Native News Network Staff in Native Briefs. Discussion »
WINDOW ROCK, ARIZONA Members of the Naa'bik'iyati' Committee of the 22nd Navajo Nation Council assembled last Thursday at the Navajo Nation Council Chambers, taking action on eight legislations and tabling one.
Legislation was made to adjust the Navajo Nation Code pertaining to intoxicating liquors and exceptions.
The legislation was one of the afternoon's more heavily discussed topics because of its intent to adjust the law, allowing for the serving of alcohol in the hotel area connected to the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino facility, near Flagstaff, Arizona, that is currently under construction and is scheduled to open next year.
As the law currently reads, liquor is only allowed to be served within a food establishment in a casino, stated Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise general counsel Raymond Etsitty.
As part of the proposed law amendments, certain lines in the code were also struck out to enable "the enterprise to obtain a liquor license as required by the gaming compact,34; said Etsitty, referring to the agreement between the Navajo Nation and the state of Arizona.
The Twin Arrows casino is being touted as a "destination resort." The allowance of alcohol within the hotel area would guarantee a hotel rating of at least three and a half stars, which Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise reasons would magnify the attraction of non-Indian tourists, foreigners, and visitors from the Phoenix valley to the casino and hotel resort.
Council Delegate Leonard Tsosie, who advised the enterprise to be more careful in its planning, was not pleased with how the issue seemed to have been brought up "at the last minute," just as the project was near completion.
“We trust you to protect the interest of Navajo gaming operations. You can't say 'Oops,' and then come in and say, 'We need to change the law,'”
Delegate Tsosie stated to the gaming enterprise.
After much debate, the measure passed that restricts the sale of alcoholic beverages to the confines of the dining area of the Navajo casino facility.
posted June 19, 2012 6:40 am edt