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2/21/2013 Gallup Independent: Navajo Supports Wupatki Elder's Fight for Family Home

2/21/2013 Gallup Independent: Navajo Supports Wupatki Elder's Fight for Family Home

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Published by Marsha Monestersky

2/2/1/2013 WINDOW ROCK – The Navajo Nation Council's Naa'bik'iyati' Committee is opposing a wilderness designation for Wupatki National Monument because it apparently will disenfranchise the family of 87-year-old Stella Peshlakai Smith, whose ancestors settled there in 1870, long before Wupatki was established as a national monument in 1924.

2/2/1/2013 WINDOW ROCK – The Navajo Nation Council's Naa'bik'iyati' Committee is opposing a wilderness designation for Wupatki National Monument because it apparently will disenfranchise the family of 87-year-old Stella Peshlakai Smith, whose ancestors settled there in 1870, long before Wupatki was established as a national monument in 1924.

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Published by: Marsha Monestersky on Feb 22, 2013
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09/17/2013

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 Navajo supports Wupatki elder's fight for family home
By Kathy HelmsGallup Independent, Dine Bureaunavajo1@gallupindependent.com
2/2/1/2013 WINDOW ROCK – The Navajo Nation Council's Naa'bik'iyati' Committee is opposing awilderness designation for Wupatki National Monument because it apparently will disenfranchise thefamily of 87-year-old Stella Peshlakai Smith, whose ancestors settled there in 1870, long beforeWupatki was established as a national monument in 1924.“The wilderness designation will cover almost 100 percent of the existing park, but it also will trulyhave an adverse impact on the residents and the homestead of the Peshlakai family,” Delegate Walter Phelps said. Phelps is sponsor of a position statement approved last month by the Naa'bik'iyati'Committee, which has final authority.“The park service, based on the history, has not really been favorable toward extending the lease beyond the lifetime of the current resident so that the children and the grandchildren could also have aninheritance. They basically have opposed any initiatives to that effect,” Phelps said.On Nov. 21, Flagstaff Area National Monuments completed a wilderness eligibility assessment andadministratively determined that about 34,194 acres, or 96.5 percent of land within Wupatki is eligiblefor a formal wilderness study. The evaluation is the first step under National Park Service policies indetermining if NPS land would be eligible for future wilderness designation. A study will be initiated inthe future and include full public involvement, according to NPS.“I viewed the wilderness designation as another way to oppress the family,” Phelps said. “The Naa'bik'iyati' Committee strongly opposed the initiative. I also provided that position by the Council to

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