KAYENTA, AZ – The Kayenta Township Commission and staff would like to inform the public of its loss on Wednesday evening, June 2, 2010, Kayenta Town Manager, Keith Betsuie. He was 47 years old.
Early Thursday morning, over 40 community people comprised of Kayenta Township staff, local leaders, Police Officers, and dignitaries gathered at the Town Hall to pay their condolences. Shonto Chapter President and Kayenta Rodeo Task Force member Lorenzo Isaac spoke about his friendship through High School with Mr. Betsuie, “He was always a very good guy. Keith returned to his community because he was ready to do the work that was necessary for the Township and the community,” he said. “Also, when he was a young kid, we all used to call him ‘Francis’,” he said.
Keith was a native of the Kayenta community, and had recently returned from the city of Maricopa where he worked as a Tribal Liaison, to take on his work as the Town Manager for the Kayenta Township. He was just about to complete his first three months as Town Manager.
Madame Chair Helen Bonnaha and three Commissioners went into Executive Session to delegate Community Development Director, Gabriel Yazzie as the Interim Town Manager. “In the short time that Mr. Betsuie worked at the Township, we’ve taken some very important steps. We just need to continue the momentum that he has set,” she said.
Keith Betsuie is Kinlichii’nii, the Red House clan born for To Aheedliinii, Water Flows Together. His maternal grandparents are Kinyaa’aanii, Towering House. His paternal grandfather is Ashiihii, the Salt clan. He was born in Gouldings, Utah and raised in Kayenta, Arizona. He is a graduate of Arizona State University.
Mr. Betsuie’s previous experience includes working in Washington D.C. as a Legislative Associate. While there, he worked on many issues such as Public Safety, Judicial Courts, BIA Trust Reform, the Tribal Sovereignty Protection Initiative, Homeland Security, Navajo-Hopi relocation and monitored U.S. Supreme Court cases important to the Navajo Nation.
As an active citizen, Keith served as a member of the Navajo Green Economies Commission, which was hand-picked by the Navajo Nation Intergovernmental Relations Committee. This Commission was founded based on legislation that was passed by the Navajo Nation Council called the Navajo Green Economy Fund of 2009. For several years, he also served as Vice-President on the Kayenta Chapter Community Land Use Planning Committee. Keith is also a member of the Nahata Dziil Leasing Corporation, the Arizona County City Managers Association, and an Executive Member of the Construction in Indian Country.
As more information will be forthcoming throughout the day, funeral arrangements and family meetings will be announced at a later time. Or, for more information, you can also call the Kayenta Township at (928) 697-8451.