Utah Diné Bikéyah, a nonprofit that supports native tribes working together to protect Bears Ears National Monument, congratulated the new Native American-majority San Juan County Commission in a press release on Nov. 9.

“The board and staff of Utah Diné Bikéyah (UDB) offer heartfelt congratulations to all the San Juan County public officials who won their seats on Tuesday (Nov. 6),” the press release states.

The new Native American-majority San Juan County Commission will include Willie Grayeyes (District 2) and Kenneth Maryboy (District 3). Grayeyes’ victory was confirmed on the evening of Nov. 8, the UDB press release said.

“Congratulations to the San Juan County Commission, which now accurately represents a Native American-majority voice,” said Mark Maryboy, a founding board member of UDB.

Maryboy encouraged the new San Juan County Commission to focus on providing social services to all citizens in an equitable fashion. He emphasized that San Juan County has historically neglected the needs of local Ute, Diné and Paiute communities, approximately 40 percent of whom lack running water and electricity in their homes.

Commissioner-elect Willie Grayeyes is excited to address those issues now that the local majority Native American population will be fully represented and no longer erased through gerrymandering, the press release said. Grayeyes added that he will work to heal the divide in San Juan County. 

“You have to be positive to achieve consensus,” Grayeyes said. “We will create conversations to hopefully change local attitudes toward Native Americans and our priorities. You have to be positive in order to get results.”

UDB also congratulates newly elected Navajo Nation officials, as well as congressional and state leaders in Utah. On Tuesday, Nov. 6, current San Juan Commissioner Phil Lyman was elected to represent District 73 in the Utah State House of Representatives. 

“I would like to congratulate Representative-elect Lyman on winning his House seat, where he will now represent more than 8,000 underserved Native American Utahns,” said Gavin Noyes, UDB executive director. “We look forward to working with him on infrastructure, economic development, and healing cultural divides — all of which require more attention from Utah’s highest leadership.”

Nonprofit UDB congratulates county’s new leadership

“You have to be positive to achieve consensus.”