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Published On: Thu, Feb 16th, 2012

$40 million of the Utah Navajo Trust Fund, leaders try to find a solution

Weekly Edition | February 16, 2012 | By: NP staff writer

President Ben Shelly met with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert for more than a half hour on Wednesday. President Shelly told Gov. Herbert about seven town hall style meeting scheduled in the next couple of weeks

 In Salt Lake City, at the Annual American Indian Caucus Day Navajo President Ben Shelly meant with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to find a solution on how  to administer more than $40 million of Utah Navajo Trust Fund, which is used for scholarships and infrastructure for the Navajo people in Utah, various tribal leaders also attended the event.

The two leaders meant privately “I am going to listen to the Navajo people of Utah,” adding,  “We have to have a solution come from the people about the trust fund.” said Gov. Herbert.

The Trust Fund was created under Utah Code, Title 63, Chapter 88 to account for various revenues received by the State, the majority of which represents the 37 ½ percent of the net oil royalties from the Aneth Extension of the Navajo Indian Reservation.

The Utah Navajo Trust Fund is valued at $42 million, most of which is coming from a $33 million settlement. Throughout the past few years, the trust  fund has generated nearly $4 million a year.

In 2008,  The Utah legislature voted to forgo their responsibility to the trust fund. Since then Utah’s Department of Administrative Services has administered the fund until the U.S. Congress designates a new trustee.

A series of seven town-hall  meetings is scheduled to start on Thursday at Aneth Chapter from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.. All the meetings are scheduled to be held at the chapter houses in Utah through the following 12 days. Mr. Shelly invited Gov. Herbert and to Lt. Gov. Greg Bell to attend these town halls.

“I want to see what our people say about the trust fund, then we can find a solution that will work,” President Shelly said.

Mr. Shelly scheduled these town halls in hopes of finding a common ground with the Navajo people to determine what need to be done for the Navajos in Utah.

Here is a list of the scheduled town-hall meetings: Feb. 16 in Aneth, Utah, Feb. 17 in Red Mesa, Utah Feb. 21 in Tees Nos Pos, Ariz. Feb. 22 in Mexican Water, Ariz. Feb. 23 in Navajo Mountain, Utah Feb. 24 in Oljato, Utah and Feb. 27 in Dennehosto, Ariz.

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$40 million of the Utah Navajo Trust Fund, leaders try to find a solution