CORRECTION: Navajo Advocates Budget Priorities to Interior

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CORRECTION: The request for higher education scholarships is $12,259,536.00. The request for contract support costs is $545,979 above the allocated amount for fiscal 2013.

Contact: Jared King
Communications Director
Navajo Nation Washington Office

For Immediate Release

Navajo Advocates Budget Priorities to Interior

WASHINGTON— Navajo Nation officials provided the nation's fiscal 2016 budget priorities today to the Tribal Interior Budget Council. The Navajo Nation budget priorities include natural resources, public safety and justice, education, human services and contract support costs.

Tribal leaders representing the other 11 Bureau of Indian Affairs regions also presented their budget priorities to U.S. Department of Interior officials including Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn. The previous day included updates from White House officials and other federal agency representatives.

The Navajo Nation’s request for natural resource projects is $8.9 million. Under public safety, the request is $33.8 million for law enforcement. Law enforcement within the Navajo Nation receive and respond to more than 250,000 service calls per year.

The request for tribal courts is $19 million. The request includes funding for facility maintenance and operations for three new judicial facilities in the Navajo Nation, funding for criminal investigations and adult detention. Currently, the Navajo Nation funds 92 percent of the tribal court system out of general funds, while the federal government funds only 8 percent.

Navajo Nation officials also addressed the need for adequate funding for education. The request for higher education scholarships is $12,259,536.00. Sixty percent of the 17,615 applicants for scholarships in 2012 were denied awards.

The request for the Johnson O’Malley Program (JOM) is $4.3 million. JOM serves more than 49,000 eligible American Indian students, age three to the 12th grade, on or near the Navajo Nation. JOM assists with educational needs, support and opportunities, basic school programs, plus college and career ready education needs.

Under human services, the request is $38.8 million and includes funding for welfare assistance, social services, prevention and treatment and housing improvement.

The request for contract support costs is $545,979 above the allocated amount for fiscal 2013.

“Advocating for the Navajo Nation and communicating our unique, large land-based needs is critically important. Due to our land and population size and rural nature, we have to ensure that we are getting our fair share of federal dollars that are part of the federal government's trust and treaty obligations. The presence of all three Navajo Nation branch representatives speaks to how significant our funding issues are,” stated Navajo Nation Washington Office Executive Director Clara Pratte.

The Tribal Interior Budget Council will reconvene in May.