Navajo-Hopi Land Commission Chairman Testifies Before Congress

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Contact: Jared King
Navajo Nation Washington Office
T 202.682.7390
C 202.200.0625

For Immediate Release

Navajo-Hopi Land Commission Chairman Testifies Before Congress

WASHINGTON—On March 27, Navajo-Hopi Land Commission Chairman Lorenzo Curley testified before the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee regarding fiscal 2013 funding for the former Bennett Freeze Area and the Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation (ONHIR). Chairman Curley is also a member of the 22nd Navajo Nation Council representing Klagetoh, Wide Ruins, Houck, Lupton, and Nahata Dziil communities located on the Arizona portion of the Navajo reservation. 

In his testimony, Chairman Curley described the Navajo Hopi Land Dispute, which resulted in the relocation of nearly 15,000 Navajos; and the Bennett Freeze, which has prevented development on western Navajo lands for over 40 years.

Chairman Curley’s funding requests included $10 million from the BIA Trust Natural Resources Account and $10 million from the BIA Housing Improvement Funds for housing and other improvements in the former Bennett Freeze.

The president’s fiscal 2013 budget contains some funds to address rehabilitation in the former Bennett Freeze, but no specific amount is provided. Chairman Curley urged lawmakers to make a bold statement by supporting substantial funding to rehabilitate the former Bennett Freeze.

Additional funding requests included doubling the funding for the ONHIR to $18 million in order to accelerate the conclusion of the relocation process for families who relocated but have not yet received their benefits and to provide critical support for programs within the relocated communities.

Navajo-Hopi Land Commissioner Walter Phelps (Cameron, Coalmine Canyon, Birdsprings, Leupp, Tolani Lake) and Commission executive director Raymond Maxx joined Chairman Curley for meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill regarding the former Bennett Freeze Area and ONHIR.


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