Grand Canyon Escalade Bill is on the agenda of Navajo Nation Council’s Resources and Development Committee at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, in New Mexico.
The public meeting, scheduled in the Nataani Room at Navajo Division of Transportation in Tse Bonito, N.M., is the second panel that discusses the proposed Escalade project. The bill, filed in late August, seeks $65 million of the Navajo Nation to fund infrastructure for a controversial tourist resort on the Grand Canyon Eastern Rim in Western Navajo.
Reportedly, there is talk among committee members about postponing the Escalade discussion until after Nov. 10, when a Naa’bik’iyati’ committee study session about the project is scheduled at Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort near Flagstaff. The panel could consider and agree to remove Escalade from its Tuesday agenda, legislative officials said.
For now, the Escalade remains on the Tuesday agenda, officials said. The committee’s agenda is at www.navajonationcouncil.org.
Earlier in the month, the council’s Law and Order committee unanimously turned down the proposal. The five-member committee members rejected the bill because they placed priority on preserving Navajo culture and believed tribal funds be applied to local projects.
The tribe’s development committee may have a different result. Councilman and Escalade bill sponsor Benjamin Bennett is the panel’s vice chairperson, who could sway Resources’ six-member committee votes in favor of Escalade.
Confluence Partners LLC, from Scottsdale, want a master agreement with the Navajo Nation. Under the contract, the partners propose to build a hotel, restaurant, museum and parking lot and a gondola on 420 acres overlooking the confluence of the Little Colorado and Colorado rivers.The partners wants the council to approve the 420-acre land withdrawal without the consent of grazing permit holders, which is required for most development projects.
The project features a gondola, which will take tourists from the canyon rim to the floor of the canyon, where they would trek a river walk and frequent at a café.
Navajo Council’s Resources and Development committee members and the chapters they represent are below:
- Alton Joe Shepherd, chairperson, Jeddito, Cornfields, Ganado, Kinlichee and Steamboat.
- Benjamin Bennett, vice-chairperson, Crystal, Fort Defiance, Red Lake and Sawmill.
- Leonard Pete, Chinle.
- Walter Phelps, Cameron, Coalmine Canyon, Birdsprings, Leupp and Tolani Lake.
- Davis Filfred, Mexican Water, To’likan, Teesnospos, Aneth and Red Mesa.
- Jonathan Perry, Becenti, Lake Valley, Nahodishgish, Standing Rock, Whiterock, Huerfana, Nageezi and Crownpoint.