Meet Chili

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Duane “Chili” Yazzie and Betsy have been married for 39 years, they have 3 children and 8 grandchildren. His clans are Ashiihi` (Salt), Toh aheleeni` (Waters Flowing Together) Kinyaani (Towering House and Tacheeni (Red on the Forehead). Betsy is Tabaahi. Chili is a farmer, he prefers to be down-to-earth working to continue our Diné heritage of agriculture.

In his public service he has served the Shiprock community and the Navajo Nation for 39 years and is now the President of the Shiprock Chapter. He has served in many capacities that gave him the opportunity to advocate for Navajo employment preference, local control of education, protection of Diné natural resources and water, standing up against racism and exploitation of the people and government corruption.

He has been to Washington D.C. numerous times and understands the processes of the Federal, State and Tribal governments. Chili is proud that he has been in the company of and has been mentored by many astute leaders of government, Native and non-Native. He also worked as a Land Use Planner for 8 years as owner of his Rez Star Point business.

As a champion of the civil and human rights of Indigenous peoples since 1969 he has stood up many times against border town oppression and racism, abusive law enforcement, businesses that cheat the people and purveyors of hatred against Native peoples. He has participated in numbers of non-violent actions voicing the need for humanity and tolerance. Such participation has been reasoned, demonstrated by his declining to participate in the infamous Fairchild armed takeover.

One of his proudest achievements is serving as the Chairman of the Navajo Human Rights Commission that he recommended to be formed in 2007. The Commission, a first in Native America was formed to advocate and advance the civil and human rights of the Diné. He has had opportunities to stand before International forums with this advocacy in Geneva, Oslo, Bangkok, Central America, Mexico and Washington, D.C.

Chili continues to be a strong advocate for the protection of sacred sites, he defends Native lifeways including worship and demands that the people have “free, prior and informed consent” especially in natural resources and water issues. Chili is extremely concerned with the health of the earth with climate change and the kind of world we are leaving for our children. Chili believes the Navajo Nation must take a lead role to protect the earth by all means necessary.