Here at Navajo Nation Council Naabik’iyati Committee, where Committee members, who are all Navajo Council Delegates, are debating Legislation 0302-18: Requesting the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President, All Pueblo Council of Governors and Greater Chaco Coalition and partners to consult with Dine’ Medicine Men Association for any positions taken on fracking and horizontal drilling in Greater Chaco as part of Dine’ Fundamental Law and our cultural and traditional inherent rights.
The following is most of the debate:
DELEGATE JONATHAN PERRY, SPONSOR: Explain why this before Naabi. We all aware of fracking in chaco canyon, eastern and northwestern for some time. This bill spearheaded by Hale in consultation w Dine Medicinemen’s Assoic. Since 2016-17, there has been action regarding All Pueblo Council of Govenors and Greater Chaco Coalition regarding hydraulic fracking. But there is no involvement by locals. And prez begaye wrote letter to APIC about Greater Chaco and did not meet with allotees and chapters so feel ignored by OPVP. Commnities decided talk w Dine Medicinemen and went before HEHS and RDC and our agent present. Impt OPVP consult w NNC or Naabi regarding eastern agency. And has not happened. So w dine medicinemen be at table and provide consultation. At RDC debate, aware of medicinemen pple recognized by NNC so not alleviate to that body. Nigeezy and Huerfano wud continue to work w that body. Hx Pres came in and said they support so RDC voted move to Naabi. Main focus is OPVP provide info to other regarding their actions.
DELEGATE LEONARD TSOSIE Question came up during president’s report. I told him that he is pleasing the outsiders against Navajo pple. And sounds like he continues to do that. We have allottees who have property interests and where infringe on their property, we shud keep them in mind. And prez not honor that. I do appreciate need to consult but propose amendment, pg 2, line 22, New Paragraph and say allottees have property interest in allotments on or near chaco canyon. In Resolve, add new D, NN directs all department, entities to consult with dine medicinemen and allottees so at least talk with them.
VOTE, 13-0, AMENDMENT PASSES
DELEGATE SETH DAMON With all due respect to my colleague Perry and Hale, I’m very cautiously concerned putting in here we have to recognize AIPC and Coalition. When have they ever come over here to talk to us. AIPC will not support ancestral properties north and south Tohajiilee, towards alamo. We shouldn’t even recognize them. I believe this will be first time recognize AiPC. This also gives them the authority to come back to Chaco. Pueblos have no lands there. None whatsoever. It gives them that leverage. I know some of my colleagues don’t deal with pueblos and NM bureaucracy and they don’t recognize our sovereignty. They invite us to feast but at end of day, when we recognize in our documents, gives them authorization to come back and say NNC finally recognizes us. We need to take time to really look at this. None of pueblos have said u cannot come over to ancestral lands cuz we fenced u off. We bought those lands. So really hard to support this initiative. We need to look at how we protect our sovereignty. No pueblos being affected are Navajo allottees. I hate to say I can’t support like this. I cannot support us recognizing them cuz at no point come here and ask how negotiate. All they do is lobby NM so Navajo cannot profit off lands in Chaco. Respect Perry but cannot support anything that recognizes pueblos.
DELEGATE DWIGHT WITHERSPOON Page 2 of 2, way I read, the Dine medicinemen Assoc., requesting consult with them is OPVP, AIPC and Grater Chaco Coalition for any position on fracking in greater chaco area so I thing its also asking them to consider Dine medicinemen consultation regarding their infringement on Navajo and adding Navajo allotee rights. My question here to the Dine medicinemen association is, their requesting consultation but wondering why no official opinion.
DELEGATE LEONARD TSOSIE President had no authority to enter into agreement with AIPC. He shud come over here. There is place for him here at Council. He likes Columbus mentality that there is separation of government but he cant run off and do what he wants on his own such as entering into agreements without talking with Medincinemen, allotees and us.
AMENDMENT – Office of President & Vice President will consult with Dine’ Medicincemen’s Association…
AMENDMENT TWO, VOTE, 4:42 PM, 15-1
DELEGATE WALTER PHELPS We have never said fracking evil cuz we get revenues from Navajo Oil & Gas so in addition to Delegate Seth Damon’s concern we need to take step back for more investigation before rush to position. Understand support but appears to be position in appearance. Legislation does not give us enough information to make decision so I will not vote for it.
DELEGATE RAYMOND SMITH If we restrict fracking, how much will that infringe on us and fracking has opened door for us to earn money plus consumer benefit. Is fracking infringing on cattle owners/livestock owners, how much will it impact our royalties.
DELEGATE JONATHAN PERRY These groups made positions opposing fracking and our president went over and made letter stating position without consulting chapters there. And so moving forward to today, these chapters felt not included and includes Dine’ Medicinemen Association as Leonard Tsosie said there are areas where there continues to be traditional ceremonial uses. We want the position of president/OPVP to include medicinemen.
There are concerns regarding fracking, such as water, land, etc.
And most of work on this bill done by Hale with medicinemen.
DELEGATE SETH DAMON The day the governors honor Navajo ancestral lands will be day we recognize them.
VOTE, 6-6. SPEAKER LORENZO BATES breaks the tie by Voting No so FINAL VOTE, 6-7.