Governor signs bills to benefit Utah’s tribes during special ceremony

Navajo Nation bill signing

Gov. Gary Herbert signed three bills that benefit Utah’s tribes into law Monday during a special ceremony at the Utah Capitol attended by leaders of the Navajo Nation.

The three bills the governor signed were HB 33 American Indian-Alaskan Native Education Amendments, SB 90 Utah Navajo Royalties Amendment and SCR 2 Concurrent Resolution Regarding Navajo Water Rights Settlement.

HB33 establishes a commission comprised of state and tribal leaders to formulate a statewide Native education plan to increase educational outcomes for Utah’s Native American students.

SB 90 and SCR 2 directly relate to Navajo Nation issues, including the availability of oil and gas royalties and funding for water projects on Navajo land.

Students from the Granite School District Title VII Indian Education drum group performed the Honor Song in celebration of the legislation.

Gov. Herbert is a long-time advocate for Native American people in Utah. As lieutenant governor, he created the Native American Summit, now in its tenth year. One of his first acts as governor was to direct the State to execute a conservation easement for the Galena site to preserve land that has been used by Utah’s Native people for thousands of years. Last week, he dedicated a monument on the Galena Preserve.

“I don’t believe honoring Utah’s tribes is only accomplished by setting aside important land or constructing monuments,” said Gov. Herbert. “We honor Utah’s tribes by doing all we can to ensure that our native citizens have a bright future.”

Navajo Utah Commission members, as well as LoRenzo Bates, Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council attended the event, in addition to bill sponsors Sen. Kevin Van Tassell, Rep. Jack Draxler and Sen. David Hinkins.