Naabik’iyati Committee debating report by Confluence Partners on proposed Escalade Project at Grand Canyon Confluence.
DELGATE LORENZO CURLEY
What is NN share of project? And if there is share then price tag is $65 million?
DELEGATE DWIGHT WITHERSPOON
I disagree with Hale regarding how Confluence Partners would protect sacred sites by fencing them. That whole area is sacred. There are spiritual pilgrimages along Salt Trail to Grand Canyon Confluence.
I am part of United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Rights which includes the right of Indigenous people to protect their sacred sites. And so I do not support this proposed Escalade Project.
DELEGATE MEL BEGAY
i’m wondering why we are debating this because there is no legislation. This is only a report.
DELEGATE JOSH BUTLER
This is a very important issue to discuss and this is our opportunity to discuss and if you feel not important then you can leave the chamber. I’m 50-50. Economic development and jobs are needed in former Bennett Freeze. Jobs keep families on Navajo Nation, food on table, a home, clothing, ability to be independent and provide for families.
But there have been some issues regarding sacred sites. I believe every square inch of Navajo Reservation and Council chamber and Grand Canyon and Window Rock is all sacred to us. so i will continue to listen to both sides. i have heard more support for project than oppose. people want to provide for families.
i listened to small young family, dad is 26 years old, he asked me to vote yes on Escalade. Tell me why. He said he has to work at 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. cuz kids ride bus to Page. wife cooks breakfast and he takes kids mile and half to bus stop and kids ride 1.5 hour. he drives to St. George to work at Wal Mart distribution center. His wife said she wants husband home and if Escalade project happens then he cud get job and she wud not worry about his safety.
I also listen to elders, Mary Martin Saganey. Dee Aquirre said on record that she is not against project/economic development but she wants more community involvement, have seat at table. so maybe have buffer between two groups so everyone agreeable on plans for economic development in area.
DELEGATE JONATHAN NEZ
As debate reminds me of Monument Valley and Window Rock intruding on their land. there was project for tram from bottom of Monument Valley to Buttes for visitors for scenic look. Chapter by super majority said no. and the park and recreation department acknowledged that and said if pple don’t want then they backed off. i appreciate that. that is voice of the pple. there was 2 in favor and rest opposed. in this case, it’s almost right down middle. mention of referendum and i have legislation for ballot measure.
seems like pushing off and not making decison but to have pple give us an anwer, maybe referedum is answer.
heard on Monday that presidential candidates saying Window Rock decides and an example was Grey Mountain Wind Project. And for pple that want land pristine and not about sacred sites, then we should remind ourselves about that some ppple don’t want economic development. we always throw out that pple want economic development but do they? there are communities that want sustainable economic development.
And what is in agreement? how much returns to chapters? five percent or two percent? gaming monies was to return to chapter. communities shud have percentage.
those are things i’m listening to.
discussion is about Grand Canyon on Navajo side so have those pple that support project, have they experiences Grand Canyon and Confluence. last time went to Confluence, all i heard was helicopters. we as navajos need to stand up and regulate helicopters. all you hear is helicopters.
i’d like to see the agreement.
and either we give to referendum or someone introduce bill and let’s make a decision.