Burnt Corn residents celebrate new multipurpose building for community members
BURNT CORN, Ariz. — About 100 residents of Naadáá Díílid filled the new multipurpose building to officially take ownership of the new facility during the Nov. 7 building dedication.
They were joined by chapter officials, tribal leaders and surrounding community members.
A Pendleton blanket with the Great Seal of the Navajo Nation covered the doorway as Navajo prayers and chants filled the space within.
Murray Construction Solutions Inc. of Chinle, Arizona presented the certificate of ownership and occupancy before Navajo medicine man Rex Lee Jim began the traditional Navajo blessing.
Jim sat upon a sheep skin and prayed for the community members and for favorable use of the new building. Hot ashes coalesced upon a steel lid that served as the alter for the ceremony.
“Think of (this building) as a living entity,” he said. “Like the land, air, water and fire. These songs and prayers are for people to connect with each other and for relationship building. It’s to bring the people together.”
Corn pollen was passed throughout the crowd four times during the ceremony, for residents to bless themselves and their families. The predominately Navajo elder audience visibly enjoyed this portion of the building dedication.
Clarene Hosteen served as the patient for the ceremony on behalf of the Burnt Corn community.
The 2,100 square feet new building is Americans with Disabilities Act compliant, featuring a ramp for wheelchairs, wide doors, ADA-compliant bathrooms with rails for men and women, an industrial kitchen, and a large meeting space.
Council Delegate Kee Allen Begay Jr. (Low Mountain, Many Farms, Nazlini, Tachee-Blue Gap, Tselani-Cottonwood) expressed appreciation to the members of the 24th Navajo Nation Council, Navajo Hopi Land Commission, and to Speaker Damon for their support of the facility.
Speaking in Navajo, he said, “My relatives and family, it will be upon you again to take care of this building. Please take good care of it. We setup this building with electricity and running for you. There were also prayers and blessings done for Burnt Corn to move forward.”
Begay thanked former speaker Johnny Naize for doing the legwork on the project and said the Navajo Hopi Land Commission was instrumental in getting the building funded.
Aaron Yazzie, Tachee-Blue Gap Chapter President, said other projects were in the horizon.
He primarily spoke Navajo throughout the agenda and said the building would become a place of planning for residents.
“Those of you from Burnt Corn, whatever needs to be done in the community, whatever plans are needed, will now be done in this building,” he said. “We face many challenges such as the enforcement of grazing permits to the maintenance of roads that lead to homes. We setup this building for that purpose.”
Elmer Murray, president of Navajo-owned Murray Construction Solutions, commended the Tachee-Blue Gap Chapter and said that they developed the project.
He noted space restrictions at the Blue Gap Chapter prompted the effort to provide a new building to residents of Burnt Corn.
Information provided by the Office of the Speaker