Letters: Adding a bit more to history of tax program

History is good for posterity, respect and honor.

I really appreciate my friend Elroy Drake’s letter to the editor in Navajo Times published in the July 6, 2017 issue (“Permanent sources of revenue”).

May I add a bit more to the history of the Navajo Nation tax program so as not to forget the Navajo Community College Board of Regents of 1973 who played an important role to lay the groundwork for the Navajo tax program as we know it today.

A few know that it was the NCC Board of Regents who hired Gerald J. Boyle, professor of economics, University of New Mexico, to research new sources of revenue for the Navajo Nation. In October 1973, Boyle submitted his research report and recommendation titled “Revenue Alternatives for the Navajo Nation.”

In his research report, Boyle argued the Navajo Nation is performing and providing essential governmental services which is a strong reason why the Navajo Nation must move quickly to lay claim to tax before the states intrude more into this territory. He proposed three types of taxes: gross receipts, leasehold interest, and payroll.

The next decision made by the board of regents was to convince newly-elected chairman of the Navajo Nation, Peter MacDonald Sr., who saw the value and merit of the Navajo Nation passing laws to levy and collect taxes. To do this, he convinced the Navajo Tribal Council to form the Navajo Tax Commission in 1974 who in 1978 passed the Possessory Interest and the Business Activity Tax that burdened the energy companies.

With that “sovereign” action taken by the Navajo Tribal Council all hell broke loose with 24 energy companies filing lawsuits in New Mexico, Arizona and Utah against the Navajo Nation contesting its right to tax.

From 1978 to 1984 this “sovereign” act fought its way into the U.S. Supreme Court. In the end the Navajo Nation won its right to tax.

Thanks are also due to the foresight and vision of the yester-years’ leaders of the Navajo Nation.

Al Henderson
Albuquerque, N.M.

One picture is worth a thousand words

I wanted to comment on the recent pictures of the Wheatfields Lake area that appeared in your paper in your June 29, 2017 issue.

Great job and keep it up. They say one picture is worth a thousand words and it seems to be the case with the two pictures.

I am here in the heat of Phoenix with temperatures of 115 degrees and above range. It is hot and it seems you can’t get away from it. The heat is hell.

I can only dream of being in the high mountains and clean water up there with the streams, creeks and, of course, the famous Lake.

I am thinking I could sit in the high mountains and enjoy the beautiful scenery and the cool air and have a picnic. I could go fishing, hiking, biking, or even hunting. I could even jump in the lake.

It is a wonderful place to visit, go overnight camping, or even vacation. I just love that place. My uncle used to call it God’s Country and I believe it.

Thank you for the nice pictures and the memoirs. I wanted to give a shout out to Asdzaan Tabaa’ha’, “Lakeside Lady,” and the Thomas family at Lakeside. They have been and still are great ambassadors and great contributors to this high country community.

I wish I was there, getting away from the hot sweltering heat of the Sonora Desert country and going to the high country paradise (aka God’s Country). I can only think our forefather’s chose a great place to live.

Raymond Yazzie
Tempe, Ariz.


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Categories: Letters