Santee Lewis and Myron Lizer
Santee Lewis, left, former executive director of the Navajo Nation Washington Office, and Myron Lizer, current vice president of the Navajo Nation, are seen at the U.S. Capitol on September 24, 2019. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)
Leader of Navajo Nation Washington Office bids farewell
Tuesday, March 15, 2022
Indianz.Com

WÁÁSHINDOON — Santee Lewis, the executive director of the Navajo Nation Washington Office, announced her departure after three years on the job.

Lewis, a Navajo citizen, said her last day was Friday. She did not offer a reason for her exit from the tribe’s office in Washington, D.C., where she has worked on some of the biggest issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, including passage of the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act, which brought billions of dollars in resources to her people.

“It has been a privilege to serve the Navajo people as the Executive Director for the Navajo Nation Washington Office for the past three years,” Lewis wrote in the latest issue of Wááshindoon Weekly.

Navajo Nation Washington Office Wááshindoon Weekly
Santee Lewis announced her departure from the Navajo Nation Washington Office on the first page of the March 11, 2022, issue of Wááshindoon Weekly.

“I am proud of the initiatives my team and I have skillfully steered during this period including the historic purchase of 11 D St SE (future location of the Navajo Nation Washington Office and Navajo Embassy), helping to secure critical funding in key legislation such as CARES, ARPA, Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement; and the drafting of several dozen testimonies and over a hundred comment letters,” Lewis continued.

“Although there have been many long nights and bumps along the road, I stand in awe in how fortunate the Navajo Nation is to have NNWO and have representation in Wááshindoon,” she said.

Lewis came on board in Washington in January 2019, following the election of Jonathan Nez as president of the Navajo Nation. Nez is expected to seek a second term in office as tribal voters go to the polls later this year.

@NN_MyronLizer on Twitter
The @NN_MyronLizer timeline is seen on Twitter on the afternoon of March 15, 2022.

Nez entered office with Myron Lizer as his vice president. But earlier this month, Lizer annnounced he was seeking the Republican nomination for the 2nd Congressional District of Arizona.

Lizer has not publicly said whether he will be joining Nez on the ticket during the 2022 election cycle. However, he recently made a significant change to his most prominent social media profile.

On Twitter, Lizer now goes by the handle @NN_MyronLizer. Previously, his account was known as @NNVP_Lizer, a reflection of his position as vice president on the tribal government on the largest reservation in the United States.

Links to posts using Lizer’s former handle @NNVP_Lizer are now redirected to @NN_MyronLizer. His biography on the platform states that he is “US Congressional District 2 candidate (Arizona)” in addition to “Navajo Nation Vice President.”

Navajo Nation Embassy
The Navajo Nation Embassy will be located at 11 D Street SE, across from the U.S. Capitol complex in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

The Navajo Nation Washington Office has long been located in commercial buildings in Washington, D.C. It will soon be housed in a property that was purchased by the tribe during the Nez-Lizer administration.

The Navajo Nation Embassy is located at 11 D Street SE, adjacent to the U.S. Capitol complex. The purchase price, along with ongoing renovations and upgrades at the site, was put at $5 million by Nez and Lizer, who supported the acquisition as a way of solidifying the tribe’s presence in D.C.

Lewis has chronicled the activities at the embassy through the Wááshindoon Weekly. In the February 18 issue, she said Avery Denny, a Navajo spiritual leader, and his son, Emory Denny, offered a “cleanse” of the property.

“This is a crucial step incorporating our way of life into our work: Nitsáhákees – Thinking, Nahat’á – Planning, Iiná – Implementation, Siihasin – Reflection,” Lewis wrote as she said the tribe was on track to opening the new building in the spring.

“I am honored to share that Team NNWO is making careful and deliberate steps to plan for the opening of 11 D St. SE as the Navajo Nation Embassy in late Spring 2022,” Lewis added. “At that time, we will have a blessing of this space for the Diné people and all visitors.”

“We look forward to welcoming you into our new space in the very near future,” she said.

In her farewell message on Friday, Lewis said she will be returning to her home state of New Mexico.

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