Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Navajo Forgotten People press conference Wed., Aug. 4, 2010

Censored News
Photo: Pavement Pieces

The Forgotten People invite you to a press conference at the Veterans Park in Window Rock on Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 11:00 AM (DST) to announce filing a major lawsuit to get answers about the Navajo Rehabilitation Trust Fund monies to benefit the victims and survivors of the "Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute."

The Forgotten People have been cheated and are taking things into their own hands. We want to know what the stewards of our money did with our money and where it is. These are our funds, set aside by Congress for our benefit. The Freeze has been lifted. While we wait and nothing happens, our people are living in sub-standard, and overcrowded housing, without access to safe drinking water on land contaminated by uranium and coal mining.

Thank you,

Don Yellowman


Forgotten People

(928) 401-1777
Forgotten People

Dine' Be' Iina' na' hil naa (Dine’ Rebuilding Communities)
P.O. Box 1661

Tuba City, AZ 86045

(928) 401-1777



News Release




The Forgotten People, a public interest grassroots association of Navajos who are the victims of the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute, residents of Hopi Partitioned Lands, refugees of the New Lands, communities that didn’t want them, and the border towns—relocatees—announces a suit against the Navajo-Hopi Land Commission, its office and director, and the Navajo Nation to get answers.

Congress established the Navajo Rehabilitation Trust Fund in 1974. Its purposes were to “contribute to the continuing rehabilitation and improvement of the economic, educational, and social condition of families and Navajo communities” that were affected by the division of the former Navajo-Hopi “joint use area,” including relocatees and those victimized by the Bennett Freeze, and by the establishment of the current boundaries of the Hopi Reservation. Monies that flow into the trust fund include funds that were allocated under the trust fund statute and income from various investments. One of them is Paragon Ranch, land in northwest New Mexico that the Navajo Nation selected for the relocation of Navajo refugees but was chosen for its coal. Monies from Paragon Ranch are going into various projects that do not benefit the people, and there are indications, in audit reports, that they are being wasted or misspent. There is also the matter of the Compact, that Forgotten People opposed, between the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe in 2006, and years of accumulated fees to be distributed between the two tribes. We have never been told what happened to that money.

While there are repeated calls for federal funding to rehabilitate the former Bennett Freeze Area, Congress ignores us. There is supposedly money that is flowing from the Paragon Ranch, the Navajo-Hopi Compact and other possible sources, but we do not see it. We understand that the Navajo-Hopi Land Commission has wasted, misused or misappropriated trust fund monies.

There was a lot of trumpeting about a grand plan for rehabilitation of the Bennett Freeze Area but it tootled out and gave us nothing.

For all those reasons the Forgotten People and twelve individual Navajos are bringing suit to require an accounting for all the money that has been going to the Navajo Nation for 36 years for our supposed benefit. We want to know how much money there was and is; where the money came from or comes from; what future monies can be expected from trust investments and from the Navajo-Hopi Compact; what was done with the money; and who used or misused it.

We hope and expect to bring people to account to explain to us what they did as stewards of our money, set aside by Congress for our benefit. No one is doing anything about our victimization so we are doing something about it ourselves.

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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008: www.earthcycles.net/
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