Home > News > More Headlines > Navajo Nation tussles with new trust 'philosophy'
Printer friendly version
Navajo Nation tussles with new trust 'philosophy'

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

Tribes and urban Indians receive $21M for domestic violence (10/13)
Pala Band takes steps to improve placement of foster children (10/13)
Native Sun News: Director of Native Healing Program honored (10/13)
Lakota Country Times: Democrats back change for sacred site (10/13)
Tara Houska: A symbol of racism lives on in our nation's capital (10/13)
James Meggesto: Deadline in $940M contract support cost case (10/13)
Lydia Millet: Deaths of Native people ignored by national media (10/13)
Petition eyes White House response on Indigenous Peoples Day (10/13)
Alaska Native village reels from string of suicides among youth (10/13)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe brings reservation fire under control (10/13)
Inmate files lawsuits in search of Eastern Cherokee citizenship (10/13)
Walk honors children buried at site of former residential school (10/13)
Pointe-au-Chien Tribe sues energy giant over massive oil spill (10/13)
Editorial: Nebraska must do more to address liquor in Whiteclay (10/13)
Editorial: Another loss for Washington NFL team's racist mascot (10/13)
Five Democratic presidential candidates set for opening debate (10/13)
Middletown Rancheria turned casino into shelter for fire victims (10/13)
Lytton Band vows not to pursue casino on newly acquired lands (10/13)
Seminole Tribe faces key deadline for Class III gaming compact (10/13)
Navajo Nation hails movement on controversial Indian energy bill (10/12)
Supreme Court schedules oral arguments in two Indian law cases (10/12)
Another $118K in grants awarded through Seeds of Native Health (10/12)
Native Sun News: Tribal college students off to indigenous games (10/12)
Lakota Country Times: FEMA trailers headed to Oglala Sioux Tribe (10/12)
Mark Trahant: Chaos in Congress impacts Indian Country's future (10/12)
James Giago Davies: Reaching hearts and minds of Lakota people (10/12)
Bayard Johnson: Columbus invented the protocol of colonization (10/12)
Valerie Strauss: From Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day (10/12)
Former chair of Crow Tribe launches cannabis development firm (10/12)
Alaska Federation of Natives draws big crowd to annual meeting (10/12)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe evacuates community amid two fires (10/12)
Northern Cheyenne Tribe caught in middle of child custody case (10/12)
Murder charges laid for deaths of Indian man and Indian woman (10/12)
California governor signs bill to outlaw racist mascot in schools (10/12)
Review: 'Dark Reservations' offers a political and legal mystery (10/12)
New Eastern Cherokee chief fires director of gaming commission (10/12)
Tohono O'odham Nation faces counterclaims in casino litigation (10/12)
Little Traverse Bay Bands want to break ground soon on casino (10/12)
Tribes in Connecticut report increases in slot machine revenues (10/12)
Cowlitz Tribe already in debt $485M for long-delayed casino bid (10/12)
Republicans push controversial Indian energy bill through House (10/9)
Navajo Nation leaders headed to campus following fatal shooting (10/9)
Native Sun News: South Dakota community honors Code Talkers (10/9)
Lakota Country Times: Native Americans arrested at high rates (10/9)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Lakota immersion remains our only hope (10/9)
Steve Russell: Indian people stuck with the laws of colonizers (10/9)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Native people play key role in politics (10/9)
Julian Brave NoiseCat: Trading tribal sovereignty for marijuana (10/9)
Studio denies theft of tribal artifacts from ranch in New Mexico (10/9)
Omaha Tribe hosts basketball stars Shoni and Jude Schimmel (10/9)
Winnebago Tribe chooses eight in special election for council (10/9)
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.