CROWNPOINT — When recapping his six year journey to earn a bachelor's degree at Navajo Technical University, Darrick Lee called the experience a "privilege."
Graduates heard an inspiring speech by Winona LaDuke, an internationally renowned activist for the environment and for social justice.
LaDuke is Anishinaabe and executive director of Honor the Earth, an organization she co-founded with Amy Ray and Emily Salier of the music group, Indigo Girls.
In her remarks, she reflected on the energy transition the Navajo Nation faces and how the graduates will take the lead in developing that change, including investment in solar and wind projects.
"No time like the present to rebuild your energy economy," she said.
She said now is the time to end the injustice done by energy developers to Native peoples, including using the land to produce energy for urban populations while nearby households remain without electricity.
"Your nation will be a leader in this. I see this and know this. We are all counting on you to do the right thing," LaDuke said.
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.