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Navajo Nation addresses military conflict in Iraq

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From the office of the President Joe Shirley Jr. and Vice President Frank Dayish Jr. of the Navajo Nation

Our great country is facing war with Iraq and their leader Saddam Hussein. As your Navajo Nation leaders, we encourage all our Dine' people to pray for our Navajo military service men and women and all U.S. soldiers, who are prepared to defend our freedom, democracy, and patriotism.

Whether you support this war or not, now is the time for us to unify as a Nation and strengthen our beliefs in our Creator. We humbly ask that you pray for those soldiers on the front lines, overseas, and with homeland security, as they defend our country against further terrorist attacks.

Let us not forget our Dine' military soldiers and Native American forefathers who have a long history of fighting for our country and Indian Nations. Native Americans proudly continue to have the highest rate per capita of military service men and women enlisted in our country's U.S. Armed Forces.

We encourage individuals to stay informed of world events and its impact on the Nation. If anything should change the 'business as usual' status, we will use various means of communications to get information to you as soon as possible, which will include Navajo Nation radio stations.

Regardless of our own personal views, we must continue to respect the rights of all individuals and groups who gather peacefully on public property to express their opinions or display their patriotism. Respecting others, regardless of their beliefs, backgrounds, and political affiliations, is part of our culture and what makes the Navajo Nation the great Nation that it is. Without infringing on freedom of expression, we will not tolerate violent behavior or intimidation, and we will closely monitor demonstrations to ensure they do not disrupt the mission of the Nation.

To ensure the safety of our Nation's security we are currently reviewing a funding grant to apply for a portion of $600 million that is being made available from Homeland Security, which will enable us to prepare our Public Safety Agency and Office of Emergency Management to prevent, prepare and respond to terrorism.

In addition, the Navajo Nation homepage will update the status of the Nation as needed and provide instructions in the event there is an emergency. The Navajo Nation homepage can be found at: www.Navajo.org. If you are feeling uneasy or overly stressed, we encourage you to seek out numerous options for counseling and consultation.