The Navajo Nation Council, responding to ongoing requests from a coalition of tribal members and other supporters, voted to create a Green Economy Commission designed to stimulate both traditional and modern forms of economic activity.
The Commission's focus will be not only to create jobs in this depressed region, where the unemployment rate is 44 percent, but to do so in sustainable, culturally appropriate ways. Current proposals include wool mills and weavers' co-ops, as well as traditional agriculture, green construction, home weatherization, renewable energy, and other projects to promote energy and water efficiency. It will also apply for federal money earmarked for green jobs and economic stimulus.
"A green economy is not a new concept to Navajo," said Tony Skrelunas, a member of the coalition that proposed the bill. "There are many green business opportunities that fit perfectly with our culture. We must once again hearken to such processes to truly build our own economy that puts high value on our tradition - old and modern economic pursuits. In this way, we will build a vibrant economy for the future generations while honoring our great ancestors."