indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Dynamic Homes
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

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
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Tribe threw away late veteran's memorabilia (10/31)
Mark Trahant: The Native vote could decide the 2014 election (10/31)
Richard Peterson: Sen. Begich supports Alaska Native issues (10/31)
NCAI investigates conduct of treasurer at annual convention (10/31)
Red Lake News: Tribe welcomes Sen. Tester and Sen. Franken (10/31)
Former chairman of Chippewa Cree Tribe faces more charges (10/31)
Texas couple accused of selling fake tribal membership cards (10/31)
Moapa Band loses bid for $438M solar facility on reservation (10/31)
Passamaquoddy Tribe won't talk with tidal power developers (10/31)
Oregon tribe anticipates May 2015 opening for Class II casino (10/31)
Trial opens in case connected to Choctaw Nation casino work (10/31)
Editorial: Off-reservation gaming project unfair to other tribes (10/31)
Opinion: Menominee Nation exploits loophole to pursue casino (10/31)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux officer rejoins Rapid City police (10/30)
Mark Trahant: Native voters must be prepared on election day (10/30)
Kevin Gover: Mascot fight exposes myths about Native people (10/30)
Northern Arapaho Tribe: Newspaper got it wrong on joint council (10/30)
Peter d'Errico: Kevin Washburn honored by Indian law students (10/30)
Chris Deschene still urging Navajo Nation voters to choose him (10/30)
Tribes in North Carolina back Democrat Sen. Hagan in tight race (10/30)
NWPR: Tribes take steps to control growing herds of wild horses (10/30)
Opinion: Helping the Tongva people revive their own language (10/30)
Judge grants injunction to keep Chukchansi Tribe casino closed (10/30)
Tribes in South Dakota would benefit from gaming referendum (10/30)
Employee at Puyallup Tribe's casino gets wedding ring returned (10/30)
Editorial: Keep tribal casinos in California on existing Indian land (10/30)
Column: Menominee Nation off-reservation casino goes ignored (10/30)
Quapaw Tribe faces competition for Kansas commercial casino (10/30)
Native Sun News: Montana tribe sees cut in heating assistance (10/29)
Mark Trahant: Alaska Senate race is a real test of Native policy (10/29)
Winona LaDuke: Taking treaty advice from indigenous nations (10/29)
Vena A-Dae Romero: FDA failing to consult tribal governments (10/29)
Zachary Pullin: Native Americans overcame barriers to voting (10/29)
Navajo Nation president vetoes bill to address language issue (10/29)
Prairie Island Indian Community sues over nuclear waste rule (10/29)
County's letter on CSKT water compact talks stirs controversy (10/29)
Vice: Hip-hop artist Drezus on new journey after jail sentence (10/29)
Opinion: Overcoming stereotypes of Native American culture (10/29)
Charges sought in dispute at Chukchansi Tribe's closed casino (10/29)
Pechanga Band chair featured in ads against North Fork casino (10/29)
Grand Ronde Tribes continue fight against Cowlitz Tribe casino (10/29)
Puyallup Tribe offers reward for return of casino worker's ring (10/29)
more headlines...

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.