Utah Navajos say they want more control in how oil and gas royalty money derived from the reservation is spent.
And Rep. Vernon Borgeson, D-Clearfield, has agreed to sponsor legislation accomplishing that end. "We will probably not get the bill through this year," he said, "but we will pre-file it next year and keep trying."Seven Utah Navajos, including San Juan County Commissioner Mark Maryboy, held a press conference Friday in support of the bill calling for direct Navajo control over royalty monies currently paid into a trust account administered by the Utah Division of Indian Affairs.
Maryboy wants to see a San Juan County Trust Council, composed of tribal elders nominated by the people and chosen by the governor, to administer those funds, as well as other state and tribal money. The council would then determine the best way to spend the money to improve services on the mostly undeveloped Utah portion of the Navajo Reservation.
"The bill is supported by the grassroots people," Maryboy said, adding it is also opposed by state and tribal bureaucrats who want to preserve the status quo.