Navajo Nation fails to pass junk food tax

Created: 04/22/2014 6:28 PM
By: Devin Neeley, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The day started with an early Zumba session in front of Navajo Nation Council Chambers in Window Rock, AZ.

And inside the chambers, the hotly debated junk food tax was again on the floor.

Earlier this year Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly vetoed the tax, citing issues with enforcement and tax revenue.

Tuesday, representatives from the Diné Community Advocacy Alliance joined with golfer Notah Begay to urge representatives to overturn the veto. Begay says the issue of obesity among the Navajo people is reaching epidemic levels.

“The Native American people suffer from obesity and type two diabetes at a higher rate than anybody else in the country it’s not just affecting the children here in the Navajo nation but children  across all of Indian country.”

Today’s vote had to have 16 in favor. 20 Navajo Nation Council members voted but the tax failed by just three votes.

Although the sponsors of the legislation are disappointed, they are happy the issue is now part of the conversation.

”It is finally causing awareness as far as hey what are we doing where do we live what's the dominating culture of healthy foods and let’s talk about it,” said Denisa Livingston from the Diné Community Advocacy Alliance

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