Law | Trust

Navajos in Utah file another lawsuit over trust management

Members of the Navajo Nation who live in Utah have filed a new trust management lawsuit.

In 1933, Congress delegated Utah as the trustee for oil and gas revenues generated on the Utah portion of the reservation. In 2010, the state agreed to pay $33 million to Navajo beneficiaries in order to resolve past mismanagement claims.

In the interim, the state relieved itself of management duties. The new lawsuit, filed by Mary Benally, Terrance Lee and Marietta Tom, claims the state acted without authority, The Navajo Times reported.

The lawsuit says Navajo trust assets have been "frozen" over the last four years as Congress debates who will control the fund. The state has put the money into the Utah Navajo Royalties Holding Fund.

S.1327 puts the trust in control of the Utah Dineh Corporation. Utahs in Navajo support the bill but the central Navajo government and the Obama administration oppose it.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing on the bill on October 20, 2011.

Get the Story:
Some Utah Dine want state to return (The Navajo Times 3/29)

Related Stories:
House panel hears dispute for management of Navajo trust fund (7/29)

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