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Land Commission Opposes Office Closure

Land Commission Opposes Office Closure
June 19
13:18 2018

Phelps

The Office of Navajo Hopi Indian Relocation (ONHIR) still has work to do.

That’s what members of the 23rd Navajo Nation Council told federal officials.

The ONHIR is charged with overseeing the relocation of families affected by the Navajo-Hopi land dispute.

“The fundamental principle is to ensure that every family that can be relocated, be relocated, and not be short-changed in any way,” Council Delegate Walter Phelps said.

The Office of the Special Trustee is beginning to plan for the transition of ONHIR’s responsibilities.

If it is funded, the Office of the Special Trustee would need to develop a plan for transition and takeover of land management responsibilities during the 2019 fiscal year.

The Trump Administration’s decision to reduce funding for the ONHIR was done without any consultation with the Navajo Nation, Phelps said.

“That is a huge concern for us,” Phelps added.

All obligations set forth in the Navajo-Hopi land settlement deal must be fulfilled, Delegate Kee Allen Begay, Jr., said.

“We are directly acting on behalf of our Navajo people,” Begay said.

According to the original language within the Navajo Hopi Land Settlement Act of 1974, the Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation was directed to fulfill provisions to provide roads, power lines, waterlines and community facilities such as chapter houses, Head Start buildings and senior centers to communities affected by the relocation.

However, amendments were later made in 1988 effectively relieving certain obligations of ONHIR.

 

 

 

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