Navajo divison holds summit to develop solutions to protect Diné Bikéyah

TWIN ARROWS, Ariz. — On Nov. 15-17, the Division of Natural Resources Summit was held at Twin Arrows for Navajo citizens to learn about the division’s projects and areas of direct services and to promote collaboration between tribal, state and federal partners.

“It’s important to know that for hundreds and thousands of years our people have walked on these lands,” Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said in his closing remarks. “Diné Bikéyah rightfully belongs to the people and we have the responsibility of being the caretakers of its resources.”

Vice President Jonathan Nez gave the keynote address. He encouraged attendees to use the summit as an opportunity to develop solutions to problems and share information to protect Diné Bikéyah.

The Navajo Division of Natural Resources (DNR) is made up of 13 departments and is tasked with managing and protecting the culture and natural resources of the Nation. The many areas covered by DNR include agriculture, fish and wildlife, parks and recreation, mine reclamation, historic preservation and more.

Under the lead of Bidtah Becker, director of DNR, the division has revived its summits. With the exception of the first in the spring of 2016 and the second this week, the Navajo Nation has not had a DNR summit since 2010.

“The summit has yet again seen tremendous attention and provided space for many to collaborate on improving the quality of life for Navajo people,” Becker said. “In all, our purpose here is to ensure that future generations will thrive on the Navajo Nation.”

A wide variety of topics were discussed during the breakout sessions, including but not limited to controlling predators, the trail system, natural resource concerns, conservation planning, the process for acquiring water use permits, home site lease regulations, open burning regulations, updates on water projects, securing environmental compliance, and bringing the Treaty of 1868 back to the Navajo Nation.

In the future, DNR will work on the newly acquired Wolf Springs Ranch in Colorado and pursue a USDA certified meat facility. The division is also working on a number of water projects and is continuing plans to get more local resources to the local communities.

Sponsors of the summit include Navajo Transitional Energy Company, CKP Insurance, the University of Arizona, Freeport-McMoRan, the US Department of Agriculture, the US Department of Interior, WHPacific and more.

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