For nearly a decade, Arabella Cook applied for housing discretionary funds to renovate a section of her home. And for nearly a decade, she was told that there weren’t any funds.
“Each time I asked, I was told, ‘There is no money,” the 78-year-old said. “I just gave up.”
It wasn’t until Cook was driving by a residence recently that she saw building materials and men in workwear renovating a home, prompting her to apply once more after asking if funds were available.
“And it came up so quick,” Cook said. “I was so thrilled with it. And for two days I got rid of things in the room. I ordered people around to take things out. I (shouted), ‘I’m getting my place fixed!’ I was so happy running around.”
Cook is one of 8,000 or so individuals living in former Bennett Freeze, on which the commissioner of Indian Affairs Robert Bennett in 1966 halted development on 1.6 million acres of land in Western Navajo, which according to history northeastern Arizona was claimed by both the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe.