Home > News > More Headlines > Navajo Nation tussles with new trust 'philosophy'
Printer friendly version
Navajo Nation tussles with new trust 'philosophy'
THURSDAY, MARCH 20, 2003

The Supreme Court's recent trust ruling has forced the Navajo Nation to undertake a comprehensive review of its economic, resource development and infrastructure initiatives, a top official said on Wednesday.

Arvin S. Trujillo, executive director of the Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources, reported that a number of projects aimed at improving the quality of life and stabilizing business on the tri-state reservation are being reanalyzed. Tribal officials are worried that agreements with third parties, an issue in the court's decision, could hurt the tribe, he said.

"It has a major impact because of the liability aspect," he said in an interview.

Trujillo brought the same message to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. At a hearing on two energy development bills, he called on lawmakers to ensure that promotion of tribal sovereignty doesn't come at the expense of the federal government's trust responsibilities.

"We're beginning to see a new philosophy emerge," he said of the Supreme Court's March 4 ruling, which observed that "the ideal of Indian self-determination is directly at odds with [government] control" over tribal resources.

One project at stake, Trujillo said, involves bringing electricity to rural residents of the reservation. Although the tribe is rich in minerals, these resources traditionally have been exploited to serve consumers throughout the West instead of tribal members.

"You provide power to people in Los Angeles but can't get it for people who live next door," remarked Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.).

The Supreme Court ruling, in fact, centered on a coal mining agreement that has supplied power to Arizona, Nevada and California for more than 30 years. The tribe said it lost at least $600 million because the Department of Interior approved a less than favorable deal but the justices rejected the claim.

The tribe has hoped to reverse that history with a series of new development projects. But as a result of the ruling, a multi-million dollar deal for a high voltage transmission line powered by Navajo coal is being reviewed, Trujillo said.

David Lester, executive director of the Colorado-based Council of Energy Resource Tribes (CERT), said the federal government has an obligation to ensure that tribes are on a "level playing field" with an energy industry armed with its own agenda. "The companies have no obligation to put on the table all the information they know," he told the committee.

"If we have a fair negotiating table, then the tribe can negotiate very fair deals," he said. "But who's monitoring to ensure that the deals are actually being fulfilled and are in operation?"

"That's a trust responsibility."

Navajo Nation Decision:
Excerpts | Syllabus | Opinion [Ginsburg] | Dissent [Souter]

Relevant Links:
Navajo Nation - http://www.navajo.org

Related Stories:
Trust ruling clouds energy bills (3/20)
Pundits got it right, mostly (3/19)
Navajo Nation fallout considered (3/7)
Swimmer can't recall Navajo involvement (02/13)
Navajo 'deception' gets Supreme Court hearing (12/03)
Peabody sides with Bush administration on trust (09/04)
Legal tactics land Peabody in hot seat (7/22)
Hopi Tribe disputes Peabody water study (8/30)
Court rules Navajo Nation owed money (8/14)
Peabody defends water usage (3/26)

Copyright © Indianz.Com

Stay Connected

On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud

More Headlines

Parents of Lakota 57 respond to not guilty verdict in Rapid City (9/2)
Grand Ronde Tribes to disenroll 86 descendants of treaty signer (9/2)
Lakota Country Times: New food bank on Pine Ridge Reservation (9/2)
Mark Trahant: FCC invents new law for tribal lands in Oklahoma (9/2)
Native Sun News Editorial: Republican attacks on Hillary Clinton (9/2)
Vi Waln: Rosebud Sioux Tribe needs to establish 'virtual' school (9/2)
Steven Newcomb: The religious basis of Doctrine of Discovery (9/2)
Frank Bibeau: Ojibwe people assert treaty rights in Minnesota (9/2)
Carly McIntosh: Feeling love from elders at naming ceremony (9/2)
Winnebago Tribe reports results of primary election for council (9/2)
President Obama set for visit to Native communities in Alaska (9/2)
Alaska Native students being left behind in their own backyard (9/2)
Opinion: Alaska will lose appeal in BIA land-into-trust lawsuit (9/2)
Native children being removed at alarming rates in Manitoba (9/2)
Crow Tribe opens apartment complex for homeless veterans (9/2)
Mississippi Choctaw leader faces challenge in election drama (9/2)
Mohegan Tribe elects incumbents and newcomer for council (9/2)
Donald Trump wanted a casino with Seminole Tribe in Florida (9/2)
New Mexico tribes proposed casino in downtown Albuquerque (9/2)
Construction worker dies at site of Jamul Indian Village casino (9/2)
Lakota Country Times: Not guilty verdict after Lakota 57 trial (9/1)
President Obama meets Native leaders after landing in Alaska (9/1)
Rhonda Pitka: Alaska Natives put priority on subsistence rights (9/1)
Transcript: Obama remarks following Native leaders roundtable (9/1)
94-year-old Alaska Native elder greets Obama with Denali song (9/1)
Politicians in Ohio oppose return of Alaska Native name for peak (9/1)
Passamaquoddy Tribe takes a step toward marijuana cultivation (9/1)
Center for Native American Youth seeks new executive director (9/1)
Supreme Court takes up petition in Kialegee Tribal Town dispute (9/1)
NCAI pushes for court rehearing in tribal labor sovereignty case (9/1)
Education Department awards $50.4M in grants to tribal colleges (9/1)
Native Sun News: Teens attacked on Rosebud Sioux Reservation (9/1)
Clara Caufield: Cheyenne brothers and sisters share language (9/1)
Terese Marie Mailhot: Shutting down a new generation of hate (9/1)
Jennifer Fielder: Tribes struggling to break free from bondage (9/1)
Brian Pierson: Big decision in Seminole Tribe's taxation case (9/1)
Navajo Nation hires firm to pursue Gold King Mine spill lawsuit (9/1)
Young tribal members cited for wild rice harvest in Minnesota (9/1)
Lake named for war secretary who pushed for removal of tribes (9/1)
Tribal college students participate in NASA challenge in Virginia (9/1)
La Jolla Band welcomes visitors to longest zip line in California (9/1)
Chukchansi Tribe still aiming for reopening of casino this month (9/1)
Cherokee Nation contributed $11M to upgrade road near casino (9/1)
President Obama restores Alaska Native name of highest peak (8/31)
BIA announces $1.75M in grants fot tribal education programs (8/31)
Multiple Capitol Hill hearings set into disaster at Gold King Mine (8/31)
more headlines...

Advertisement

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.