SHIPROCK — The Navajo Nation Council fall session agenda, which has 30 new business items and five old business items, was approved last Friday by the Ethics and Rules Committee at the Shiprock Chapter House.

The fall session begins Monday, Oct. 16, at the Council Chambers in Window Rock, Ariz.

The agenda outlines a number of bills and reports that deal with discrimination, more groundwork for Navajo gaming, land purchases and appropriation bills, which total more than $21 million in spending.

Addressing discrimination

Aside from the proposed legislative bills, the council will hear verbal reports from Speaker Lawrence Morgan and DNA People's Legal Services regarding "Hate Crimes in the Border Towns of the Navajo Nation."

The directive for a report about the issue came from Council Delegate Ervin Keeswood, of Hogback, during a June special council session.

Another verbal report from Council Delegate Katherine Benally, of Dennehotso, and the Tom Claw family will address discrimination. The agenda states their report will focus on the "discrimination by law enforcement agencies of Coconino County, Ariz., and the city of Flagstaff, Ariz."

Also, legislation is slated to be introduced that would create the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission Act.

Legislation No. 0719-06 is sponsored by Keeswood and would create a "foundation" for an office Keeswood said he hopes will give Navajo people an avenue to report human rights violations.


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"It could be a way for (community members) to have their issues heard," he said.

Navajo gaming

Three items are on the agenda. Two of the agenda points help Hogback Chapter establish its footing in the gaming enterprise and the other is another step for the Navajo Nation to solidify its gaming endeavors.

Legislation No. 0707-06 would approve a memorandum of agreement between the chapter and the Navajo Nation for purposes of gaming.

"(The legislation) outlines how the revenue is going to be spit between Hogback and the central government," said Council Delegate LoRenzo Bates, of Upper Fruitland.

Keeswood said the net revenue of a gaming enterprise in Hogback would split the money with the Navajo Nation, Hogback and the other 109 chapters that may not have gaming.

He said for the first five years, Hogback would get 10 percent of the net revenue, then 5 percent in the following years.

Also involving Hogback, legislation No. 0687-06 would change the name of Hogback Chapter to Tse' Daa' Kaan Chapter. The name translates to "rock ground into the river," Keeswood said, adding that is the name the community members use instead of Hogback.

Another bill proposes the establishment of a Gaming Development Fund.

Legislation No. 0448-06, if passed, would create the fund and provide a plan for money to be deposited into the account.

Bates said he expects that bill will pass.

Purchasing land

If legislation No. 0575-06 passes, the Counselor Trading Post Properties could become property of the Navajo Nation.

The act would use $1.23 million from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to purchase the trading post and adjacent properties, which total nearly 300 acres.

Bates said the legislation may get tabled because the bill lacks a report from the Navajo Environmental Protection Agency. The report would outline the environmental status of the land. Bates said some delegates have questioned the purchase of the land because if it is contaminated, the nation would be responsible for cleaning it up.

More spending

Not including spending bills from the old business portion of the agenda, five bills will be introduced that total more than $21 million in spending measures that would come from the Undesignated Unreserved Fund Balance.

The largest measure is a $16.8 million bill that would be used for capital improvements in the judicial and public safety facilities.

Another bill would take $3.75 million for use at the Raytheon expansion project on the Navajo Nation. Raytheon is a company that builds military equipment, such as missiles, and is located near Navajo Agricultural Products Industry.

Erny Zah: ezah@daily-times.com