United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Indi.

Navajo-Hopi Relocation Housing Program : hearing before the Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, on S. 349 ... March 15, 1995, Washington, DC online

. (page 1 of 11)
Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Committee on IndiNavajo-Hopi Relocation Housing Program : hearing before the Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, on S. 349 ... March 15, 1995, Washington, DC → online text (page 1 of 11)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


S. Hrg. 104-^3

NAVAJO-HOPI RELOCATION HOUSING PROGRAM



Y4.IN2/ll;S,HRG.104-43

Havajo-Hopi Relocation Housing Prog.

f



HEARING

BEFORE THE

COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS
UNITED STATES SENATE

ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION

ON

S. 349

TO REAUTHORIZE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE NAVAJO-HOPI
RELOCATION HOUSDSfG PROGRAM



MARCH 15, 1995
WASHINGTON. DC




AUG IS



'")R-»-^, .



'%



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
89-626 CC WASHINGTON : 1995

For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-047288-1



S. Hrg. 104-^3

NAVAJO-HOPI RELOCATION HOUSING PROGRAM



4. IN 2/1 1:S. HRG. 104-43

'ajo-Hopi Relocation Housing Prog..



HEARING

BEFORE THE

COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS
UNITED STATES SENATE

ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION

ON

S. 349

TO REAUTHORIZE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE NAVAJO-HOPI
RELOCATION HOUSING PROGRAM



MARCH 15, 1995
WASHINGTON. DC




AUG /5



^%



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
89-626 CC WASHINGTON : 1995

For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-047288-1



COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS

JOHN McCAIN, Arizona, Chairman
DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii, Vice Chairman
FRANK MURKOWSKI, Alaska KENT CONRAD, North Dakota

SLADE GORTON, Washington HARRY REID, Nevada

PETE V. DOMENICI, New Mexico PAUL SIMON, Illinois

NANCY LANDON KASSEBAUM, Kansas DANIEL K. AKAKA, Hawaii

DON NICKLES, Oklahoma PAUL WELLSTONE, Minnesota

CRAIG THOMAS, Wyoming BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota

ORRIN G. HATCH, UUh BEN NIGHTHORSE CAMPBELL, Colorado

PAUL COVERDALE, Georgia

Steven J.W. HEELEY Majority Staff Director /Chief Counsel
Patricia M. Zell, Minority Staff Director/ Chief Counsel

(II)



CONTENTS



Page

S. 349, text of 4

Statements:

Bavasi, Christopher, executive director. Office of Navajo-Hopi Relocation,

Flagstaff, AZ 9

Hale, Albert A., president, Navajo Nation, Window Rock, AZ 5

McCain, Hon. John, U.S. Senator from Arizona, chairman. Committee

on Indian Affairs 1

Secakuku, Ferrell, chairman, Hopi Tribe, Kykotsmovi, AZ 7

Appendix

Prepared statements:

Bavasi, Christopher (with attachments) 54

Hale, Albert A 17

Secakuku, Ferrell (with resolution and attachments) 20

(ID)



NAVAJO-HOPI RELOCATION HOUSING
PROGRAM



WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15, 1995



U.S. Senate,
Committee on Indian Affairs,

Washington, DC.

The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:30 p.m. in room 485,
Senate Russell Building, Hon. John McCain (chairman of the com-
mittee) presiding.

Present: Senators McCain and Hatch.

STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN McCAIN, U.S. SENATOR FROM
ARIZONA, CHAmMAN, COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS

The Chairman. The committee will come to order.

Let me begin by mentioning that this will be the last hearing in
which our dear friend and comrade in arms, Eric Eberhard, will be
with us. He is leaving after many years to join the private sector.
It is very difficult to find adequate words to praise his efforts, not
only on behalf of this committee, but of Native Americans through-
out this country. There has not been a single piece of legislation
that was passed by this committee that wasn't either written by or
substantially contributed to by Eric Eberhard. We will miss him
more than I am able to describe, and we appreciate all of his years
of service — as I say, not just to me and my fellow Arizonans, but
to Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Native Alaskans.

So we thank you, Eric. I know you don't like to hear me say it,
but I think I should say it at least once.

We are here today to receive testimony on S. 349, a bill spon-
sored by myself and Senator Kyi to reauthorize the Navajo-Hopi re-
location housing program for the 1996 and 1997 fiscal years. Our
witnesses will be Chris Bavasi, Executive Director of the Office of
Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation; Ferrell Secakuku, Chairman of
the Hopi Tribe; and Albert Hale, President of the Navajo Nation.
I want to thank all of the witnesses for being with us today.

Under the current law, the authorization for appropriations for
the relocation housing program will expire at the end of the 1995
fiscal year. As I understand the new rules which now govern the
consideration of appropriations bills in the House of Representa-
tives, any bill which contains an unauthorized appropriation will be
subject to a point of order. Accordingly, the Committee on Appro-
priations in the House is under pressure to carefully scrutinize
every appropriated item and to exclude those items for which there
is no authorization. In order to ensure the continuation of the relo-

(1)



cation housing program, S. 349 will need to be enacted before the
House takes up the Interior and Related Agencies appropriations
bill in May or June.

This background is important for our witnesses to understand
because it reflects the new realities which govern funding requests
here in the Congress as a result of the elections last November.
The American people sent a very clear message to every elected of-
ficial: stop the waste, reduce spending, downsize Government, cut
the deficit and cut taxes. In the wake of the election, major changes
occurred in the way that Congress is approaching spending ques-
tions.

The relocation program is particularly vulnerable to reductions
and possible elimination. As many of you know, in 1974 when the
Land Dispute Settlement Act was passed, the program was esti-
mated to cost $40 million and to involve fewer than a thousand
families in both tribes. All of the eligible families were to have been
determined by July 1986. As of this fiscal year, the Congress has
appropriated about $356 million. Let me repeat: An original esti-
mate of $40 million, and as of this fiscal year the Congress has ap-
propriated about $356 million. Of this amount, about $235 million
has been expended on the relocation housing program which is the
subject of S. 349. By any standard, the original cost estimates for
the settlement act were severely understated.

Since 1974, about 4,432 Navajo and Hopi families have applied
for relocation benefits. Of those, 3,264 have been certified eligible
and 1,168 have been denied benefits. Of those who were denied
benefits, 218 are engaged in active appeals. As of the end of Janu-
ary of this year, 2,518 families had been relocated and 746 eligible
families were awaiting their benefits.

In a report recently filed with the Congress, the Office of Navaio
and Hopi Indian Relocation has advised us that the number of eli-

fible families could rise by as much as another thousand families,
epending on the outcome of appeals and other legal challenges. In
addition, there are somewhere between 50 and 250 Navajo families
on the Hopi Partitioned Lands who have never applied for reloca-
tion benefits.

The Hopi Tribe has suggested that relocation should be com-
pleted in 3 years. The report submitted to the Congress by the Of-
fice of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation sets forth a plan which
would conclude relocation in 9 years at an additional cost of $194
million.

To put all this in a little perspective, 21 years after the act was
passed, the Congress has appropriated $317 million, or about 900
percent more than the original cost estimate. Nine years after the
deadline for determining the eligibility of families for relocation we
still don't know the number of families who will ultimately be
found eligible for assistance. The number of families who have al-
ready been served exceeds the original estimate by over 400 per-
cent.

Everyone in this room, today needs to understand that this situa-
tion is not likely to continue. This Congress is not likely to provide
funding for this program with all of the uncertainties which con-
tinue to plague it. There is not an indefinite amount of time to
complete implementation of the act. If we can succeed in getting S.



349 enacted, it is far from certain that we will be able to extend
the authorization 2 years from now. This is a serious situation
which compels the attention of all of the affected parties.

I am interested in hearing from our witnesses today on how we
can resolve the remaining uncertainties and complete the reloca-
tion housing program at the earliest possible date. I am absolutely
sure that whatever happens in the coming months, the status quo
which has existed for the past several years will no longer exist.
The appropriations issue will force change in this program. I hope
that by working together we can agree on the best way to proceed
to provide the housing benefits and conclude the program.

[Text of S. 349 follows:]



104th congress
1st Session



S.349



To reauthorize appropriations for the Navajo-Hopi Relocation Housing

Program.



IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

February 2 (legislative day, January 30), 1995

Mr. McCain (for himself and Mr. Kyl) introduced the following bill; which

was read twice and referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs



A BILL

To reauthorize appropriations for the Navajo-Hopi
Relocation Housing Program.



1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa-

2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

3 SECTION 1. REAUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR

4 THE NAVAJO-HOPI RELOCATION HOUSING

5 PROGRAM.

6 Section 25(a)(8) of Pubhc Law 93-531 (25 U.S.C.

7 640d-24(a)(8)) is amended by striking "1989," and aU

8 that follows through "and 1995." and inserting "1995,

9 1996, and 1997.".

O



The Chairman. I note the presence of my friend and colleague
from the State of Utah, Senator Hatch, the chairman of the Judici-
ary Committee, and I wonder if Senator Hatch would have any
statement that he would like to make.

Senator Hatch. I don't at this time, Mr. Chairman. I'm just very
proud to be on this committee and hope that I can help you and
Senator Inouye and others in doing a good job.

The Chairman. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

Now I would like to recognize Albert Hale, the president of the
Navajo Nation, who I see is seated at the table; I would like to in-
vite Ferrell Secakuku, the chairman of the Hopi Tribe, and Chris
Bavasi, executive director. Office of Navajo-Hopi Indian Relocation
to join him. Mr. Bavasi will be accompanied by Michael McAlister,
Paul Tessler, and Eugene Yazzie.

I might add, Senator Hatch, that Mr. Bavasi also serves as the
mayor of Flagstaff, AZ in his other avocation. And at a very large
salary, I might add. [Laughter.]

President Hale, if it's agreeable, we'd like to begin with you.

STATEMENT OF ALBERT A. HALE, PRESIDENT, NAVAJO
NATION, WINDOW ROCK, AZ

Mr. Hale. Thank you. Senator McCain. [Greeting given in Na-
tive tongue.] Before I start I would also like to say thank you to
a good friend of mine, Eric Eberhard. I'm glad that he's leaving to
join us in the private sector — not really, but thank you, Eric, for
all your help, particularly to the Navajo Nation.

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for giv-
ing me this opportunity to testify on the reauthorization of the Of-
fice of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation and the office's plan to
complete the relocation of Navajos and the eventual phasing-out of
the program.

The Navajo Nation and the Navajo people subject to relocation
are frustrated by the delays and mismanagement of this Federal
program. The problems that have been created are homelessness,

{)overty, land issues, housing issues, and eligibility appeals. Fami-
ies who were relocated off reservation are lefl vulnerable to urban
opportunists and lost their homes. Many families are homeless.
Adult children are homeless because their parents relocated when
they were children, some because of misleading counseling by the
Relocation Office.

The Navajo Nation cannot build housing fast enough to house
the new homeless. There has been virtually no economic develop-
ment included in the relocation program. In spite of the relocation
laws, the destruction of Navajo families' mutual support system
and the loss of livestock and economy of the Navajos on Hopi parti-
tioned lands, the office paints a rosy picture of its model develop-
ment at the new lands, but it is moving our people next to bars.
The office has not responded to the nation's request to assist in re-
moving the bars from the area.

The Navajo Nation is under constant pressure to provide public
assistance to these needy families. Over 100 families may be
housed on land subject to preexisting strip-mining leases. Some of
the new lands are apparently part of the 1934 Boundary Act res-
ervations, which were illegally fenced off in the 1940's, recorded as



private land, and acquired by the Federal Government in a land
exchange.

These issues must be resolved before the Navajo Nation can take
full responsibility for the new lands. The office is liable for the re-
pairs and replacement of defective houses, and in some cases the
office is paying twice. The office needs to begin to build safe and
sound houses in the first place, as mandated by law.

The Relocation Office must review and change its certification
process and eligibilitv criteria. Hundreds of eligible people cannot
receive replacement housing until they are certified eligible. They
should not have to wait 10 or 15 years until an erroneous denial
is overturned.

The proposals in the plan are not the thorough and generous pro-
gprams envisioned by Congn^ess, and are therefore unacceptable. For
example, the office proposes to be exempt fi*om the Native Amer-
ican Grave Protection and Repatriation Act, the National Historic
Preservation Act, and the Archaeological Resources Protection Act.
These laws are important to the protection of Native American reli-
gion and cultural interests. We cannot accept this Federal agency
riding roughshod over our burial sites.

The plan should account for possible changes in light of the ongo-
ing mediation ordered by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to ad-
dress the Navajo families* religious concerns.

The office proposes incentive replacement housing to extended
family members who are currently ineligible. However, the office
does not accommodate the hundreds of families who have complied
with the law, voluntarily left their homes, and have yet to receive
replacement homes.

The office's proposal for expanded authority and fiinds to estab-
lish a Hopi presence on land where they have never lived before,
for all intents and purposes, is forced relocation of Navajos. This
is aggravated by proposing to build houses for non-relocatee Hopis,
while strictly applying the voluntary relocation deadline for Nava-
jos.

Without consultation with the Navajo Nation, the office asks for
expanded authority for infrastructure development in Navajo chap-
ters and in the Bennett Freeze area. The expanded authority is to
gprant homesite leases and for gprazing regulation on Navajo parti-
tioned land. The Navajo Nation considers expanded Federal au-
thority over its lands to be infringement on the Nation's sov-
ereignty and on the chapter's ability to control their lands and
their future.

The office proposes cash payments. This proposal does not meet
the office's obligation under the act to provide decent, safe, and
sanitary replacement housing.

The office's proposal for increased impoundment of Navajo live-
stock is inhumane. The Navajo Nation does, however, have rec-
ommendations which we believe will help address these problems.

First, the religious concerns of the families remaining on HPL
and the Navajo Nation's concern for tribal religion must be ad-
dressed and resolved by the U.S. Government.

Second, the Navajo Nation recommends a time-out period of 1
year. During that time, oversight hearings to assess the impacts of
relocation should be held. A comprehensive study should be con-



ducted on the impacts of relocation on those families who have re-
located, have been displaced, or have been made homeless, while
continuing to build houses for certified families and to process ap-
peals.

The Relocation Office should be reorganized and streamlined
during this time. During the time-out. Congress must require an
honest assessment of the problems smd liabilities of the present
program. The Relocation Office has an institutional interest in con-
cealing its mistakes, covering up problems, and extending its man-
date into the indefinite future.

Fourth, the Navajo Nation recommends that the existing non-
profit Navajo Redevelopment Corporation or the Navajo Nation be
funded to assume responsibility for providing community infra-
structure and rehabilitation in the relocation impacted areas, and
to foster the economic development needed to address the wide-
spread poverty that has resulted from the relocation and the land
dispute.

The Navajo Nation recommends a plan similar to the model used
in the Navajo Rehabilitation Act of 1950, enclosing instead of ex-
panding the authority of the Relocation Office as suggested. The of-
fice must be restructured to focus upon and remedy its continuous
mishandling of eligibility determinations, defective housing, and so-
cial problems. The office must be reminded — ^both the Commis-
sioner and the staff— that Congress intended the law to be imple-
mented in a thorough and generous manner. Instead of granting
more powers to this temporary Federal agency to act as a govern-
ing authority over our lands, the office should be directed to con-
centrate its efforts on the people whose lives the law has destroyed.

Thank you. Senator McCain and members of the committee.

[Prepared statement of Mr. Hale appears in appendix.!

The Chairman. Thank you very much, Mr. President.

Now could we hear from Chairman Ferrell Secakuku.

STATEMENT OF FERRELL SECAKUKU, CHAIRMAN, HOPI
TRIBE, KYKOTSMOVI, AZ

Mr. Secakuku. Thank you veir much. Chairman McCain and
Senator Hatch. I am glad to be nere. Thank you for this oppor-
tunity to give you my words on the reauthorization of the reloca-
tion.

Greetings from the Hopi Land. With that, I would like to say [re-
marks in Native tongue]. Together we shall succeed in this. This
is a very, very sensitive issue. I don't have a long speech, but I
would like to bring some concerns from the Hopi Nation to you.

First, the Hopi people support the continued authorization of the
Navajo-Hopi Relocation Program for another 3 years. Therefore, we
would like to put a limitation on that. We want to put a condition
on it by saying that it should end by 1998. With that, we would
like to begin downsizing within 2V2 years, getting ready for it to
close down by 1998.

The completion of the Relocation Program is long overdue. Today,
20 years after its inception, the Hopi TVibe still hasn't had jurisdic-
tion over their lands. We are still being treated like second-class
citizens within our own lands. We ask the United States, the Fed-
eral Government, to end this relocation as quickly as possible.



8

Second, I would like to just briefly apprise you of some of the
things we have been doing for the past 4 years, aside from the relo-
cation — which is very important, also — to the relocation process.
Because of the Manybeads case, we have entered into a process
which we call the Land Settlement Program, with the families, and
we have worked very hard on that for the last 4 years. Unfortu-
nately, 2 years ago, as you will recall — or as you know — the details
of the Agreement in Principle that we had worked up together as
a group became prematurely public, Eind there was a large backlash
of political nonsupport. As a result, both the United States and the
Navajo Nation backed off. Further, the result was that the Navajo
families did not ratify the Agreement in Principle when it was due
in 1993.

Soon after that. Judge McCue, who was then the appointed medi-
ator of the Ninth Circuit Court, came back to the Hopi Tribal
Council with a request to the resolution by saying that we will ad-
dress this issue, and has convinced the Hopi Tribal Council to give
Navajo families another chance. With that, we have been working
very hard, diligently, for over 1 year, almost 2 years now, trying
to settle this land case with the Navajo families.

If we are successful in this alternative settlement, we would ask
you to consider it very carefully because we believe that what we
are doing will save the U.S. Government a lot of money. We will
assure you that we will not expend any more funds that the tax-
payers have endured for over 20 years.

You have the information already on the numbers, which I don't
think I need to repeat. That's pretty accurate information that you
have just read. But before you today is a question of whether to
authorize an additional $90 million, to be spent over the next 3
years. But for the purpose of comparison, the Commission relocated
408 families during the last 3 years. Assuming that none of the 218
pending appeals are granted, there will be over 300 families left to
relocate at the end of the next 3 years if relocation continues at
this rate.

Unless there is a process by which we can quicken the initiative,
the taxpayers will have to pay another $165 million over the next
5V2 years for this process. This works out to the expenditure of
over $220,000 per family. This raises a very serious question
among many people, including the Hopi, whether there is a better
and a cheaper way of doing this to complete the program; or if you
are unwilling to carryout the program.

We believe that the Agreement in Principle that was carefully
developed by the four parties, including the Federal Government,
2 years ago is the best way — the best method — to handle this situa-
tion. It addresses some of the very, very tough questions that Con-
gress is unwilling to take care of, and it is our hope that if we are
able to bring it before you, you will agree with us.

But we need to put some timelines on all these efforts. So my
final point would be on the timing and the status of the Relocation
Commission. Both the Relocation Program and the settlement proc-
ess would benefit from the establishment of a deadline, because at
present neither the Commission nor certain parties to the Agree-
ment in Principle are moving as quickly as possible.



There is no reason why the Commission needs 5V2 years to com-
plete their program. It should only take 2V2 years to 3 years to
complete the program. Nor is there a reason for certain parties to
this settlement process to drag their feet in arriving at a settle-
ment. We need to all work together diligently on this to come to
some agreement so that both the Navajo and the Hopi people will
live satisfactorily and peacefully and harmoniously throughout
their lives.

We suggest, then, that rather than allowing the Commission to
continue as it has in the past, we recommend that the best way to
use the taxpayers' money to get this job done is to authorize the
executive staff, which both the Navajo Tribe and the Hopi Tribe
would recommend to Congress for hiring, and that we will be at
their side to initiate the Relocation Program in a timely manner.

From here on, the Relocation Program should be an involuntary
program, the way the law mandates. We further request that you
condition your authorization on certain results and timelines
which, even if it does not galvanize the parties of the Agreement
in Principle into action, would ensure that 746 families are relo-
cated more quickly than to drag it out for 5V2 years, and at a cost
that is significsmtly less than $165 million. This is our rec-
ommendation to the committee.

Again, thank you for this time and for permitting me to say a
few words from the Hopi Tribe. Thank you very much.

[Resolution H-129-92 of the Hopi Tribal Council appears in ap-
pendix.]

[Prepared statement of Mr. Secakuku appears in appendix.]

The Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Bavasi, welcome.

STATEMENT OF CHRISTOPHER BAVASI, EXECUTIVE DIREC-
TOR, OFFICE OF NAVAJO-HOPI RELOCATION, FLAGSTAFF,
AZ ACCOMPANIED BY: MICHAEL J. McALISTER, DEPUTY DI-
RECTOR; PAUL TESSLER, COUNSEL; AND EUGENE YAZZIE,
COUNSELING SUPERVISOR

Mr. Bavasi. Thank you. Senator McCain, Senator Hatch. Thank
you for allowing us to testify today in support of the reauthoriza-
tion for the housing portion of our program.

Before I start, please allow me also to congratulate Eric and
thank him on a job well done. We appreciate it very, very much,
and good luck to you in your future endeavors.

I have a statement and I will present it for the record, but if I


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Committee on IndiNavajo-Hopi Relocation Housing Program : hearing before the Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, on S. 349 ... March 15, 1995, Washington, DC → online text (page 1 of 11)