Navajo Nation Hosts Inaugural Sustainability Symposium 2019

Emphasis on sustainability practices as acts of sovereignty and global leadership

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – To be held at the High Country Conference Center in Flagstaff, AZ, the Office of Navajo Government Development in partnership with Chinle Chapter Government will host the first-ever Navajo Sustainability Symposium from Monday, April 29th through Wednesday, May 1st, 2019.

Set to engage, create dialogue, and empower Navajo Nation administration officials, chapters, and tribal citizens primarily, the inaugural Navajo Sustainability Symposium (NSS) has been planned at a momentous time of transition for the Navajo Nation. In the wake of such events as the closing of the Navajo Generating Station and Peabody Coalmine, the importance of sustainable practices in business as well as operations, and the development of renewable energy sources have become of paramount concern.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez commented on sustainability from a Navajo perspective, “Navajo life-way teachings are sustainability…we are exercising that sovereign ability to take care of ourselves, that’s where it starts first. We have the answers to all of our problems on the Nation; we have to incorporate our way-of-life teachings into what we’re doing on Navajo.”


The theme of this year’s inaugural event is around building partnerships and empowering Navajo officials to begin learning about and incorporating sustainable best-practices along with Navajo traditional beliefs.

Keynote speaker Dr. Paul Hawken, renowned author, journalist, and environmentalist states, “The language that we use in the climate change establishment has guaranteed that 99% of the world is disengaged, and what we try to do is instead of talking about the probabilities of what’s going to go wrong, how, at what time, and what the impacts are going to be…what we do is we talk about the possibilities.”

The NSS is seen as the Navajo Nation’s first major step in committing to intertwining traditional life-ways with technology, indigenous and non-indigenous academia, and implementing the results into real solutions for the Navajo people and beyond.

“It’s not us versus them. We are all humanity that has to work together to find these solutions. There is no other way.” Emphasizes Edward Dee, Executive Director of the Office of Navajo Government Development.


The mission of the Sustainability Symposium is to engage business, academia, communities, NGOs and others in active discussion of the issues of Sustainability for Navajo Nation including, but not limited to, sustainable business practices, sustainable energy transitions, energy conservation, adopt and implement sustainable practices, creating sustainable neighborhoods, water conservation and purity, natural capital investments, sustainable tourism, language and culture, and sustain Mother Earth.

The Sustainability Symposium will act as a catalyst to encourage a more sustainable transition and practices across all sectors on Navajo Nation and to increase economic sustainability locally and regional that can serve as models for the Planet.


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