House panel hears dispute for management of Navajo trust fund
The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on Wednesday on H.R.4384, a bill affecting the Utah Navajo Trust Fund.

In 1933, Congress created a trust fund for members of the Navajo Nation who live in Utah. The law required the state of Utah to manage 37.5 percent of the royalties from oil and gas production.

The state has since relieved itself of its management duties. Tribal members in Utah want to take over the fund but the central Navajo government is asserting its authority.

“I’m going to stand up and make sure Utah Navajos control this money,” Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) said at the hearing.

Navajos in Utah make up only a small percentage of the overall Navajo population. Their communities are also far from most other Navajo communities.

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. said the bill threatens the tribe's ability to govern itself. He said Congress should not treat Utah Navajos differently from the rest of the tribal population.

Get the Story:
Navajos, politicians split over control of oil money (The Salt Lake Tribune 7/29

Committee Hearing:
Full Committee Legislative Hearing On H.R. 5023, H.R. 4384 And H.R. 5468 (July 28, 2010)

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