NAVAJO NATION COUNCIL’S RESOURCES & DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE CONVENES IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBER, WINDOW ROCK, ARZ.
RDC VICE CHAIRPERSON ROSCOE SMITH ASKS IF COMMITTEE MEMBERS HAVE ANNOUCEMENTS:
DELEGATE LEONARD TSOSIE
Many of the chapters, housing and other public facilities were constructed in flood plains. Ned report on flooding.
Mention that RDC was government entity that demanded that when US 89 buckled and sunk about four feet that the alternative route, which went through the reservation, be constructed as permament and not temporary and asked that funding increase from $23 m to $40 m and
RDC VICE CHAIRPERSON SMITH CALLS FOR REPORT:
NAVAJO DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DIRECTOR LEO WATCHMAN
Introduction of staff who worked on proposed Grazing Act: Ray Castillo, Roxie June, Wilfred Big, Charmaine Ahasteen, Ferdinand Notah.
Grazing Act wud establish grazing fee, manage trust land and became monumental task and it is controversial. since RDC asked bring forward had hearings and hopeful enough info provided but understand that more information would ned to be provided to community.
Defer most of presentation to Navajo Department of Justice. Since RDC asked us to answer 6 questions”
Full time employee
Range management units
Majority rule or permit rule
Six month grace period on probate
These are questions/issues that came from publice.
Grazing Act is large. Ag Dept has been working with Vice Chairperson Smith and there is letter from Smith that ID concerns. Overall Grazing Act is a new concept to answer questions moving forward and hope it is supported.
NDOJ BITAH BECKER
emphasize that everyone he introduced have been working on Navajo Rangeland Improvement Act as team. Not mentioned was Andrew Curley, university student. And hear from Kim on how Act got here today.
NAVAJO DEPT OF AG STAFF KIM ?
You have handout and go over findings/purpose. 2012 held public mtgs and collected comments/suggestions and resulted in isue over seasonal permit and how to manage. Also concerns from District Farm Boards and Grazing Committees to address overlapping authorities and jurisdictions of other departments. RDC directed Ag Dept to revise and update Grazing Act. In doing that RDC asked us to answer 6 questions & 45 questions from Grazing committees.
Realized livestock grazing is a cultural priority to protect ancestral lands. Felt impt harmonize regs between Navajo, BIA & cultural beliefs/Dine’ Fundamental Laws and Ag Dept couldn’t do alone, needed NDOJ.
NDOJ attorney BITAH BECKER
In looking at grazing concerns of community and protect land, we renamed Grazing Act to Rangeland Improvement Act, which is also focused on bringing all laws on different land status across the rez be brought under one law. Attorney mentions Navajo Partition Lands, checkerboard lands, trust lands.
Applies to all trust land and how harmonize federal regs.
last year issue with seasonal permit and this Act anticipates forest and park lands but doesn’t address. First address trust lands and then forest & park lands.
how share info: if Navajo government adopts then need adequate funding for extensive public notice. We ned get depts work better together, more. So provisins call for Land Dept and Ag Dept work more on land withdrawals so if that happens and depending on size of withdrawal so Ag determine if livestock carrying capicity neds to be changed.
Next one gets to first question of whether ned full time employees. As in 2002, Act proposes that it become full time program in Ag Dept and employuees would be called Rangerland officer and take on Grazing Committee and Farm Board.