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GAO: Hopi And Navajo Relocation Help Still Needed

Relocation home built in 2017
Courtesy of the GAO
The Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation has relocated 3,600 families in homes like this one.

Four decades ago the federal government halted a century-old Navajo-Hopi land dispute by dividing the land among the two tribes. The order displaced thousands of families. A federal study shows some of them are still without homes promised to them.

The Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation has spent $600 million in federal funds to relocate 3,600 families. Its director wants to shutdown the office by September.

But the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that the relocation staff still has work to do. The office is still responsible for building 20 homes and for repairing at least 50 homes.

Navajo leaders say some of the homes were built with cheap materials. At least 240 people whose relocation applications were denied could appeal.

The report found the relocation office has prepared a transition plan but it's left out key information for future agencies to pick up where they left off, and it recommends Congress get involved.

Laurel Morales was a Fronteras Desk reporter in Flagstaff from 2011 to 2020.