The Navajo Nation Council voted down the Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Settlement Agreement on Thursday afternoon. The vote was 15 opposed, six in favor, and three abstentions.
Navajos opposed to the settlement say it is a scheme devised by Arizona senators, corrupt politicians and non-Indian attorneys to steal Navajo water rights for the Navajo Generating Station, one of the dirtiest coal-fired power plants in the US, and for non-Indians in Arizona to continue their lavish lifestyles.
Council Delegate Katherine Benally said, “I am speaking for the future generations. I have heard you my dear people. This settlement is the Genocide of our nation, and as a leader I will not allow that. As a women, I pray to water, I sit behind water and pray for it. I praise the efforts of my people and I ask you to support me, support us leaders as we move on. Let’s take this negative document and make it a positive one. One that will rejuvenate our people.”
Reporting from the council chambers, Dine’ Water Rights said so far today, most council delegates have opposed the scheme. The scheme has been promoted by Arizona Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain, along with the Navajo Nation’s non-Indian water rights attorney. The settlement would sever Navajos expansive water rights under the Winter’s Doctrine.
Navajo Council Delegate Katherine Benally told the council, “We must protect what is rightfully ours. Peabody’s greed and disrespect to our water and our resources needs to stop.” She is the Navajo council delegate for Chilchinbeto, Dennehotso and Kayenta, Ariz., in the region where Peabody Coal mines Black Mesa. The coal is used for the Navajo Generating Station near Page.
Benally told the council that Navajo communities have been misinformed about the settlement. Benally said only ten farms are listed in the settlement. Further, she said the Western Agency Council has unanimously voted this settlement down.
“We can not trust Kyl! He was an attorney for APS! He won on their behalf and cheated native people.”
“Tribal nations across this nation are looking at us they are looking to us to see if we will kneel down and bow to the federal government. Let us not only let our people down but all indigenous people across the united states,” Benally said, as reported by Dine’ Water Rights in the council chambers today, Thursday, July 5, 2012.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: Navajo Council votes NO! to Little Colorado River water rights settlement.