There are always firsts when it comes to government-to-government relations between reservations and state or federal governments. The latest will be August 22 when Bloomfield, New Mexico Mayor Scott Eckstein becomes the first mayor from a border town to sign an “understanding” with the Navajo Nation to improve race relations.
Race relations is always an important issue for American Indians, and seems to be heightened in border towns. With recent stories of alleged hate crimes in Fernley, Nevada and Clovis, California the move for an understanding is a welcomed sight to American Indians.
The memorandum of understanding is new language proposed by the Navajo Nation legislature since its government reform. The language asserts a non-binding agreement.
Bloomfield becomes the fifth border town to address race relations with the Navajo Nation and the fourth New Mexico township. According to a press release the MOAs have become an active mechanism to address improving race relations in Grants, New Mexico; Gallup, New Mexico and Farmington, New Mexico.
In a vote by the oversight committee for the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, Naabik’iyati’ Committee of the Navajo Nation Council on August 16, all were in favor of the MOU but one. Those to be in attendance on August 22 will be Johnny Naize, Navajo Nation Council speaker; Eckstein and Duane H. Yazzie, Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission chairperson