Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Wed, Sept. 30

Letter: Navajo Nation lacks educated leadership

One does not need to look too far to conclude that we’ve clearly had a failure of leadership. Disappointingly, our political system is not working as it should.

Big problems are not being addressed, decreasing tribal revenues, tribal government inefficiency, inadequate education system, unsafe communities, lack of quality jobs and infrastructure that is in need of major repair, the list goes on. But what’s the nature of that failure? The leading theory is that it’s the corruption. There is too much power flowing through Window Rock. The elected officials get what they want and everyone else gets the shaft.

Another theory has to do with ill-preparedness. Elected leadership unable to lead at a high level, they don’t have a clue about what is going on beyond them to understand the ‘what’ and ‘how’ for addressing critical issues facing the Nation.

There’s merit in both theories. But I’d point to something deeper. In too many instances we have had leaders who are less likely to have the education, leadership experience and discipline needed to become effective leaders.

So, why haven’t our elected leaders organized a training program to train future tribal leaders?

As simple as it sounds, this is one example where our leadership has failed by not establishing a training center at Diné College or Navajo Technical University. After all, isn’t that part of their mission, be a resource to the Dineh Nation? Part of the blame must include the leadership at the two institutions for failing to see that as a need.

If the speaker and the council can build an empire for themselves and literally use it to take the power away that the Navajo voters give to the president and vice president for electing them into office, they could build a training program for future presidents, council and chapter leaders including tribal government service. Unfortunately, the speaker and council have found themselves enmeshed in a system that drains them of their sense of vocation and are only concerned for the Office of the President and their running mates. Joe Shirley Jr. seems to be an exceptionally fine person, but when he was campaigning he did not sound like a candidate who has stepped up his leadership or who has a grasp of the major issues facing Navajo people.

Jonathan Nez seems to have been inspired by a desire to serve the youth, but over the past four years he failed to perform at a level to address any of the major issues I list. He also should have disclosed his DUI, which now makes him seem deceitful and untrustworthy.

Like many of you, I am waiting for a leader with a vocation mind-set that has their eyes fixed on the long game and has the skills to throw themselves toward their goals imaginatively, boldly and remorselessly.

Wallace Hanley

Window Rock, Arizona

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