News Release

Navajo Nation - Office of the President and Vice President

On Wednesday, Navajo Nation Vice President Lizer, 24th Navajo Nation Council members Amber Kanazbah Crotty and Nathaniel Brown, representatives from the City of Blanding, and the Utah Office for Victims of Crime commemorated the collaboration between the Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. and the Navajo Nation Division of Social Services (DSS), Department of Family Services to open the Gentle Ironhawk Shelter, a women and children’s home, which was purchased by the Navajo Nation in 2018 to provide services for Navajo Utah residents.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Vice President Lizer expressed the Nez-Lizer Administration's full support of the partnership between the Division of Social Services and Utah Navajo Health System (UNHS) to open the Gentle Ironhawk Shelter and reopen operations to help Navajo families.

“On behalf of the Nez-Lizer Administration, I am honored to be part of this celebration to commemorate the partnership that has developed in the last few years to provide much-needed services for our Navajo people in the state of Utah. Each of the partners involved have dedicated their time and resources to work through the challenges and create solutions to reopen the shelter. While we commend the reopening of the facility, we also continue to focus our attention to the root causes of the problems that create the need for such shelters. We must continue to work together with all of the partners to resolve those issues,” said Vice President Lizer. 

On Wednesday, Navajo Nation Vice President Lizer, 24th Navajo Nation Council members Amber Kanazbah Crotty and Nathaniel Brown, representatives from the City of Blanding, and the Utah Office for Victims of Crime commemorated the collaboration between the Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. and the Navajo Nation Division of Social Services, Department of Family Services to open the Gentle Ironhawk Shelter, a women and children’s home, which was purchased by the Navajo Nation in 2018 to provide services for Navajo Utah residents.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Vice President Lizer expressed the Nez-Lizer Administration's full support of the partnership between the Division of Social Services and Utah Navajo Health System to open the Gentle Ironhawk Shelter and reopen operations to help Navajo families.

“On behalf of the Nez-Lizer Administration, I am honored to be part of this celebration to commemorate the partnership that has developed in the last few years to provide much-needed services for our Navajo people in the state of Utah. Each of the partners involved have dedicated their time and resources to work through the challenges and create solutions to reopen the shelter. While we commend the reopening of the facility, we also continue to focus our attention to the root causes of the problems that create the need for such shelters. We must continue to work together with all of the partners to resolve those issues,” said Vice President Lizer. 

As a result, a partnership between Utah Navajo Health System and Navajo Nation Division of Social Services was established. On June 8, 2021, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez signed an agreement to lease the facility to Utah Navajo Health System to administer operations of the shelter. In support, Vice President Lizer encouraged other community organizations, the City, and local law enforcement to replicate the Utah Navajo Health System and Navajo Nation Division of Social Services' unique and historical partnership to ultimately benefit families and individuals in need of protection and care.

“When Rick and Michael proposed a partnership to reopen the shelter, Mrs. Neswood-Gishey and I did not hesitate to take the opportunity. After the purchase in 2018, the shelter has not been operational as envisioned, mostly due to the challenges of our protocols. The partnership with Utah Navajo Health System allows the shelter to be what it was always meant to be, a haven for women and children. And that was always the ultimate goal,” stated Regina Yazzie.

For more information contact Navajo Nation Division of Social Services Department for Family Services Department Manager III, Regina Yazzie at (928) 871-6619 or Delilah Goodluck, Communications Manager for the Navajo Nation Division of Social Services Office of the Executive Director at (928) 871-6851.

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