Duane “Chili” Yazzie

Organization: ToohBAA

Chili is Diné from Shiprock, Navajo Nation. He touts his credentials as grandpa, farmer and Earth Defender. He served his Shiprock community and the Navajo Nation for 45 years in various administrative and elective positions from the local level to the Navajo Nation central government level.

His lifelong work has been advocating for Indigenous human rights and fighting the exploitation of our Earth Mother. Chili is concerned with the health of the Earth and it’s condition we leave our grandchildren.

He works as Director of the Toohnii Binaneestˀąˀ Ałtaasˀéí Alliance (Toohnii – “river edge people”, Binaneestˀąˀ - “their farm produce”, Ałtaasˀéí – “myriad of”) or the myriad variety of farm produce grown by the river edge people. ToohBAA is incorporated as a non-profit under the Navajo Nation. The traditional Indigenous farmers group organizes local farmers to optimize farming capacity to help address the food insecurity in New Mexico and regional Indigenous communities. ToohBAA has a strong focus on revitalizing concepts of ancestral food systems merging them with modern day practices. ToohBAA works to revitalize approximately 4,000 fallow acres of community farmlands, with an emphasis on Regenerative Agriculture. The task to maximize traditional foods preservation and added value foods is a high priority, ToohBAA is engaged in establishing a cannery.

ToohBAA enjoys significant funding support to implement its agricultural pursuits and expects to exponentially grow its endeavors. ToohBAA also enjoys institutional and political support with Chili’s involvement with the Navajo Food Sovereignty Development and state level policy development efforts such as the New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council.

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