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Diné Policy Institute Tsaile, Navajo Nation August 24, 2006
Mission and Purpose Through Sa’ah Naghai Bik’eh Hozhoon, Diné Policy Institute will provide quality research and well-reasoned policy recommendations that leads to better government for the Navajo Nation and a high quality of life, today and tomorrow. “Bee cháná’ alíí dooleel”
What makes DPI unique: 1. Policy recommendations based on Navajo 2. epistemology (or ways of knowing). A problem-solving approach using authentic Diné thinking for policy-making (i. e. , all creation has life)
Common Non-Navajo Approach to Policy Making
Current Practice of Policy-Making at the Chapter Level Reactive process Issue voted on at Chapter Meeting Issue goes to Planning Meeting Planning Officials decide if issue should go to Chapter Meeting
Chapter level • “We rely on what the Navajo Nation gives us to make a decision. ” • “We do not look at the long term impact…if it looks good we do it. ” • “There is no analysis of the issue. ” • “Issue is made by the people, without any real information about the impact of the issue at hand. ” • “Our policies consist of the Five Management system. What we need to know in order to make good policy
Benefits of Policy-Analysis (Bee ei dahozin) 1. Informed factual-based decisions 2. Long-term and short-term impact 3. 4. 5. understood Balanced perspective (information coming from different sources) Doesn’t rely on political whims Fair and “Objective”
Need to improve on the current process and Need for DPI 1. Policy should be made with due consideration of 2. 3. cultural values and tradition. (If included, it appears to be for “token” purposes) A specific value set is used to make policy, usually this value set does not comport with Diné values. We need to change that practice. The current policy has different objectives and goals imbedded in the policy that are often times contradictory to Navajo goals and objectives. Consistency is a must to make uniform policy
Unique Elements of the process as recognized by DPI 1. K’e or the social connection: relations with all creation 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. is the foundational principle guiding the process. Transparency Participatory General consensus among all stakeholders Reciprocity Accountability Rational Equity Public Trust
Based on the principles of Sa’ah Naghai Bik’eh Hozhoon (SNBH). Defined as to walk in a balanced life, with longevity and happiness. To do so one must use the principles of SNBH: Diné Policy Process Siihasin Nitshakees SNBH Iina Nahatah
How the Process works: 1. 2. Nitsahakees Define a problem 1. Nahatah Select Criteria for evaluating problem. In the planning stage, need to determine what will evaluate the policy. 1. 3. 4. Use standards of behavior, personality, opinion, and attitude to define problem Use standards of behavior, personality, opinion, and attitude as criteria Iina Evaluate the policy. 1. Use standards of behavior, personality, opinion, and attitude to evaluate policy Siihasin Reap the benefits of policy. 1. Use standards of behavior, personality, opinion, and attitude to assess benefits
What are we doing? “…provide quality research and well-reasoned policy recommendations that leads to better government…” 1. Developing a survey instrument to gauge the 2. 3. 4. opinions of the Navajo Nation on the most pressing issues. Developing a certificate program for Chapter Officials and NN employees. In the process of recruiting graduate students to conduct research. Formalizing agreements with other Institutes of Higher Learning for research partnerships.
The Navajo Nation money is being well spent!