Navajo Nation closes on Colorado land purchase
FARMINGTON — The Navajo Nation has closed sale on approximately 16,350 acres of land in south central Colorado.
The announcement about the purchase was made in a press release on Oct. 27 from the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President.
The area, known as Wolf Springs Ranch, was bought for $23 million and is in Huerfano and Custer counties.
In addition to the property, the tribe assumes ownership of approximately 200 head of cattle and more than 300 bison.
The property is located near Blanca Peak, one of the four sacred mountains to the Navajo people and known in the Navajo language as Sisnaajiní.
Sisnaajiní is one of two sacred mountains located in Colorado, the remaining two are in New Mexico and Arizona.
The Navajo reservation covers approximately 27,400 square miles and occupies land in New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.
Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said in a video posted on his office's Facebook page that this is the first time the tribe has land in Colorado, and the purchase makes the tribal land whole.
"It's really good to finally say Navajo Nation owns land in Colorado," Begaye said in the footage.
The press release states the tribe intends to change the ranch's name to Ma'iitsoh Bito', which translates to Wolf Springs in the Navajo language.
In July, the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee voted 17-1 to approve the purchase using the Land Acquisition Trust Fund.
The trust fund will also help pay approximately $39,550 in annual property taxes, according to the president's office.
The legislation passed by the committee states the property provides economic development opportunities and space for services such as equine therapy, veteran rehabilitation therapy and for traditional practices.
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.