LEUPP, Ariz. — On July 7, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and First Lady Phefelia Nez joined youth community members, families, Council Delegate Elmer P. Begay, and volunteers at Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort for a kick-off event for the 7th Annual Tour de Sih Hasin bike ride, which began July 8.

The annual bike ride began in 2012 to raise awareness and to help prevent suicide, substance abuse, domestic violence, and environmental issues in Navajo communities. It also provides an opportunity for Navajo youth and families to be engaged in a fun activity to help build self-esteem and confidence while promoting health and wellness.

“Life can be tough, especially for our children. In those challenging times it’s important that we remember the teachings of our elders — their words teach us to be strong, and to overcome the modern-day monsters like alcohol, drugs, depression, suicide, and other issues. Events such as this bike ride help our communities come together and inspire hope and resilience in our young people,” Nez said.

Event organizer and founder Claudia Jackson also spoke at Sunday’s kick-off event, and explained that the annual bike ride began in 2012 as a result of several suicides that occurred in the legislative district that Council Delegate Elmer P. Begay represented as a member of the 22nd Navajo Nation Council. Together, they began working with sponsors, chapters, and many others to coordinate the bike ride to help inspire and empower Navajo youth.

Jackson stated that she also focused her efforts on involving more girls and women in this year’s bike ride and was successful in securing the donation of 32 bikes for girls and their mothers.

Working together with the Navajo Nation Division of Behavioral and Mental Health Services, President Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer have made behavioral and mental health a top priority for their administration, as well as for First Lady Nez and Second Lady Dottie Lizer.

The weeklong 200-mile challenge will begin at 7 a.m. on Monday from Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, which will take the bike riders through the communities of Grand Falls, Tolani Lake, Teesto, Dilkon, Greasewood, Cornfields, Ganado, and conclude in Window Rock July 14.

On July 14, participants proceeded to Window Rock where they joined horseback riders, the Tour de Sih Hasin bike riders, and others to commemorate the start of the 2019 Summer Council Session, which began July 15.

Nez also commended the organizers for helping to promote the “Buy Navajo, Buy Local” initiative by keeping families and sponsors on the Navajo Nation by hosting the events in Navajo communities year after year.

More information is available at http://www.sihhasinbikeride.com.

Information provided by the Office of the President and Vice President

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