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Navajo Nation honors life of former farm board president and food sovereignty advocate, Dorothy Bitsilly

Dorothy Bitsilly
Navajo Nation

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and his administration are honoring the life of former long-time Farm Board President, Dorothy Bitsilly. The Tribe reports she died Wednesday at the age of 93.

Bitsilly was Water’s Edge Clan, born for Bitter Water Clan. She served for many years as the Tohatchi Red Willow Farm Board President, which supplied well water and electricity to local farmers.

In a press release, President Nez said Bitsilly’s advocacy was “largely driven by her dream to see the Navajo people achieve food sovereignty from agriculture.”

She also served for 30 years as an education liaison for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, was the Vice President of the Fort Defiance Agency Council on Aging and was the Navajo Nation representative to the New Mexico Aging Advisory Policy Group.

In 2020, Bitsilly received the Navajo Nation’s Community Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the ‘Farm to Table’ Farmer of the Year honor.

She had 11 children, 21 grandchildren, 41 great-grandchildren, and 4 great-great grandchildren. Dorothy Bitsilly will be laid to rest March 2, 2022.