Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

November 2, 2012

Navajo Water Task Force: Fighting Interior's lame duck Congress water theft plan

Navajo Advisory Group
Photo by Eric Descheenie, Speaker’s staff

NEW Navajo Nation proposed water settlement legislation posted Nov. 2, 2012
open for comments

Water Rights Task Force Meeting Notes Oct. 29, 2012
Interior Secretary Salazar plans to attempt to push a revised Navajo Hopi water settlement for Little Colorado River rights through a lame duck Congress, according to a leaked document.
Here are the notes from the Navajo Water Rights Task Force, Oct. 29, 2012.
Please see attached image, by Eric Descheenie, Speaker’s staff. In the photo, Nicole and I are behind Dwight Witherspoon.Rita was unable to attend due to continuing confusion among her superiors on her administrative leave issues. However, she called us and gave us her proxie, so we spoke for her at the meeting as well
This Friday, 11/2/12, a "position paper legislation" for the 14 Nov. mtg between Navajo Nation govt. officials and Interior Secretary Salazar will be “dropped” at legislative offices in Window Rock. It should be available on the Net (Legislation 0468) after 5:00 PM 11/2/12. It is Nabi Committee legislation and is to contain all the issues discussed at the 29 Oct. meeting as important. (See the details below.) There will then be a five day period for the people and the Task Force/Advisory Group to consider the position paper and all the issues raised by the delegates and the grassroots representatives on 29 Oct. and before. There is a Task Force mtg next wed., 7 Nov., to consider any edits/amendments for the position paper legislation.
The Speaker has made plain this is an issue-raising meeting, not a meeting to push an amended S. 2109 through Congress in the lame duck session. However, it seems that is still what Salazar, and those influencing him from Hopi, Navajo, and Kyl's office, want to do.
Every substantive issue we, in the grassroots movement, have ever raised before was raised at Task Force mtgs.We will see how well DOJ (Bidtah Becker) compiles the issues for the proposed position paper. Nabi is to vote on next Friday.The final editing work is not with DOJ but the Task Force, with the people's input. We'll need it right away. The legislation/position paper should be out, again, on Friday 11/2/12. Ed will keep and eye out for it.
There is a lot of background in the notes below, if you want to wade through it.I took the best (but still rough) notes I could while also participating periodically in the discussion.The delegates, especially Mr. Bates, very strongly insisted that the grassroots issues be raised in this meeting before any action follows it.
Nicole and I were given fair opportunities to speak.She was our lead Speaker and set a good tone and substance for me to follow.I could tell the delegates appreciated her thoughtful and heartfelt commentary.
Also, Nicole made clear, in my mind, the People are very concerned about both S. 2109 and the Agreement it was meant to ratify. Both were bad, in other words, and unacceptable.
 This is full of detail, to show how things progressed.

No comments: