FARMINGTON — Representatives from all 566 federally recognized American Indian tribes have been invited today to the 2012 Tribal Summit in Washington, D.C.
Navajo Nation Vice President Rex Lee Jim will be among those attending. Each tribe or corporation is allowed one representative.
"With the Navajo Nation being the biggest tribe, land-based and population-based, there's several things we would like to see addressed," said Erny Zah, a tribal spokesman.
The biggest discussion item likely will be a package of laws that could cut tribal budgets and many others beginning in 2013.
The Nation Congress of American Indians wrote a letter Monday to Senate leaders, as well as the speaker of the House and House minority leader.
"We urge you to make thoughtful decisions and to avoid disrupting important governmental responsibilities, such as trust obligations and addressing the public safety crisis throughout Indian Country," NCAI President Jefferson Keel said in the letter.
NCAI, based in Washington, represents the political interests of several dozen tribes. The Navajo Nation is not among them.
"We're bracing ourselves," said Jared King, spokesman at the Navajo Nation Office in Washington.
The Navajo Nation had a $456.8 million budget during 2012. Because about 62 percent of the tribal budget comes from federal funding, it could be reduced by up to $75 million, according to Zah.
The Navajo Police, Navajo Housing Authority and Indian Health Services budgets could be cut severely, Zah said.
The summit also will discuss the need for improved relationships between tribal governments and the federal and state governments.
President Obama held his first tribal summit four years ago. He has held one every year since, and the tribal summits have been the largest known for any administration.