in 1998 allows chapters to exercise more control over their own affairs.
"We have a lot to look forward to as we enter this New Year," Morgan said. "I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year on behalf of the 21st Navajo Nation Council. Let us renew our goals of improving our chapter governmental operations. It will take a team effort and I know that it can be done. We all make a positive difference in improving our government."