News Release – Diné College President Presents Before NN Council

Diné College President Presents Before NN Council, White House Indian Affairs Reps


Oct. 27, 2020

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz.— Speaking before officials from the Trump administration at a meeting hosted by the Navajo Nation Council, Diné College President Charles Monty Roessel said that an administrative “stroke of a pen” for a Tuba City lab will go a long way for Diné College.

Roessel’s statement was brief as were similar statements by Navajo Technical University President Elmer Guy, Ph.D.

“…We ask for your help for Diné College, Navajo Technical University and other tribal schools,” Roessel, Ed.D., said.

Roessel mentioned a 2020 grant in which the college applied for but didn’t get, but that would help in building a science lab at the Tuba City campus. Roessel said the rejection was because Diné College didn’t qualify.

“Some of our (Tuba City) faculty have been published,” Roessel told the body, which included U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Mark Cruz. “Research is a big part of who we are. We could use your help.”

A 2020 research paper authored by Diné College professors Shazia Hakim, Ph.D., and Joseph DeSoto, Ph.D., about the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and its impact upon Native Americans provides clarification of the transmission and virulence of the virus. The paper, The Medical Basis for Increased Susceptibility of Covid-19 among the Navajo and other Indigenous Tribes: A Survey, concludesin partthat Native Americans and Asians may be particularly susceptible to Covid-19 for reasons rooted in biology.

Roessel also spoke of the need for expanded broadband with E-rate eligibility. Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU’s) need to be included in the E-Rate Programs, a federal program that helps schools and libraries get affordable internet access, Roessel noted. (TCU’s serve over 16,000 students who live in primarily rural areas where broadband access is limited).

Guy spoke of the urgency for equitable federal funding for tribal colleges. The proposed allocation of federal funding is 60 percent for Bureau of Indian Education (K-12) schools and 40 percent for tribal colleges and universities.

Tuesday’s meeting was hosted by the Navajo Nation Council to inform White House policy advisors from federal agencies about the Navajo Nation’s key federal priorities. Besides education, other topics discussed were infrastructure and transportation, health and veteran’s affairs and economic growth.



Marie R. Etsitty Nez 
Vice President of External Affairs

George Joe, M.A., M.Ed, Director Of Marketing and Communications

Bernie DotsonPublic Relations Officer

Scott TomGraphic Design and Digital Media Specialist

Jazzmine D. MartinezMarketing Assistant

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