KAYENTA, AZ – Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez joined community members, 24th Navajo Nation Council Delegate Nathaniel Brown, Navajo County Justice of the Peace Judge Susie Nelson, Kayenta Acting Town Manager Stephen Young, and Navajo Nation Special Diabetes Program staff for the Kayenta Wellness Center groundbreaking ceremony in Kayenta, AZ.
The $2.1 million wellness center was funded through the Navajo Nation Special Diabetes Program and will be located near the Kayenta Recreation Park. The wellness center will include cycling, Zumba, a kitchen, and fitness classrooms. The Nez-Lizer Administration successfully advocated for the extension of the Special Diabetes Project by Congress last year, which will continue to provide funding to combat diabetes on the Navajo Nation.
“The new wellness center symbolizes growth toward a healthier future and the ability to fight against COVID-19, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression and other mental health issues, alcohol/substance abuse, and other health issues,” said President Nez. “There is a need to take care of ourselves, families, and communities, and I encourage everyone to utilize the new wellness center through the practice of T’áá Hwó Ají Téego, or self-reliance and self-determination.”
The wellness center will provide nutrition education, diabetes prevention education, and physical activities for the community of Kayenta and surrounding communities.
“It is important for our Navajo citizens to remain healthy and strong,” said Joan Gray, Navajo Nation Special Diabetes Program Kayenta Supervisor. “Diabetes and other related health concerns have taken a toll on our people, and we need to fight back. Physical activity is a preventable action to avoid illnesses and diseases.”
“Physical and mental health and overall wellness remain as a top priority for the Nez-Lizer Administration,” said President Nez. “As Vice President in the last administration, we prioritized building new wellness centers throughout the Navajo Nation. Since then, we have broken ground for wellness centers in Shiprock, Crownpoint, and Kayenta. We congratulate the community of Kayenta and commend the local leadership, community members, and the Navajo Nation Special Diabetes Program for working together to promote health and wellness.”
During the event, Navajo Nation former Vice President Rex Lee Jim provided a traditional blessing and prayer for the groundbreaking site, Monument Valley High School JROTC program posted the Colors, and Navajo Nation Special Diabetes Program manager Charlene Begay provided the benediction.
The Kayenta Wellness Center is expected to be completed in early 2022.