Arrows Casino slow to turn profit
The Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort is working on an agreement with
the Navajo Nation to postpone paying down its debt until business picks
up at the 6-month-old enterprise.
Its owner, the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise, is a for-profit
enterprise of the tribal government, and it borrowed money from the
tribe to build the $200 million facility.
“We’re finalizing and putting together a temporary agreement to
get us past this year and get us into the first quarter of next year,”
said Twin Arrows CEO Derrick Watchman. “It provides a temporary
solution to the outstanding liability we have with the Nation.”
December 2, 2013
Arrows Presents Elaine Stepter
Friday, December 13
Saturday, December 14
8:00pm - 1:00am
November 22, 2013
Changing America Desk
November 19, 2013
GAMBLE: Twin Arrows Casino looks to expand
The last cows are gone and a strangely oversized new road now meets
the edge of the Drye family’s former pastures.
Where the pavement ends, the pinyons begin. The desolate shrublands
reach across the horizon to the west until the San Francisco Peaks rise
as the only landmark on the plateau. But not for long.
Less than six months after celebrating their casino’s grand opening
25 miles east of Flagstaff, the Navajo Nation is doubling down on Twin
The tribe recently submitted development plans to Coconino County
that include a gas station, outlet mall, big box retailers, housing
development, restaurants, RV park and an entertainment complex complete
with a theater, mini golf, arcade, bowling alley and laser tag. The
plans also call for 128 units of townhomes and condos plus another 32
lots for houses.
Casino City Times
Twin Arrows named top Native American Casino Facility at G2E
The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise (NNGE) is honored to announce its
Arrows Navajo Casino Resort was recognized as the top
Native American Casino Facility in the nation at this week's G2E (Global
Gaming Expo) Conference.
The Friedmutter Group of Las Vegas, which designed the structure in
collaboration with Navajo tribal members, and JBA Consulting Engineers,
which led the active systems engineering, submitted an entry for the
stunning 267,000-square-foot facility that showcases Navajo culture and
original artworks throughout the property.
"We are grateful to The Friedmutter Group of Las Vegas and JBA
Consulting Engineers for their ability to culturally infuse Navajo into
the building by incorporating the vision of our team in the exterior and
interior designs, décor and engineering," said Derrick Watchman,
NNGE CEO. "We are proud to be recognized as the number one Native
American Casino Facility in the Nation and congratulate The Friedmutter
Group, JBA Consulting Engineers and our employees for this prestigious
Native American Times
Hopi Tribe hopes to reopen restored I-40 rest stop
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) – It started with the arrows. The iconic
namesakes of Twin Arrows, once reduced to battered telephone poles
leaning into the wind that sweeps across Interstate 40, now glisten red
and gold, new heads and fletchings – tail feathers – in place after
a recent volunteer restoration effort.
But refurbishing the arrows wasn’t so much about public art or
tidiness as preserving a piece of culture and opening up a new economic
portal, both for Flagstaff and the area Native Americans who hope to
return the old rest stop to its former glory.
In its halcyon days, Twin Arrows – a rest stop at exit 219, about 20
miles east of Flagstaff – was a slice of Americana, a gas station,
diner and souvenir central for travelers along the famed Route 66; it
operated for about 60 years before closing in 1998. Well before that, it
was a trading post for the Hopi, who left petroglyphs etched into the
walls of nearby Padre Canyon
COMMENTARY: The Navajo Nation should build the City of Twin Arrows
TWIN ARROWS, Ariz. – As the Navajo Nation looks to boost it’s
revenue with the Twin Arrows Casino, they could also be looking at
building around the gaming complex.
So we thought we would explore the idea of the City of Twin Arrows.
It would need to have shopping centers, gas stations, theaters, and of
course some apartment complexes to accommodate the employees and
possible residence of the new town.
Moreover, the city will be able to collect taxes and divert the
dollars back into the Tribes Economy. The City of Twin Arrows could be
the model of other Navajo cities that could spur up in the reservation.
Arrows Sports Bar at the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort
The Arrows Sports Bar was the eatery we chose on our last visit to
the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort. It proved to be a good choice.
The service was immediate, courteous, and friendly. The menu choices
were many and varied. An assortment of appetizers, soups and salads are
offered. An array of sandwiches, wraps, and burgers are recommended.
However, we went there specifically to try the Arrows Sports Bar's
version of the Navajo Taco... it proved to be large and delicious.
As you would expect in a sports bar, big screen TVs
and a multiplicity of beers are featured. The Arrows Sports Bar is a
relaxed, pleasant establishment. Give it a try on your next visit to the
Zenith Steakhouse At Twin Arrows
The Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort promotes the Zenith Steakhouse
as its flagship restaurant. The restaurant's webpages present the
steakhouse as a politically correct establishment, frequently using the
words progressive and sustainable in describing the menu
and the eatery itself.
Zenith Steakhouse, with its open exhibition kitchen, fireplace and
wine cellar display, is Twin Arrow’s flagship restaurant.
The menu we’ve created—and the ambiance—puts a progressive
twist on the traditional.
offers an admirable selection of dishes. We can recommend the prime rib
meal, having not tried other choices... yet.
Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort Grand Opening
Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort appears to be making a great first
impression. Comments from guests are very positive. There are many, many
people visiting the casino resort for the first time this weekend, and
they freely share their opinions when approached for a casual
Everyone begins by commenting on the grand building itself, standing
alone and inviting. Many remark on the resort's "air of
luxury". They especially remark on the Navajo art incorporated into
the resort's rotunda and throughout the casino and hotel.
Many are impressed by the casino, and the large number of colorful
slot machines. Others speak appreciatively of the resort's layout. They
like being able to have a fine meal or register at the hotel without
"being funneled through the main casino floor, as at other
places" as one guest commented.
Today, and earlier this month, we visited the resort during daylight
hours... and we were struck by the large size of the facility. On Friday
we visited in the evening. The dramatic layout and lighting as we
approached, makes the scene simply beautiful.
Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort seems to be having a successful
Grand Opening, with good crowds and impressive facilities. "Twin
Arrows" as most simply refer to the casino-resort, appears to be
poised to be a long term positive for the economies of the Navajo Nation
and the Flagstaff region.
Twin Arrows Casino Personnel
When we visited the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort last Friday, we
made a special point to talk with resort employees.
We spoke with a broad sample... from security personnel, to hotel
desk employees, to casino dealers and floor employees, to food workers,
to grounds maintenance workers, to marketing representatives.
Friday was the first day these new resort employees had interaction
with the public in their various roles representing Twin Arrows.
We were impressed with the knowledge and courtesy of each and every
one we contacted.
Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort began a :soft" opening today.
Providing their well trained, courteous, and friendly staff an
opportunity to interact with guests before the May 24 Grand Opening is a
The facilities are beautiful, there are dining establishments... and
a food court offering a variety of meals - including delicious Navajo
Tacos. The casino's table games are operating, as are the PLENTIFUL slot
We did not tour the hotel and banquet and conference facilities.
However, judging by the rotunda, these facilities are first class.
We were very favorably impressed... as I believe you will be.
Twin Arrows Casino Grand Opening
The Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort will hold its grand opening beginning Friday,
May 24, 2013. Grand opening events will continue throughout the Memorial
The rich and colorful culture of the Navajo People is prominently displayed
in the resort's public areas, including the casino, banquet and meeting rooms,
and hotel. Original art by Navajo artists is featured throughout the resort.
Grand opening events will also showcase the resort's impressive
accommodations, ample gaming facilities, and the array of dining choices.
Officials Tour Twin Arrows Casino Resort
Navajo Nation officials and guests recently toured the $130 million Twin
Arrows Navajo Casino Resort to observe construction progress. The shell is
practically complete, and piping, wiring, duct work, and other utility
infrastructure is being installed. After that the interior build-out will
Construction of the hotel and casino is on schedule, according to Bob
Winter, CEO of the Navajo Gaming Enterprise.
Navajo Speaker of the Council Johnny Naize probably described it best after
he received a tour of the new Navajo casino being built at Twin Arrows.
"Awesome," he enthusiastically commented.
The theme of the new casino will be the four Navajo worlds. The exterior and
the interior walls of the hotel will feature and promote Navajo weaving. Navajo
paintings, and Navajo crafts.
The casino resort will employ hundreds of Navajo tribal members, and
contribute millions of dollars to the local economy in the form of payroll and
Navajo President Shelly Signs Bills to Approve
Alcohol Sale and Acceptance of Land
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Navajo
Nation President Ben Shelly signed two different
bills on Wednesday.
Legislation CJY-40-12 approves the sale of liquor at Twin
Arrows Resort and Casino
near Flagstaff and Antelope
Point Marina near Page, Ariz.
In an otherwise dry reservation, the Navajo Nation has
allowed the sale of the alcohol at
two casinos previously.
“Alcohol is a sensitive subject, but in order to make
our casinos and other businesses
competitive, we need to allow
alcohol sales at these select establishments. Allowing
alcohol sales are restaurants is an economic decision because we want our
business ventures to be successful,” President Shelly said.
President Shelly also signed Legislation CJY-42-12 accepts
45 surface acres from Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands
Administration, which also gives the Navajo Nation mineral rights to 160
acres. In addition the legislation requests the Secretary of the
Interior Ken Salazar place the land into Navajo trust status.
“This is positive step for the Navajo Nation. We are
gaining both surface and mineral rights to these lands. Now we are hoping
Sec. Salazar will put these lands into Navajo trust so we can explore how
best to use this land for our People,” President Shelly said.
The Navajo Nation Council passed both legislations during their summer
session in July.
July 21, 2012
Twin Arrows Casino Construction
Construction of the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino
Resort east of Flagstaff continues to progress.
The casino/hotel/resort is located on the
north side of Interstate 40, near Leupp,
Arizona. This photo shows the current state of
building construction from the south side.
Roads, curbing, drainage, and other infrastructure
is also progressing.
The casino was originally projected to open
this month, but design changes and other
adjustments caused the anticipated completion
date to be revised to the spring of 2013.
July 2, 2012
Navajo President Shelly Applauds NNGE
for $5 million Gaming Disbursement
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. –
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly gave remarks
gratitude to the Navajo
Nation Gaming Enterprise’s distribution of $5
million to the
“Today marks the beginning of
step into the future for Navajo
and our government,” said
Ben Shelly during a
conference held at the
Inn Friday morning.
“I want to thank the Navajo
Enterprise for giving us
check this morning,” President
More than three years after the
Navajo casino opened, the
Nation Gaming Enterprise
the first time was able to give
Navajo Nation a portion of
profits after restructuring some loans.
“I would like to thank the
Council and President for working with us to
loans and making all of this possible,” said
NNGE Chairman Quincy Natay.
The Navajo Nation has three
operational casinos; Fire Rock Navajo Casino in
Northern Edge in Upper Fruitland, N.M., and
Flowing Water in Tse Daak’aan
Another casino resort is being
constructed near Flagstaff, Ariz.
“Twin Arrows is going to be a
casino resort unlike any other on the Navajo
Vice President Rex Lee Jim also
offered statement of gratitude.
“I want to thank each and
every one of you for contributing,” Vice
President Jim said.
Navajo Nation Council Speaker
Johnny Naize also spoke during the press
gaming officials and tribal leaders to look
“We are negotiating with New
Mexico for a new gaming compact,” Speaker
The money will go into the
Undesignated Unreserved Fund Balance.
“We look forward to future
revenues so we can keep our nation moving
forward to better
for all our people,” President Shelly said.
Navajo Nation Council
Naa’bik’iyati’ Committee decision:
alcohol will not be served in hotel area of Twin Arrows casino resort
Committee also takes action on
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Members of the
Naa’bik’iyati’ Committee of the 22nd
Navajo Nation Council assembled on June
14 at the Navajo Nation Council Chambers, taking action on eight legislations
and tabling one.
Legislation 0173-12, sponsored by Council Delegate Mel R. Begay, aimed to
make adjustments to Title 17 Section 412 of the Navajo Nation Code pertaining
to intoxicating liquors and exceptions.
The legislation was one of the afternoon’s more heavily discussed topics
because of its intent to adjust the law, allowing for the serving of alcohol in
the hotel area connected to the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino facility.
As the law currently reads, liquor is only allowed to be served within a
food establishment in a casino, stated Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise (NNGE)
general counsel Raymond Etsitty.
As part of the proposed law amendments, certain lines in Title 17 were also
struck out to enable "the enterprise to obtain a liquor license as
required by the gaming compact," said Etsitty, referring to the agreement
between the Navajo Nation and the state of Arizona.
The Twin Arrows casino is being touted as a "destination resort."
The allowance of alcohol within the hotel area would guarantee a hotel rating
of at least three and a half stars, which NNGE reasons would magnify the
attraction of non-Indian tourists, foreigners, and visitors from the Phoenix
valley to the casino and hotel resort.
Council Delegate Leonard Tsosie, who advised the enterprise to be more
careful in its planning, was not pleased with how the issue seemed to have been
brought up "at the last minute," just as the project was near
"We trust you to protect the interest of Navajo gaming operations. You
can’t say ‘Oops,’ and then come in and say, ‘We need to change the law,’"
Delegate Tsosie stated to the gaming enterprise.
Delegate Simpson and Delegate Tsosie both motioned for amendments to
language changes that were originally proposed by legislation 0173-12.
Only after the committee passed amendments #1 and #2, which respectively,
would restrict the sale of alcoholic beverages to the confines of the dining
area of the Navajo casino facility, and limit the applicability of state
general liquor laws on the Navajo Nation, the main motion passed.
With the inclusion of the two amendments, legislation 0173-12 was passed
with thirteen (13) supporting and one (1) opposing.
Twin Arrows Casino Water Infrastructure
McCarthy, the building contractor for the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort
recently began construction on the $7.1 million design-build water and
The comprehensive water project includes a master plan to specifically serve
the Twin Arrows Resort and Casino and planned future amenities, including a
potential golf course.
McCarthy is installing 17,500 linear feet of water and wastewater pipes, a
pump station with a storage tank for the casino’s potable water supply, a
wastewater treatment plant, two wells and facilities to house the control room
and electrical and pumping equipment necessary for the project.
Navajo Nation Council
Tó’Nanees’Dizí Chapter hosting job
fair for new Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort on May 17
Hunt Construction Group is
conducting job fair along with sub-contractors
TUBA CITY, Ariz. — Navajo Nation
Council Delegate Joshua Lavar Butler (Tó’Nanees’Dizí) and the Tó’Nanees’Dizí
Chapter will be hosting a job fair for the new Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort
from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Tuba City Chapter House on Thursday, May 17.
Hunt Construction Group of Phoenix, Ariz., the general contractors for the
new Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, is conducting the job fair with several
of their sub-contractors.
Construction job applications and resumes will be accepted from qualified
Navajo applicants for several positions.
According to Hunt Construction Group, positions will be filled in accordance
with the Navajo Preference in Employment Act. Job applications from qualified
Navajo-Hopi Relocatees are welcome.
Resume or qualifications may be delivered in person to any Arizona Workforce
Connections Office; where detailed job descriptions are also available. Contact
your local Arizona Workforce Connections Office for additional information. The
nearest offices to the Twin Arrows worksite are in Tuba City, Flagstaff,
Winslow, and Window Rock.
The Hunt Corporation is a Navajo Affirmative Action Employer. Applicants may
be required to pass a background check and a drug screening.
Twin Arrows Casino Construction Advances
The Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort is beginning to take shape. Much of the
structural steel skeleton is visible now.
The resort casino is projected to open in the spring of 2013. Hiring and
training of the first resort employees is rumored to begin in the summer of
January 21, 2012
Northern Edge Casino Opens in Fruitland, NM - Twin Arrows Next
Post reports on the grand opening of another Navajo Nation gaming
square foot casino opens in Fruitland, NM. This is the third
Navajo-operated casino to open within the Navajo Nation. One more casino,
Twin Arrows, is expected to open in early 2013, near Flagstaff, AZ.
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly, and Navajo Nation Council Speaker Johnny
Naize, attend grand opening ceremonies and ribbon cutting
January 5, 2012
Nation Gaming Enterprise Chooses Bally Systems Solutions
VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 5, 2012-- Bally
Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: BYI), a
leader in slots, video machines, casino-management, interactive applications,
and networked systems for the global gaming industry, today announced that
Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise has signed a master license agreement for Bally
systems solutions following a thorough evaluation of all qualified system
Nation chose Bally’s iVIEW
Display Manager™ (DM) and Elite
Bonusing Suite to add excitement across the casino floor through a
picture-in-picture-style player-user-interface that enables powerful
interactive bonusing events on the gaming devices without interrupting slot
which includes replacement of a competitor’s system at two of the properties,
will occur across the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise’s casinos in the
southwestern United States, starting with Flowing Water Navajo Casino, Northern
Edge Navajo Casino, and Fire Rock Casino. The Navajo’s flagship property,
Twin Arrows Navajo Hotel & Casino Resort, currently under construction in
Flagstaff, Ariz., is projected to open in the spring of 2013.
are dedicated to growing our enterprise for the good of the Navajo people, and
as such, we needed a systems partner who shared the same commitment and had the
core technology solutions to enable us to evolve our operation,” said Derrick
Watchman, Chief Financial Officer of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise.
“Bally’s commitment to systems is undisputed, and they have invested in
technology that will enable us to take our player-loyalty programs to the next
About Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise
The Navajo Nation Gaming
Enterprise (“NNGE”) is a Navajo Nation-wholly owned business entity created
by the Navajo Nation in September 2006. NNGE is authorized by the Navajo Nation
to develop and operate Navajo casinos in accordance with federal and Navajo
Nation laws, as well as the negotiated Navajo Nation-applicable state compacts
(New Mexico and Arizona). NNGE’s long-term plan is to build approximately
five to six casinos within the Navajo Nation. NNGE’s goals include to create
jobs in the Navajo Nation relating to the casino industry (such as casino
operations, restaurants, hotels, golf course, tourism, construction, etc.),
support development of small businesses that provide goods and services to the
Navajo casinos and related businesses, and to generate gaming revenues for the
Navajo Nation government. For more information, please visit http://www.firerocknavajocasino.com/nnge2011.com.
October 11, 2011
Twin Arrows Casino
September 7, 2011
Twin Arrows Casino
WINDOW ROCK –
Actual, out-of-the-ground construction of the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort
is anticipated to begin later this month.
construction plans and financial documents are being finalized now. This
should allow physical construction activity to go forward to meet the
casino-resort's planned May, 2013, opening date.
August 20, 2011
Twin Arrows Casino
Construction Planning Continues
Ban Question Remains
WINDOW ROCK –
The Navajo Nation Tribal Council fell two votes short of the 16 needed
to override a presidential veto. The August 5th veto of the Navajo Nation Smoking Regulation
Act of 2011 stands. That legislation would have exempted reservation
casinos from the smoking ban.
President Ben Shelly vetoed the measure, saying it didn't
go far enough to protect the health of Navajos. Friday’s failure to override
the veto means that smoking in public places on the reservation remains
legal… for now.
Shelly has urged tribal health, judicial, legislative, and
gaming officials to work together to craft a bill that makes a healthy
lifestyle the top priority. "It's important we establish it responsibly
and with the correct intent," Shelly said Friday.
Gaming Enterprise officials have warned that a smoking ban
that applies to the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort would cause the casino to
be a financial failure (and presumably) compel the Gaming Enterprise to abandon
the project before completion.
August 13, 2011
Arrows Casino Plan Changes
Arrows Casino Changes
WINDOW ROCK –Bob Winter, Navajo Gaming Enterprise CEO, and
members of the Gaming Enterprise appeared before the Budget and Finance
Committee Monday along with Council Delegate Walter Phelps.
Topics of discussion ranged from shrinking the scope of the Twin
Arrows Casino and related dollars, dates, and the possible smoking ban.
Delegate Phelps sponsored a resolution seeking to amend the loan
agreement with the Nation and a second amendment to the depository agreement
with Fire Rock Navajo Casino. Under the current loan agreement the Gaming
Enterprise is required to deposit some of its profits into an escrow account to
be used toward Twin Arrows.
“What we asked for, and what we got, was the ability to use some
of those monies that we deposited to pay outstanding pre-construction bills,”
Also, the loan had a different completion date for the project,
which had to be changed, as well as the scope of the project. As the result of
a variety of delays, Twin Arrows has been pushed back from Nov. 15, 2012, to
May 1, 2013, according to Winter.
Earlier this year construction prices increased
significantly for certain materials. Once casino developers had the actual
engineered drawing in hand they had to make sure construction costs met the
amount of money authorized – Twin Arrows had to be scaled back.
Eliminated are the second floor of the hotel with its
“high-rollers” lounge and a seafood bar outside the hotel area, but the
proposed Twin Arrows Casino and Resort still meets all the requirements of a
four-star hotel, according to Winter.
“The hard construction cost is $85 million, so we
had to make the building fit that $85 million figure,” Winter said. “The
amenities on the second floor have now been brought down and put on the first
floor where they were originally back in October 2010. That includes a
steakhouse and a high-rollers lounge,” he said. “So we eliminated the cost
of elevators, steel and everything that goes into the second floor,” saving
The hotel, which originally was 120 rooms, has been
reduced to 90 in the first phase, however, Winter said, “We were able to keep
those amenities at a level that would qualify for a four-star hotel and LEED-certified,”
the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability.
“We have kept the 50,000-square-foot conference
center in anticipation of increasing the room sizes over time. We believe the
Navajo Nation will be able to use that conference center and really assist in
the profitability of the project,” he said.
Additional savings were realized by changing the seafood bar
outside the hotel into an upscale coffee shop similar to those at the Hyatt and
Westin hotels in Phoenix.
Total cost for the Twin
Arrows Casino and Resort project has been reduced from around $160 million to
approximately $140 million.
Budget and Finance Chairman LoRenzo Bates asked about
the potential impact from a possible tobacco ban.
Currently, there is no smoking ban, Winter said.
“They passed legislation that implemented a smoking ban but excluded the
casinos for the period of time in which we were paying off our finances. When
the president vetoed it, that means that the legislation – unless the Council
overrides the veto – isn't in place and therefore, there is absolutely no
smoking ban. It's back to the way it was before any of this happened.”
If the Council approves a resolution sponsored by
Delegate Katherine Benally which calls for a total tobacco ban across the
Navajo Nation except for traditional uses, the Navajo Gaming Enterprise has
warned that Twin Arrows won't be built because it will reduce revenues to the
point the Enterprise will not be able to pay off its debt to the Nation.
August 5, 2011
President Ben Shelly Vetoes Navajo Nation Smoking Regulation
Act of 2011
Window Rock, AZ—Navajo
Nation President Ben Shelly today vetoed the Navajo Nation Smoking Regulation
Act of 2011, passed during the summer session of the Navajo Nation Council.
I am overturning the Council’s decision based on seven outlined areas stated
in my letter to the Council,” said President Ben Shelly as he vetoed
CJY-29-11. “I ran on a platform of health,
education, economic prosperity, open government and technology. I re-pledge my commitment to
protect our Navajo People from cancer or diseases caused by exposure to
secondhand smoke or tobacco use. All partners such as Navajo Division of
Health, Division of Public Safety, Judicial Branch, and the Navajo Nation
Gaming Enterprise should work together to draft a bill that considers a
‘healthy lifestyle for the Navajo
people.’ The passage of this legislation does not adequately address any
given employees who are subjected to a smoking workplace environment.”
Shelly’s justification letter to the Council included the following issues
regarding economic loss, designated non-smoking sections, Reasonable Distance
Subsection 426, Under Section 2 Findings, enforcement, and ceremonial and
traditional tobacco use. Listed below are the excerpts from the
The Legislation lacks the language needed to emphasize the importance of
protecting Navajo infants and children, and those individuals who may lack the
ability to protect themselves from the dangers of smoke or smokeless tobacco.
Although the Legislation identifies “public places”, it does not
specifically highlight those places such as, schools, playgrounds, parks, or
places where it is of the highest priorities to prohibit and encourage a
In § 426, the language “reasonable distance” is utilized without a
definition of reasonable distance. Because civil penalties will be imposed.
In regards to ceremonial and traditional tobacco use, the definitions section
or the legislation itself does not properly expound on the traditional use of
tobacco for ceremonial purposes.
The Gaming exception – the Legislation lacks language on how the Gaming
Enterprise will work with the Division of Health. This legislation should have
included at least a directive between the entities and other divisions or
programs, if appropriate to establish a cooperative relationship while the
Gaming Enterprise is allowed the exception.
The Legislation needs to properly set up, either administratively or
legislatively, the funding contribution the Gaming Enterprise is directed to
pay toward smoking prevention. The amount of $150,000 was not discussed or
In “Section 4. Navajo Nation Repayment Period”, the following language is
suggested to replace current language in paragraph “B.” Upon the repayment
by the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise of all financing debt listed in Resolution CJY-29-11,
Section 2 (G) and (H), the Enterprise will implement a
smoking ban at the direction of the Navajo Nation Council . Or similar language
to ensure the amount listed will not increase allowing additional time for pay
April, the president signed executive order 02-2011, protecting employees and
the public from exposure to all commercial tobacco products in the workplaces
and public places.
May 31, he strengthened his the pledge to health and wellness of the Navajo
people and directed the Division of Health to work on developing legislation to
support his executive order, which coincided with the Navajo Nation Commercial
Tobacco Free Day of 2011.
July 21 2011
Smoking Ban Update
Navajo Nation Council Delegates voted Wednesday to prohibit smoking in all
public places on the reservation… except for tribal casinos.
final vote was 14-5 in favor. Under the bill, the Tribal Council can reconsider
the casino exemption once gaming officials pay off their financing debts.
bill now goes to the desk of President Ben Shelly for approval or veto. Shelly
opposed the bill before passage, but has not indicated whether he intends to
July 17 2011
AZ – The Navajo
Tribal Council will consider a modified version of the Reservation-wide ban on
smoking in public places.
to the 22nd Navajo Nation Council will consider the modification bill during
the current session. The proposed change would exempt casinos from the smoking
Ben Shelly opposes the proposed change. He believes the total ban would protect
the health and welfare of tribal members.
Winter, CEO of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise, favors the change. He
believes the total ban would jeapordise the tribe's financial investment in the
fledgling casino enterprise, and the associated jobs for tribal members.
April 29, 2011
Twin Arrows Casino Smoking Ban Not Valid
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The executive order to ban smoking in
public places on the reservation signed by Navajo President Ben Shelly cannot
be enforced, his spokesperson acknowledged Thursday.
This development eases concerns that a smoking ban would
jeopardize funding for the $125 million casino near Flagstaff, Arizona.
The Navajo Nation's justice department reviewed the order
signed earlier this week and found that it was legally insufficient, said
Shelly spokeswoman Charmaine Jackson.
April 27, 2011
Twin Arrows Casino To Be Smoke Free?
support protecting Navajo Nation employees and tribal members from
exposure to commercial tobacco in the workplace and public places located
on the Navajo Nation. I signed an executive order yesterday to protect the
health, wellness, and welfare of the Navajo people.
The intent of the
executive order is similar to the 2008 Commercial Tobacco Free Act, which
passed the 21st Navajo Nation Council and was later vetoed by former
President Joe Shirley, Jr. With this executive order, we will create a
safer, commercial tobacco free work place for our Navajo people. This law
does not does not restrict the fundamental traditional ceremony use of
I plan to pursue
legislation and bring the executive office and the appropriate divisions
together along with grassroots organizations to create commercial tobacco
free legislation to present at the Navajo Nation during its regular summer
Hashanee’ is a
traditional Navajo concept I use often to express the love and respect I
have for the people. As leaders we must create safer environments for our
people. The prevention of commercial tobacco use is very important to the
Shelly-Jim Administration. We do not want to expose our Navajo people to
further unnecessary, health-related illnesses that can be caused by
order will not be formally enacted until it is signed and attested by the
Navajo Nation Attorney General’s Office.
April 23, 2011
Officials say no shortfall for Twin Arrows Casino construction
The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise
(NNGE) is not facing a shortfall of funds for its Twin Arrows Casino, officials said Tuesday.
"We're not facing a shortfall because we have never received any money yet from the tribe," said Sean McCabe, chairman of the NNGE's board of directors.
Concerns have been voiced over the past two weeks, following a budget and finance subcommittee report that the funds needed to build the casino and resort near Flagstaff exceeded what had been planned.
The projected cost has varied between $100 and $125 million, depending on the projected scope of the casino/hotel complex. A $100 million price tag was placed on the project when the tribe's investment committee agreed to provide the enterprise with that amount of money to build it.
McCabe said the term "shortfall" is misleading because it indicates to people that the gaming enterprise received the money and is now back asking for more.
April 15, 2011
Twin Arrows Casino Facing Inflation Challenge
The Twin Arrows Casino Resort is scheduled to begin
construction this month - but the soaring cost of construction materials has
jumped by approximately twenty million dollars.
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly's office reported the
circumstance to the Budget and Finance Subcommittee on Monday.
Construction should not be delayed. Possible solutions are
being studied, including scheduled construction of some resort facilities
planned around the casino.
March 23, 2011
Speaker Naize Looks to Economic Cooperation with Twin
Leupp, AZ — At Monday’s
groundbreaking of the Navajo Nation’s fourth casino operation, Navajo Nation Council Speaker Johnny Naize told the audience that
through economic cooperation the Nation, other Arizona tribes, and their neighboring communities
can continue to grow and benefit from the native gaming industry.
“Traditionally, the Navajo Nation and the city of Flagstaff
haven’t had the best relations on how to allocate natural resources or how to accommodate culturally
significant sites, like the San Francisco Peaks, in our search to better our economic environments,”
said Speaker Naize. “I’m hoping this project, though the jobs and revenue it generates, will lead to
more understanding between our communities.”
Naize also reiterated that as Navajo gaming operations expand,
they must also remain as a tool to generate economic opportunities for the other new and existing
industries that would employ many Navajos. He noted this in the project’s commitment to
reducing the high unemployment rate on the Navajo Nation.
“Some have criticized the Navajo Nation’s use of its Navajo
Employment Preference Law, but it has leveled the playing field for small Navajo businesses to
participate in the construction of these larger projects,” said Naize. “I have been informed that, besides
the Navajo employees that will go to work once this facility is completed, the primary construction
company building this project will also focus on using Navajo labor.”
Being the first Navajo casino operation in Arizona, Naize
called on continuing a positive relationship with the state and its gaming tribes. Recently, there has been
movement to expand gaming in the state as an effort to combat falling state revenues caused by
the recession and the struggling real estate market.
Dignitaries at the ground breaking included Navajo Nation
President Ben Shelly, Vice President Rex Lee Jim, Council Delegates Walter Phelps, Joshua Lavar Butler,
Mel Begay, and former Navajo Nation Presidents Joe Shirley Jr., and Peterson Zah. Other
representatives included those from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Coconino County officials, and Ernie
Stevens, the President of the National Indian Gaming Association.
The Twin Arrows Resort & Spa will be the first Navajo
casino to have a hotel and conference center
and will be its largest operation employing approximately 800
people. It is scheduled to open July 1, 2012.
March 21, 2011
Ground Breaking For Twin Arrows Casino
TWIN ARROWS, Ariz. — The Navajo Nation broke ground on the Twin Arrows
casino project along Interstate 40 east of Flagstaff today.
A crowd of more than 350 people attended Monday's groundbreaking ceremony.
The first phase of construction on the a $150 million casino is set to begin
in April. A July 1, 2012 opening is targeted.
Navajo President Ben Shelly says tribal officials will hold a job fair to
fill the positions. Hiring preference goes to tribal members.
He says the tribe will rely on county officials for law enforcement and fire
January 10, 2011
Navajo President signs casino loan agreements for $100 million Twin Arrows, $35 million
Upper Fruitland casinos
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – As
one of the final acts of his presidency,
on Thursday Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., and
Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise CEO Robert Winter signed
documents to complete a $100 million loan to
construct the Twin Arrow Casino Resort Project near Flagstaff.
And on Dec. 27, they signed documents for a
$35 million loan for
the Upper Fruitland casino.
“It’s all for the people,” the President said. “I
cannot thank you enough on behalf of the people. Thank you for being there for us,
and thank you for trusting
us with your money. I would have you believe that the Navajo Nation is good for it.”
The loan agreements are between the Navajo
Nation and the Navajo Nation Gaming
Enterprise, said NNGE Chief Financial Officer Derrick
Construction of the $150 million Twin Arrows project is
scheduled to begin on
March 15 and be completed on June 15 2012, he said.
Mr. Winter said the project will reflect
like no other casino.
“This will be a resort-casino that will express Navajo
culture from the moment people
enter the property to the moment they leave,” he said. “It
will be the only such casino that is structure that way in the entire
state of Arizona.”
He said the project was put into place quickly because of
the cooperation among
the Navajo executive and legislative branches,
the Navajo-Hopi Land Commission, the Navajo Department
of Justice, the Gaming Enterprise and the federal
December 23, 2010
GALLUP, N.M. – Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr.,
joined Navajo Area BIA Director Omar Bradley on Thursday as he signed final
documents to take 405 acres of land into trust for the Navajo Nation.
Mr. Bradley’s signature, on behalf of Assistant Secretary for
Indian Affairs Larry Echohawk, clears the way for construction of the $120
million Twin Arrows Casino – the Navajo Nation’s fourth and its first
scheduled to be built in Arizona, 20 miles east of Flagstaff.
This was the first time in 25 years that land has been
taken into trust for the Nation.
President Shirley said land acquisition for economic
development means jobs of Navajos and revenues for the Nation to meet the needs
of the people.
“We’re moving forward as a nation, a government and as
a people,” he said. “About 1,000 families are going to be in a position to
put food on the table, to put shoes on little feet, gas in the old jalopy out
there, able to pay for the utilities, that’s what it means to my people,”
The land acquisition was made possible through the Navajo-Hopi
Settlement Act and will help remedy the detrimental effects caused by the
relocation of thousands of Navajo families.
By 2012, he said, the Nation can expect to see another 768 news
jobs created through casino development – 549 in the Twin Arrows casino and
219 in the accompanying hotel.
The Twin Arrows development will include a gaming facility, a
golf course and a hotel.
The land acquisition will serve to connect the Leupp Chapter to
Interstate 40 and provide access and infrastructure to many Navajos that
currently have no electricity or water in the area.
President Shirley credited the speedy acquisition of the land to
Mr. Echohawk, his chief of staff Paul Tsosie, the Navajo Nation Council, the
Navajo Department of Justice, the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise, the Navajo
Hopi Land Commission, the Office of Navajo Hopi Relocation, and to Stephen Hart
and Kerry Patterson of the Lewis & Roca Law Firm.
But he had special praise for Mr. Bradley, whom he called a
brother and a driving force behind the project.
“Without your push, I don’t know where we’d be today,” he
said. “Working together, praying together, singing together, it makes things
happen. I think this is how this is happening today.”
The Navajo Nation’s gaming compacts with New Mexico and Arizona
allow it to build six casinos. In addition, the Nation has agreements
with three Arizona tribes that will bring it another $130 million over 17
In all, the Nation expects to earn about $150 million a year from
gaming and an additional $20 million in repayment of the Nation’s loan to the
December 5, 2010
WINDOW ROCK – A Coconino County Superior Court judge refused
to grant Forgotten People President Don Yellowman a motion for continuance
Tuesday and quashed a lis pendens on the Twin Arrows Casino parcel filed by
the grassroots group.
The Navajo Nation, through the Lewis and Roca law firm of
Phoenix, filed suit against Yellowman, personally, on Nov. 16, claiming that
the lis pendens was wrongful and asking the state court to quash it. Yellowman
was asked to show cause at a hearing Tuesday afternoon before Superior Court
Judge Dan Slayton.
Forgotten People filed the lis pendens Oct. 22 with the
Coconino County Recorder. The lis pendens targets the deed to the Twin Arrows
property and references a specific trust obligation for the benefit of the
survivors of the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute.
In affidavits submitted as exhibits by the Navajo Nation,
Controller Mark Grant stated that the Investment Committee of the Navajo
Nation authorized an investment of $100 million from the Master Trust Fund to
finance the development and construction of the Twin Arrows property on July
12, and that the Budget and Finance Committee approved the investment July 26.
An affidavit from Navajo Gaming Enterprise CEO Robert Winter
states that the enterprise bought the 405.61 acre tract of land on Aug. 16,
and on Aug. 25 “gifted” it to the Navajo Nation with the understanding
that the Twin Arrows property would be leased back to the Gaming Enterprise so
that the Enterprise could proceed with its development plans.
Winter also stated that the Enterprise has obtained financing
that requires it to demonstrate in advance that the Twin Arrows property has
no liens or encumbrances that negatively impact the title to the property. The
mere appearance of the notice of lis pendens “creates a cloud on title”
and unless the notice is immediately removed, he said, the Enterprise would
not be able to meet the conditions for its financing and might lose
approximately $100 million in funding for the development of the Twin Arrows
Yellowman filed an affidavit Monday with Coconino County
Superior Court claiming the court didn’t have jurisdiction to hear the case
and also filed a motion for continuance so he could have time to secure legal
representation. Marsha Monestersky, program manager for Forgotten People, said
Tuesday after Slayton’s ruling that it’s “inexcusable” for the judge
not to have granted a motion to continue in light of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“We were trying to find an attorney but we couldn’t,” she said.
Yellowman maintained that the filing of the lis pendens was
proper because it related to issues brought in a pending lawsuit and that the
Coconino County court “does not have jurisdiction to second-guess the Navajo
Nation judicial system on the nature of matters pending before it.”
“We’ll still move on with our suit on the Navajo Nation;
it doesn’t affect that. That’s improper use of the Rehabilitation Trust
Fund,” Monestersky said.
Nancy Scott, daughter of Betty Scott whose property lies next
door to the proposed Twin Arrows site, said she was very disappointed that she
wasn’t allowed to speak at the hearing or to ask questions. “We’re just
never heard,” she said, adding that her mother is one of 12 complainants in
a lawsuit pending in the Navajo Nation court system.
Despite the setback, Yellowman said, “We stood up to the
Navajo Nation. We didn’t back down. Our tail is not between our legs.
We’ve got a little wiggle still left in our tail.”
December 2, 2010
Navajo Nation Council
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – The
Navajo Nation Council has approved annexing land east of Flagstaff for
development of a major casino-resort development.
legislation will place 405.6 acres into trust for the tribe and annex the land
into the Leupp Chapter.
Council passed the bill 63-2 during a special session November 23.
order for development to occur, the Navajo Nation Council needs to pass this
said. "The federal government has already taken its action to put this
land into trust status for the nation."
Echo Hawk, assistant secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, announced
November 10 that the land was placed into trust to conduct gaming activities.
Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise purchased the land, located near Interstate 40
in a rural area known as Twin Arrows, earlier this year but needed approval
from the federal government before gaming could be conducted there.
law allows tribes to put casinos only on trust lands. The Interior Department
placed the land into trust using the Navajo Hopi Settlement Act of 1974 and the
Hopi Indian Relocation Amendments Act of 1980.
a gaming establishment, other development plans include a conference center,
golf course, hotel and spa.
a resolution attached to the legislation, both Leupp and Birdsprings chapters
approved the land acquisition.
has been involved with the annexation because provisions in the Navajo Nation
Code require a chapter to approve gaming and alcohol sales inside its borders.
October 26, 2010
Navajo Nation Council
Council extends Gaming Development Fund, legislation to
annex parcel of Twin Arrows land to Leupp Chapter to be reconsidered
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – After discussing
the latest casino development in a morning work session, the 21st Navajo
Nation Council convened in the afternoon for a special session and passed
legislation extending the Gaming Development Fund until May 1, 2013 for future
gaming projects. The Council also considered legislation to annex the parcel of
Twin Arrows land to the Leupp Chapter, but that legislation expired as a result
of amendment efforts to the proposed measure.
In the work session, the Navajo Nation Gaming
Enterprise delivered the Council updates of its gaming initiatives, including
the design videos of the Upper Fruitland Casino and Twin Arrows Casino and
Resort. The Freidmutter Group of Las Vegas, renowned in the casino industry, is
the architecture and design firm responsible for both casino projects.
Bob Winter, CEO for the NNGE, said Navajo gaming
has exceeded revenue projections, including the newly established Flowing Water
Casino in the Tse Da Kaan Chapter. In the first ten days of operation, the new
casino exceeded projections twice more than was predicted and has a workforce
of 100 percent Navajo.
"We have exceeded Fire Rock projections by
100 percent," said Mr. Winter. "We increased our profits 10 percent
of last year. We are exceeding our projections at Flowing Water Casino with
most of the projections coming from Ute Mountain."
Based on the revenue projections of current
casino operations, Mr. Winter said he anticipates the same results for the
Upper Fruitland, Twin Arrows and the Chinle Casinos.
"When the Navajo people say there is
employment, you can say, ‘We developed the casinos and there are jobs,’"
said Edward T. Begay, former Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council and a member
of the NNGE Board of Directors. "They say this casino business is going to
drive us crazy, but I do not think so. These casinos generate money."
Mr. Begay commended the Council for supporting
gaming development on the Navajo Nation, an effort he pushed as Speaker of the
19th Navajo Nation Council.
Approximately $40 million for the Upper
Fruitland Casino and $100 million for the Twin Arrows Casino and Resort from
the Navajo Nation Master Trust Fund will finance both casinos. On July 29, the
Budget and Finance Committee amended term sheets for the construction of both
facilities, which are tentatively scheduled for groundbreaking this winter.
Following the work session, the Council passed
the Gaming Development Fund Amendments Act of 2010 by a vote of 69-9. The
passage of the legislation extends the Gaming Development Fund to May 1, 2013
to fund development activities necessary to establish additionally-planned
The Council also considered the passage of
Legislation No. 0677-10: "Acknowledging the selection and pending
placement of the Twin Arrows Parcel into trust status for the benefit of the
Navajo Nation; and annexing the Twin Arrows Parcel into the Leupp
After considerable debate and amendment efforts
to the legislation, the NNGE and Navajo DOJ clarified to Council that the
amendments change the intent of the legislation, which was drafted to move
forward with gaming at the Twin Arrows site. As a result, the Council let the
legislation expire so as to develop legislation to keep the project moving
Honorable Leonard Chee, the sponsor of
Legislation No. 0677-10, will propose a new legislation during the Nov. 4
October 26, 2010
Navajo Nation Council
Speaker Morgan announces Oct. 25 Special Session agenda
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – The Honorable Speaker Lawrence T.
Morgan announced the agenda for a Navajo Nation Council Special Session, which
is scheduled to convene on Monday, Oct. 25 at the Navajo Nation Council
The Special Session will begin in the afternoon, following a
work session in the morning. A separate agenda will be prepared for the work
The Special Session has two legislative items under new
business. The agenda has no items listed under old business and reports.
Honorable Leonard Chee (Birdsprings/Leupp/Tolani Lake), vice
chairman for the Budget and Finance Committee, is sponsoring two pieces of
legislation related to gaming on the Navajo Nation.
The first legislation (Legislation No. 0631-10), if passed,
would require amending Title 12 §1608 of the Navajo Nation to enact the Gaming
Development Fund Amendments Act of 2010.
Mr. Chee is cosponsoring the second legislation (Legislation
No. 0677-10) with Honorable Jerry Freddie (Dilcon/Teesto). This legislation, if
passed, would acknowledge the selection and pending placement of the Twin
Arrows Parcel into trust status for the benefit of the Navajo Nation. The
passage of the legislation would annex the Twin Arrows Parcel into the Leupp
A complete copy of the special session agenda can be found
online at www.navajonationcouncil.org.
October 22, 2010
The Forgotten People, an association of survivors of the
inhumane Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute, announce today that they are filing a “lis
pendens” notice of claim on the Twin Arrows Parcel to be used for
construction of the new Twin Arrows Casino with the Coconino County Clerk and
Recorder and submitting a notice of claim to the President and Attorney General
of the Navajo Nation at the same time.
The claims are prompted by the news that the United States
Government has given the Navajo Nation Casino Enterprise the money to buy over
408 acres of land using money for Navajo-Hopi relocation programs. While some
documents indicate the trust nature of the use of that money, the beneficiaries
of the Navajo Rehabilitation Trust Fund have no assurance that casino profits
will not be wasted or misspent, as with other ventures. The lis pendens warns
potential investors and those who do business with the Casino Enterprise that
there is a constructive trust on the properties in favor of the people of the
The claims also govern any other casino lands in Arizona or
other ventures that attempt to encumber lands or assets that are or should be
in the Navajo Rehabilitation Trust Fund.
Forgotten People is also in the process of filing Freedom of
Information Act requests to document the misdirection of federal funds to land
for the new casino and to the General Accounting Office of Congress for an
investigation into the situation. The issues are the misuse of federal funds
for a casino, breach of the Navajo Rehabilitation Trust Fund and waste of its
monies, and claiming a constructive trust for the people in place of repeated
breaches of fiduciary duties toward them.
The Forgotten People warn that duties to the beneficiaries of
the Navajo Rehabilitation Trust follow all such monies and properties and that
they are an encumbrance on all casino properties or other properties used in a
similar way, and that potential investors or businesses should understand that.
Navajo-Hopi Land Commission
October 15, 2010
Twin Arrows Land
The Navajo-Hopi Land Commission has
purchased 400+ acres near the Twin Arrows I-40 exit. The purchase price is
reportedly $7.4 million.
The land is destined to be added to
the Navajo Nation tribal lands, and used for the Twin Arrows Casino
September 12, 2010
Gov. Jan Brewer visits
64th Navajo Nation Fair, signs
support letter for development of Twin Arrows Casino and Resort
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. –
Gov. Jan Brewer paid a special visit to the 64th Annual
Navajo Nation Fair today and signed an unexpected support letter addressed to
the Bureau of Indian Affairs on behalf of Arizona expressing her support for
the Navajo Nation’s application to turn lands into tribal trust for the
development of the Twin Arrows Casino and Resort near Flagstaff, Ariz. The
governor’s support letter is not necessary but certainly welcomed and is very
helpful in the acquisition of lands.
"The Navajo Nation has worked in good
faith with all interested parties, including making alternate land selections,
changing design specifications, creating environmentally conscious plans,
agreeing to abide by a local dark skies ordinance, and initiating conversations
about infrastructure support," Gov. Brewer said, in her support letter to
the BIA. "The Navajo Nation did this all in an effort to begin its new
business on positive footing."
Honorable Council delegates Leonard Chee and
Evelyn Acothley received and assisted the governor on her visit to the Navajo
Nation. Both Council members accompanied the governor to Navajo President Joe
Shirley’s pavilion on the fair grounds where the signing ceremony took place.
The signing ceremony was also witnessed by the
"While I have not always agreed with
tribal plans to operate gaming establishments, I understand my legal
responsibilities as Governor under the Arizona gaming compacts and the Navajo
Nation’s right to self-determination," added Gov. Brewer. "I have
been both impressed by the sensitivity the Navajo Nation has showed for its
neighbors and with the careful planning its leaders have engaged in prior to
identifying, acquiring, and designing the Twin Arrows site."
"As Governor, I commend Navajo Nation
President Joe Shirley, Jr., the Navajo Nation Council, and leaders of the
Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise for their cooperative inter-governmental
approach," said Gov. Brewer. "The Twin Arrows development is
anticipated to bring more than 1,000 construction jobs to the area and to drive
demand for temporary housing. This is expected to create a significant economic
boom for the area."
In addition to the Office of the President,
Council and Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise, the Navajo Hopi Land Commission
played an integral role in identifying lands for the development of the Twin
Arrows Casino and Resort. Both Honorable Chee and Honorable Acothley are
members of the Navajo Hopi Land Commission’s effort to provide economic
development opportunities to the western region of the Navajo Nation.
"In the Western Navajo Agency,
particularly the former Bennett Freeze area housing is a number one
priority," Honorable Acothley said. "The Navajo Nation needs to work
on partnerships with the state of Arizona, county, and federal levels for
housing development. The support letter signed by Gov. Jan Brewer today is a
true working relationship between two sovereign governments, which will help
with our efforts in providing much needed housing for this portion of the
Pursuant to the Navajo Hopi Settlement Act
Amendments of 1980, the Navajo Hopi Land Commission is delegated authority
through Navajo Nation Council Resolution CN-69-80 to act and speak for the
Navajo Nation "with respect to land selection and land exchange
provisions" for the development of Twin Arrows Casino and Resort, which
Gov. Brewer supports.
The type of lands the Navajo Hopi Land
Commission recommends for selection are: lands with economic development
potential, including potential to provide sustainable income to Navajo
relocatee beneficiaries, and lands that "address special needs of the
beneficiaries and affected communities including but not limited to the
preservation of cultural resources, control of liquor establishments" and
land as home sites for those who have been displaced from their first
Honorable Chee, also a member of the
Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) Subcommittee on Gaming and Taskforce on State
Affairs, said the support letter from the governor is encouraging and is
"I serve on the IGR Taskforce on State
Affairs and it has been encouraging to work with the governor’s staff, in
particular Katosha Nakai," said Honorable Chee. "The support letter
is appreciative in our effort to acquire lands into tribal trust for the
development of Twin Arrows Casino and Resort. I thank the governor for her
visit and her initiative to work with the Navajo Nation on a
On her visit, the governor also had the chance
to participate in the Navajo song-and-dance where two rounds of songs were
dedicated to her; she attended the rodeo with both Council delegates and the
president, and shopped with Councilwoman Acothley for jewelry at the Navajo
Arts and Crafts Enterprise.
"As a member of the Health and Social
Services Committee, I was happy to receive and accompany the governor knowing
she values behavioral health and the challenge of being a woman and parent in
leadership positions," added Honorable Acothley.
August 1, 2010
President Joe Shirley, Jr., signs documents for nearly $5.4 million to launch
development of two new Navajo casinos
ROCK, Ariz. –
Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley,Jr., Navajo Nation Controller Mark Grant
and Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise CEO Robert Winter signed documents here
Thursday for a $5.3 million loan to build new casinos in Tse Daa K’aan,
N.M. and Chinle.
is a historical moment for the Nation,” the President said.
$3.3 million of the amount will go toward the development of the Tse’
Daa K’aan casino which is expected to open in October, said Ethel Billie
Branch, an attorney for Orrick, Herrington, Sutcliffe, LLP, who helped
prepare the documents.
remaining $2 million will fund the Chinle casino, which is expected to open
by year’s end.
represents a culmination of a year-long effort of intense concentration,”
Navajo Nation Controller Mark Grant said.
loans are considered to be the first of five for projected casino
Other sites for casinos include Upper Fruitland, N.M., Twin
Ariz., and Pinto Road along Interstate 40 between Sanders and
said Adam Parker of the Navajo Nation Controller’s Office.
Shirley also signed documents that would that would extend the loan the Navajo
Nation initially put up for the Fire Rock Casino located in Church Rock, N.M.
The loan was refinanced to allow funds from the Fire Rock Casino to be
allocated for the casino in Upper Fruitland, N.M.
casino at Twin Arrows, Ariz is projected to be open by March 2012. Twin Arrows,
Ariz., is located along Interstate 40 around 24 miles east of Flagstaff, said
are excited that we are moving forward,” said Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise
Chief Financial Officer Derrick Watchman.
projected casinos will provide jobs, economic development, infrastructure and
entertainment in the surrounding areas.
August 3, 2010
sheets for Fire Rock, Upper Fruitland and Twin Arrows casinos modified
ROCK Ariz. - On July 26, the Budget and Finance Committee passed several pieces
of legislation sponsored by Honorable Hoskie Kee (Littlewater/Baca-Prewitt/Casamero
Lake) that modified term sheets for the Fire Rock Navajo Casino, Upper
Fruitland Casino and Twin Arrows Casino and Resort.
Upon the recommendations of the Navajo Nation Department of Justice, Special
Counsel and Financial Advisor, the Navajo Nation Investment Committee passed
resolutions for term sheet modifications. Pursuant to Resolution BFJA-01-08,
the Navajo Nation Investment Committee has the authority to approve and
recommend investments to the Budget and Finance Committee.
One of the Budget and Finance Committee's first action items was passing
legislation modifying the $35 million term sheet for the Fire Rock Casino by
rescinding Resolution BMFY-16-10, which was approved by the committee on May
Unlike Resolution BMFY-16-10, the latest piece of legislation adds the Navajo
Nation Master Involvement Polices and Navajo Nation Tribal Sub-policy as new
provisions for approving the term sheets.
This new legislation also creates construction escrow accounts for the proposed
Upper Fruitland Casino and Twin Arrows Casino and Resort.
The investment monies come from the Navajo Nation Master Trust Fund.
Mark Grant, controller for the Navajo Nation, said, "The modifications
extend the terms of the loan up to five years so it could compliment the other
In other related matters, two pieces of legislation provide new investment
amounts of $35 million for the Upper Fruitland Casino and $100 million for the
Twin Arrows Casino and Resort. The modified term sheet investments will be used
for preopening and construction of the two facilities.
These two pieces of legislations repeal paragraphs one and two of Resolution
BFMY-17-10. Initially on May 18, the committee passed Resolution BFMY-17-10,
which provided fixed income investments of $50 million for the Upper Fruitland
Casino and $125 million for Twin Arrows Casino and Resort.
In addition, the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise (NNGE) passed resolutions
requesting for modification in term sheet amounts and will contribute $5
million to the Upper Fruitland Casino and $10 million for the Twin Arrows
Casino and Resort.
With the NNGE's contribution, the total funding available for the Upper
Fruitland Casino totals $40 million and $110 million for the Twin Arrows Casino
The reduction of the new term sheets drew major concerns from members of the
committee as the two facilities would have to adjust their size and plans to
the new modifications.
Bob Winters, CEO of Navajo Gaming Enterprise, said, "We are still in the
process of reduction but Twin Arrows will be a resort with a pool, exercise
room, suites and gaming space. We are still competitive and hopeful."
The Upper Fruitland Casino is anticipating a reduction in the size of its
office space and dining areas. For the Twin Arrows Casino and Resort, there is
anticipation to reduce the number of suites from 60 to 20, eliminating the
proposed European Spa, reduction in warehouse space and the removal of one
restaurant space. The gaming space for Twin Arrows will see no reduction in
21 st Navajo Nation Council
May 3, 2010
Relations Committee passes memorandum of agreement for the
proposed Twin Arrows Casino and Resort
ROCK, Ariz. --
The Intergovernmental Relations Committee of the 21 st Navajo
Nation Council passed
legislation approving a memorandum of agreement between the Navajo Nation and
Office of Hopi and Navajo Indian Relocation for development of the proposed
Twin Arrows Casino and Resort near Leupp,
an effort to meet the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise’s vision to build the
Twin Arrows Casino and Resort, Council Delegate Leonard Chee (Birdsprings/Leupp/Tolani
Lake) sponsored legislation (Legislation No. 0250-10) requesting 432.5 acres of
identified fee land into trust status.
have been able to identify and acquire 432.5 acres,” Chee said. “How we
propose to get the land is through the Navajo Hopi Settlement Act. We have full
support from the Navajo Hopi Land Commission and also the Navajo Nation Gaming
order for gaming development to occur the parcels of fee land need to be
requested by the Navajo Hopi Land Commission through resolution to the Office
of Hopi and Navajo Indian Relocation (OHNIR) who administers the Navajo Hopi
Settlement Act. Thereafter, OHNIR may act on the resolution and will have
fulfilled its obligation of the Navajo Hopi Settlement Act in consulting with
the Navajo Nation for trust land status.
US Secretary of Interior will not have the power or right to act according to
his own judgment in granting trust land to tribes because land request is
mandatory under the Navajo Hopi Settlement Act.
Navajo Nation Department of Justice has been active in drafting the MOA and
providing the legal services to draft this legislation,” added Chee. “Since
we are getting the land under the Navajo Hopi Settlement Act, there are some
provisions under the public law we need to comply with.”
two conditions of the Act and MOA are: OHNIR’s final planning authority on
business leases and the rental revenue benefits to Navajo relocatees who live
on Hopi Partitioned Lands as of December 22, 1974.
OHNIR will have final planning authority on business leases for the entire
432.5 acres of land and will proceed according to the Navajo Nation Business
Leasing Regulations of 2005.
revenues generated from the business leases will be directed into the Navajo
Nation Rehabilitation Trust Fund for the benefit of Navajo relocatees on Hopi
Partitioned Lands – the Navajo Nation and OHNIR will negotiate the benefits
in a separate agreement.
to gaming revenues, I know many people are questioning why the relocatees are
getting gaming revenues,” Raymond Estitty, legal counsel for Navajo Nation
Gaming Enterprise, said. “The relocatees are not getting gaming revenues
because if we give them direct gaming revenues that is considered per capita,
which we cannot do.”
what they will be receiving is rental revenues from the business leases. As to
the amount, that is premature,” Estitty added. “We don’t know what will
be built out there and that largely depends on the input from the Budget and
Finance Committee. The main purpose is to start the mandatory process of
securing fee to trust land status for the Navajo Nation. We already have
assurances from federal agencies to proceed.”
well, the Navajo Nation received an Indian Lands Opinion (on March 18) that the
parcels of land qualifies for gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
to the Navajo Hopi Settlement Act, the Navajo Nation cannot transfer more than
250,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management lands and it cannot exceed 150,000
acres in private lands into trust. These lands also need to be located 18 miles
within the present Navajo boundaries, in order to be transferred intom Navajo
Nation trust land.
measure passed the committee, 9-0 and will go to President Joe Shirley to
execute the MOA.