Should Canyon de Chelly Be Given to the Navajo Nation?
It's an interesting coincidence that not long after the Traveler revisited the national park units that have been decommissioned that it's come to our attention that there are talks about turning Canyon de Chelly National Monument over to the Navajo Nation.
Politics are likely to make this a short discussion, at least for now, as it would take an act of Congress to turn the monument over to the Navajo Nation and there are few likely congressional proponents of this deal in Arizona. After all, Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi has legal problems that will keep him sidelined for a while, and Senator John McCain, of course, is busy running for president. U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, meanwhile, has been described as being "hostile" to such a transfer. As a result, it's expected that any such transfer legislation would not surface at least until the next Congress is elected.
Such a transfer wouldn't be totally illogical. The Navajo Nation long has had historical and spiritual ties to the sandstone canyon, and there's even a living community of Navajo people there. And, as the National Park Service points out, "Canyon de Chelly is unique among National Park Service units, as it is comprised entirely of Navajo Tribal Trust Land that remains home to the canyon community. NPS works in partnership with the Navajo Nation to manage park resources and sustain the living Navajo community."