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Navajo Nation Considers Reinstating Code Talker Day as a Paid Holiday

U.S. Air Force
Navajo Code Talker George Willie greets an audience member in this Nov. 19, 2015 photo. He died in 2017.

Navajo Code Talkers Day could return as a paid holiday for Navajo Nation – just in time for its celebration on Aug. 14.

The Health, Education and Human Services Committee passed a bill recommending the holiday return as a way to give time off in honor of the Navajo Code Talkers who served in World War II. The Navajo Nation Council will have the final say on its reinstatement.

An April 2017 report by the Navajo Nation Office of the Auditor General showed that eliminating the additional holidays to compare to the federal level would shave off about one percent of the payroll budget. That same month, the Council made Navajo Code Talkers Day an observed holiday.

If reinstated, Navajo Nation would have 13 paid holidays compared to the 10 recognized by the federal government. Holidays unique to the tribal government are Navajo Nation Sovereignty Day, Navajo Nation Memorial Day, and Navajo Nation Family Day. They do not recognize Columbus Day.

President Ronald Reagan declared it a national holiday upon creation in 1982, later becoming a paid holiday for Navajo Nation in 2006. 

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