Navajo President Russell Begaye wraps up first official meetings in the nation’s capital

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Contact: Jared King
Communications Director
Navajo Nation Washington Office

For Immediate Release

Navajo President Russell Begaye wraps up first official meetings in the nation’s capital

WASHINGTON—In his first official visit to the nation’s capital as the newly elected leader of the sovereign Navajo Nation, President Russell Begaye emphasized his administration’s commitments to improving infrastructure development and education.

As a member of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Tribal/Interior Budget Council, President Begaye spoke of the need for increased federal funding for infrastructure improvement and education.  These funds are necessary for public health and safety, as well as for economic development opportunities that will grow and sustain the Navajo economy for generations to come.

The Tribal/Interior Budget Council includes two elected tribal leaders from each of the 12 BIA Regions across the country. The executive branch develops its budget two years in advance, and the Council is currently developing recommendations for funding Indian programs for fiscal 2017.

Beginning in the fall, tribal leaders in each BIA region meet to develop regional recommendations on budget priorities, which are consolidated into a single budget recommendation at a March national meeting. The Council meets throughout the year with representatives from the U.S. Department of the Interior to assist in the formulation of the Indian Affairs annual budget requests and performance plans.

The Council works to secure funding at the levels necessary to strengthen tribal governmental capacity to serve their citizens and communities. The budget recommendation is used by Indian Affairs to help justify their budget request to the administration.

Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs, Kevin Washburn welcomed President Begaye to the Council. “With us today is the new Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye. I am glad to see Navajo leadership here in these discussions.”

President Begaye expressed his thanks to Assistant Secretary Washburn and the Obama Administration. “The Navajo Nation looks forward to working with the administration in setting priorities and robust goals and outcomes for the betterment of our people. We appreciate the administration’s reverence for our sovereignty and we look forward to working together on a government-to-government basis. It is an honor to be here.”