Navajo elected officials have decided to postpone and move the first hearing on a proposal to build a gondola tram into the Grand Canyon.
In an official meeting today, the Navajo Nation Law and Order committee voted 3-0 to postpone and move the hearing. The committee hearing on the “Grand Canyon Escalade” project was set for Sept. 26 in Monument Valley — on the opposite side of the Navajo Nation from where the tourist resort would be built.
But, Edmund Yazzie, chairman of the subcommittee holding the first hearing, reportedly said he felt the turnout of opponents and supporters would overwhelm the Monument Valley Welcome Center in Mexican Hat, Utah. Yazzie is chairman of the Navajo Nation Law and Order Subcommittee.
To make sure you are granted time to testify at the hearing, contact members of the Law and Order Committee. The members are Edmund Yazzie, Kee Allen Begay Jr, Herman Daniels Jr, Raymond Smith Jr, and Otto Tso. Contact them at this link: http://savetheconfluence.com/news/contact-delegates/
The bill, which proposes that the tribe fork over $65 million to help finance the resort, must go through several subcommittee hearings over the next few weeks before a full vote before the full Navajo Nation Council.
Tens of thousands of people worldwide oppose The Escalade, and they sent in online petition signatures, letters and telephone calls expressing their feelings. Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye says he will veto any legislation that lands on his desk. The National Park Service and Hopi Tribe have also both opposed the development proposal. The Hopis say such a development would violate land agreements with the Navajos. At least 18 American Indian tribes oppose it, saying sacred sites and traditional land-use claims take precedence over outside developers’ desires to bring tourists into the area.
Yazzie could not be reached for comment to explain what information he might have indicating that a large turnout would be expected. However, more than 83,000 online petition signatures from Save the Confluence and American Rivers saturated Navajo Nation offices, another 4,000 signed paper petition signatures from enrolled Navajos were hand-delivered to the tribal council, and dozens of telephone calls were received during an official comment period in late August and early September.
The new hearing will be at 10 a.m. Oct. 10 at Twin Arrows Resort and Casino, a gaming facility operated by the tribe, north of Interstate 40 east of Flagstaff.