‘Pray for peace’: Navajo Nation responds to crisis at U.S. Capitol
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — What started out as a special day for the Navajo Nation — a peaceful inauguration for chapter and other local officials to carry out duties and service for the Navajo people — was overshadowed by violence that occurred in Washington D.C. Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol.
On Jan. 6, President Donald Trump held a “Save America Rally” as Congress convened for the ceremonial counting of the Electoral College votes in the Senate chambers. Following the rally, protestors breached barricades at the U.S. Capitol and overran Capitol Police officers to enter the building. Five people were killed, including one police officer. More than 50 police officers were injured during the attack.
“First and foremost, the violent events unfolding at the Capitol in Washington D.C. are shameful, uncalled for and need to stop immediately,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer said in a statement as the chaos in the Capitol was unfolding. “We are praying for the safety and well-being of our leaders and staff in Congress, law enforcement officers, the Navajo Nation Washington Office staff members and all citizens of the Navajo Nation and country.”
Nez and Lizer said they hope and pray that the nation heals from the divisive politics that has driven so much of the discord in the country.
“We must remember that peaceful transition of power has always been a cornerstone of our country’s democracy and for the Navajo people,” they said. “The division and violence that has escalated today is unacceptable and must not be condoned or perpetuated by anyone, including our own Navajo people and leaders.”
Nez and Lizer said the Navajo people need to be united and not let the divisiveness seen in Washington D.C. unfold in their homeland.
“Remember the teaching of our elders and the examples set by our past leaders and ancestors,” they said. “Despite differences in views of society, politics and values, we must always maintain respect and dignity for all people and each other.”
Nez and Lizer sad the country and the Navajo Nation are facing unprecedented challenges and uncertainties, but that they are strong and resilient — and that the Nation’s grandparents, parents and many others have proven this time and again throughout our history.
“In the midst of this pandemic, unprecedented numbers of COVID-19 infections and the overwhelming of our health care system, it is important for all Americans to come together and to protect the institutions of democracy, the spirit and hope of democracy, and most importantly to protect the health and safety of all Americans,” Nez and Lizer said. “We ask you to join us in prayer for our Navajo people and our country at this time.”