Native News Network Staff in Native Challenges. Discussion »
WINDOW ROCK, ARIZONA Since the Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Act and Agreement were first proposed in February, opponents and proponents of the settlement have been engaged in a David and Goliath-like battle over the waters of the Navajo Nation.
Protesters Demonstrate Against the Water Settlement Act S 2109
Outside Recent Public Meetings
Opponents of the bill include a movement of various grassroots Navajo organizations and individuals, collectively calling themselves the Diné Water Rights Committee.
Proponents of the bill include Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, and the Navajo Nation tribal government's Executive and Judicial branches led by President Ben Shelly and Attorney General Harrison Tsosie. The final decision lies with the Navajo Nation Legislative Branch's 24 Tribal Council Delegates who will be voting within the next week and potentially as early as tomorrow.
“It's obvious that the grassroots people of the Navajo Nation reject the settlement agreement,”
States Jihan Gearon, executive director of the Black Mesa Water Coalition.
“We have collected hundreds of petition signatures from concerned citizens opposed to the settlement as well as hundreds of letters against the settlement. Furthermore, there was overwhelming opposition at each of the eight educational forums organized by the grassroots organizations, not to mention the overwhelming opposition voiced against the settlement at each of the seven town hall meetings sponsored by the President's office under direction from the council.”
Opposition is further evidenced by the growing number of chapter resolutions that have been passed opposing the settlement. Both the Navajo Nation Water Rights Commission and the Diné Water Rights Committee have been consistently invited to educate and debate during various chapter meetings. So far the following Navajo Nation Chapters - Copper Mine, Coalmine, Fort Defiance, Sawmill, Red Lake, Crystal, Gap-Bodaway, Leupp, Dilkon, Rock Springs, Manuelito, Red Rock, Lupton, and Indian Wells, as well as the Chinle Agency Council have all voted against the settlement agreement. And the number is growing.
Other opponents of the bill include the Dilkon Veterans Group, the Farm Board, the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, and former Navajo Nation Presidents Peter McDonald, Milton Bluehouse, and Leonard Haskie. In a united front to oppose this injustice, former Hopi Chairmen and Hopi grassroots organizations have also aligned with the Diné Water Rights Committee to oppose the settlement. Youth too, have decisively weighed in on the issue.
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posted June 14, 2012 7:50 am edt