Dineh Chamber Advocates for Navajo Business at Roundtable Discussion with Vice-President Lizer

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Dineh Chamber Advocates for Navajo Business at Roundtable Discussion with Vice-President Lizer

OPINION EDITORIAL

September 8, 2021

RE: Dineh Chamber Advocates for Navajo Business at Roundtable Discussion with VP Lizer

Dear Dineh, 

On September 2, the Dineh Chamber of Commerce hosted vice president Myron Lizer and over one hundred Navajo business leaders to an honest roundtable discussion about capturing contract opportunities in the Navajo Nation Fiscal Recovery Fund (NNFRF) expenditure process.

The question on everybody’s mind was, ‘How do we get our businesses a piece of the approximately $2 billion of expenditures from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)?’ Moreover, ‘How can proper recovery of public health and economic losses occur without utilizing Navajo-owned businesses for necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure?’

Everyone got the opportunity to address the vice-president, who then offered his insight. In summary, he agreed with the critiques and wants APRA and NNFRF contracts awarded to qualified Navajo contractors. 

Some of the stories were heartbreaking. Navajo people invest and sacrifice to create an opportunity for themselves only to lose to a stagnant bureaucracy’s excessive burden and red-tape. 

With all the economic uncertainty concerning COVID-19, the stakes could not be higher. How I see it, we can either make the proper investments and utilize Navajo contractors or continue with business as usual, making wealthy non-Navajo companies richer.

The Chamber understands these problems because our members are business leaders and entrepreneurs. They’re tired of ongoing rhetoric for economic development. They’re tired of inaction to fix ineffective laws for Navajo businesses. 

We have the brainpower. We have skilled professionals and trade smiths that can make necessary changes or eliminate rules and habits of our government’s purchasing.

We know that when the Navajo Nation contracts with Navajo companies, everyone wins. When we work together, opportunities manifest, and everyone benefits. When our leaders begin to understand and support Navajo business, we will thrive in industry and commerce.

We can fix this, but it will take partnerships between community leaders, entrepreneurs, and government advocates to cultivate a business-friendly environment in the Navajo Nation. If you want to help us make changes, here’s how you can get involved:

  1. Join the Chamber and participate in our upcoming events and weekly calls
  2. Volunteer on committees to advance Chamber initiatives and improve the business environment
  3. Network with business, government, and community leaders and support one another and the Chamber

Our first Navajo Business Leaders Roundtable was a tremendous success. We feel like this was a turning point, and we will be having more roundtable meetings soon. So please look out for those announcements. 

Thank you, vice-president, for sharing your time and your wisdom with the Navajo business leaders. We are fortunate to have you advocating on behalf of our interests at all levels. 

Thank you, Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce, for your hospitality and support. 

To watch the recording of the roundtable discussion, visit our website. 

https://www.dinehchamber.org/

Sincerely,

Jeff Begay, Chair
Board of Directors
Dineh Chamber of Commerce
jefflbegay@gmail.com