11/6/2012 3:23:00 PM President Shelly signs Memorandum of Understanding with University of New Mexico Agreement aimed at providing Native American students public works project experience
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelley signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of New Mexico Oct. 29. Submitted photo
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - Navajo Nation President Ben Shelley and University of New Mexico (UNM) President Robert G. Frank,signed a Memorandum of Understanding Oct. 30 to develop projects along the US 491 and Interstate 40 corridors and the Chaco Canyon Resort.
Navajo Nation Department of Diné Education Superintendent Andrew M. Tah attended the ceremony at the president's office.
Vice President Rex Lee Jim talked about positive benefits the MOU will bring to the Navajo Nation. Community planning and zoning projects are planned in seven communities including Shiprock, Crownpoint, Tohatchi, Diznothodithli, Thoreau and Tsayotah. The MOU includes the Fort Wingate Master Plan.
Tah said the Navajo Nation will begin to see positive community land use planning (LUP) in communities in need. The land use planning documents will help communities seek federal and state funds for infrastructural developments.
"The University of New Mexico is a good neighbor to the Navajo Nation," Superintendent Tah said, "Currently there are over 1,000 Navajo students attending the University of New Mexico. We want to continue the partnership established between the Navajo Nation and UNM. Relying on UNM resources and professionals, the MOU is a positive step in the right direction."
Regarding land use planning for schools, Tah said he wants the Department of Diné Education involved in the school zoning proposals in the communities. The University of New Mexico will continue as a member of the Navajo Nation Teacher Education Consortium (NNTEC). UNM and NNDODE meet quarterly for planning and strategy sessions.
Those attending the ceremony included Wynn Goering, UNM Gallup branch interim executive director; Marjorie M. Krebs, assistant professor, College of Education; Geraldine Forbes Isais, dean and professor, School of Architecture and Planning; Amanda J. Montoya, program specialist, School of Architecture and Planning.