WINDOW ROCK, AZ – The 25th Navajo Nation Council took the oath of office during the Navajo Nation inauguration ceremony held at the Bee Hółdzil Fighting Scouts Event Center in Fort Defiance, AZ. Shortly after being sworn in, the 24-member council reconvened for a special session to select a Speaker Pro Tem at the Navajo Nation Council Chamber. The Navajo Nation President & Vice President, Navajo Board of Election Supervisors, Navajo Nation Board of Education, and the Kayenta Township and Naschitti Commissioners also took their oath of office during the ceremony.
The first 25th Navajo Nation Council Special Session commenced with recognition leading up to the discussion of Legislation No. 0001-23. Sponsored by Hon. Eugenia Charles-Newton and co-sponsored by Hon. Vince R. James, Legislation 0001-23 is an emergency legislation to select a Speaker Pro Tem to perform limited duties from Jan. 10 to Jan. 23, 2023, or when the Navajo Nation Council confirms a Speaker for the 25th Navajo Nation Council.
An amendment sponsored by Hon. Rickie Nez and co-sponsored by Hon. Seth Damon to nominate Hon. Otto Tso as the Speaker Pro Tem was made before conversations regarding the appointment system were made. After a lengthy discussion, members of the Council voted 20 in favor of the amendment before the main motion on Legislation 0001-23 was voted on.
With 22 in favor and one opposed, the 25th Navajo Nation Council confirmed Hon. Tso to serve as the temporary Speaker. The first order of business at the 2023 winter session is to elect a permanent Speaker of the 25th Navajo Nation Council for a two-year term.
“I would like to thank my colleagues of the 25th Navajo Nation Council for having the confidence in me to temporarily lead the Legislative Branch,” said Pro Tem Speaker Tso. “The 25th Navajo Nation Council would also like to congratulate President Nygren and Vice President Montoya for their historic commencement as we are ready to work in solidarity to improve the lives of our people across the Navajo Nation.”
At the inauguration ceremony, Chief Justice JoAnn Jayne administered the oath of office to Hon. Speaker Tso who represents the community of Tónaneesdizí, AZ.
In 1989, the Navajo Nation’s three-branch government system was established through Title II Amendments of the Navajo Nation Code resulting in the creation of the Navajo Nation executive, legislative, and judicial branches and the power to appoint a speaker of the Navajo Nation Council.
For the first time in modern Navajo history, nine Navajo women will lead the Navajo people as lawmakers on the Navajo Nation Council. The 2023 winter session will be held in person at the Navajo Nation Council Chamber from Jan. 23-27, 2023.