Public Law 93-531 (The Relocation Law)
[[Page 110 STAT. 3649]]
Public Law 104-301
To provide for the settlement of the Navajo-Hopi land dispute, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, Dispute Settlement Act of 1996.>>
SECTION 1. <> SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the “Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute Settlement
Act of 1996”.
SEC. 2. <> FINDINGS.
The Congress finds that–
(1) it is in the public interest for the Tribe, Navajos
residing on the Hopi Partitioned Lands, and the United States to
reach a peaceful resolution of the longstanding disagreements
between the parties under the Act commonly known as the
“Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act of 1974” (Public Law 93-531;
25 U.S.C. 640d et seq.);
(2) it is in the best interest of the Tribe and the United
States that there be a fair and final settlement of certain
issues remaining in connection with the Navajo-Hopi Land
Settlement Act of 1974, including the full and final settlement
of the multiple claims that the Tribe has against the United
(3) this Act, together with the Settlement Agreement
executed on December 14, 1995, and the Accommodation Agreement
(as incorporated by the Settlement Agreement), provide the
authority for the Tribe to enter agreements with eligible Navajo
families in order for those families to remain residents of the
Hopi Partitioned Lands for a period of 75 years, subject to the
terms and conditions of the Accommodation Agreement;
(4) the United States acknowledges and respects–
(A) the sincerity of the traditional beliefs of the
members of the Tribe and the Navajo families residing on
the Hopi Partitioned Lands; and
(B) the importance that the respective traditional
beliefs of the members of the Tribe and Navajo families
have with respect to the culture and way of life of
those members and families;
(5) this Act, the Settlement Agreement, and the
Accommodation Agreement provide for the mutual respect and
protection of the traditional religious beliefs and practices of
the Tribe and the Navajo families residing on the Hopi
(6) the Tribe is encouraged to work with the Navajo families
residing on the Hopi Partitioned Lands to address their concerns
regarding the establishment of family or individual burial
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plots for deceased family members who have resided on the Hopi
Partitioned Lands; and
(7) neither the Navajo Nation nor the Navajo families
residing upon Hopi Partitioned Lands were parties to or signers
of the Settlement Agreement between the United States and the
SEC. 3. <> DEFINITIONS.
Except as otherwise provided in this Act, for purposes of this Act,
the following definitions shall apply:
(1) Accommodation.–The term “Accommodation” has the
meaning provided that term under the Settlement Agreement.
(2) Hopi partitioned lands.–The term “Hopi Partitioned
Lands” means lands located in the Hopi Partitioned Area, as
defined in section 168.1(g) of title 25, Code of Federal
Regulations (as in effect on the date of enactment of this Act).
(3) Navajo partitioned lands.–The term “Navajo Partitioned
Lands” has the meaning provided that term in the proposed
regulations issued on November 1, 1995, at 60 Fed. Reg. 55506.
(4) New lands.–The term “New Lands” has the meaning
provided that term in section 700.701(b) of title 25, Code of
(5) Secretary.–The term “Secretary” means the Secretary
of the Interior.
(6) Settlement agreement.–The term “Settlement Agreement”
means the agreement between the United States and the Hopi Tribe
executed on December 14, 1995.
(7) Tribe.–The term “Tribe” means the Hopi Tribe.
(8) Newly acquired trust lands.–The term “newly acquired
trust lands” means lands taken into trust for the Tribe within
the State of Arizona pursuant to this Act or the Settlement
SEC. 4. <> RATIFICATION OF SETTLEMENT
The United States approves, ratifies, and confirms the Settlement
SEC. 5. <> CONDITIONS FOR LANDS TAKEN
The Secretary shall take such action as may be necessary to ensure
that the following conditions are met prior to taking lands into trust
for the benefit of the Tribe pursuant to the Settlement Agreement:
(1) Selection of lands taken into trust.–
(A) Primary area.–In accordance with section 7(a)
of the Settlement Agreement, the primary area within
which lands acquired by the Tribe may be taken into
trust by the Secretary for the benefit of the Tribe
under the Settlement Agreement shall be located in
(B) Requirements for lands taken into trust in the
primary area.–Lands taken into trust in the primary
area referred to in subparagraph (A) shall be–
(i) land that is used substantially for
ranching, agriculture, or another similar use; and
(ii) to the extent feasible, in contiguous
(2) Acquisition of lands.–Before taking any land into trust
for the benefit of the Tribe under this section, the Secretary
shall ensure that–
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(A) at least 85 percent of the eligible Navajo heads
of household (as determined under the Settlement
Agreement) have entered into an accommodation or have
chosen to relocate and are eligible for relocation
assistance (as determined under the Settlement
(B) the Tribe has consulted with the State of
Arizona concerning the lands proposed to be placed in
trust, including consulting with the State concerning
the impact of placing those lands into trust on the
State and political subdivisions thereof resulting from
the removal of land from the tax rolls in a manner
consistent with the provisions of part 151 of title 25,
Code of Federal Regulations.
(3) Prohibition.–The Secretary may not, pursuant to the
provisions of this Act and the Settlement Agreement, place
lands, any portion of which are located within or contiguous to
a 5-mile radius of an incorporated town or city (as those terms
are defined by the Secretary) in northern Arizona, into trust
for benefit of the Tribe without specific statutory authority.
(4) Expeditious action by the secretary.–Consistent with
all other provisions of this Act, the Secretary is directed to
take lands into trust under this Act expeditiously and without
SEC. 6. <> ACQUISITION THROUGH
CONDEMNATION OF CERTAIN INTERSPERSED LANDS.
(a) <> In General.–
(1) Action by the secretary.–
(A) In general.–The Secretary shall take action as
specified in subparagraph (B), to the extent that the
Tribe, in accordance with section 7(b) of the Settlement
(i) acquires private lands; and
(ii) requests the Secretary to acquire through
condemnation interspersed lands that are owned by
the State of Arizona and are located within the
exterior boundaries of those private lands in
order to have both the private lands and the State
lands taken into trust by the Secretary for the
benefit of the Tribe.
(B) Acquisition through condemnation.–With respect
to a request for an acquisition of lands through
condemnation made under subparagraph (A), the Secretary
shall, upon the recommendation of the Tribe, take such
action as may be necessary to acquire the lands through
condemnation and, with funds provided by the Tribe, pay
the State of Arizona fair market value for those lands
in accordance with applicable Federal law, if the
conditions described in paragraph (2) are met.
(2) Conditions for acquisition through condemnation.–The
Secretary may acquire lands through condemnation under this
(A) that acquisition is consistent with the purpose
of obtaining not more than 500,000 acres of land to be
taken into trust for the Tribe;
(B) the State of Arizona concurs with the United
States that the acquisition is consistent with the
interests of the State; and
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(C) the Tribe pays for the land acquired through
condemnation under this subsection.
(b) Disposition of Lands.–If the Secretary acquires lands through
condemnation under subsection (a), the Secretary shall take those lands
into trust for the Tribe in accordance with this Act and the Settlement
(c) Private Lands.–The Secretary may not acquire private lands
through condemnation for the purpose specified in subsection (a)(2)(A).
SEC. 7. <> ACTION TO QUIET POSSESSION.
If the United States fails to discharge the obligations specified in
section 9(c) of the Settlement Agreement with respect to voluntary
relocation of Navajos residing on Hopi Partitioned Lands, or section
9(d) of the Settlement Agreement, relating to the implementation of
sections 700.137 through 700.139 of title 25, Code of Federal
Regulations, on the New Lands, including failure for reason of
insufficient funds made available by appropriations or otherwise, the
Tribe may bring an action to quiet possession that relates to the use of
the Hopi Partitioned Lands after February 1, 2000, by a Navajo family
that is eligible for an accommodation, but fails to enter into an
SEC. 8. <> PAYMENT TO STATE OF ARIZONA.
(a) Authorization of Appropriations.–Subject to subsection (b),
there are authorized to be appropriated to the Department of the
Interior $250,000 for fiscal year 1998, to be used by the Secretary of
the Interior for making a payment to the State of Arizona.
(b) Payment.–The Secretary shall make a payment in the amount
specified in subsection (a) to the State of Arizona after an initial
acquisition of land from the State has been made by the Secretary
pursuant to section 6.
SEC. 9. <> 75-YEAR LEASING AUTHORITY.
The first section of the Act of August 9, 1955 (69 Stat. 539,
chapter 615; 25 U.S.C. 415) is amended by adding at the end the
following new subsections:
“(c) Leases Involving the Hopi Tribe and the Hopi Partitioned Lands
Accommodation Agreement.–Notwithstanding subsection (a), a lease of
land by the Hopi Tribe to Navajo Indians on the Hopi Partitioned Lands
may be for a term of 75 years, and may be extended at the conclusion of
the term of the lease.
“(d) Definitions.–For purposes of this section–
“(1) the term `Hopi Partitioned Lands’ means lands located
in the Hopi Partitioned Area, as defined in section 168.1(g) of
title 25, Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on the date
of enactment of this subsection); and
“(2) the term `Navajo Indians’ means members of the Navajo
SEC. 10. <> REAUTHORIZATION OF THE
NAVAJO-HOPI RELOCATION HOUSING PROGRAM.
Section 25(a)(8) of Public Law 93-531 (25 U.S.C. 640d-24(a)(8)) is
amended by striking “1996, and 1997” and inserting “1996, 1997, 1998,
1999, and 2000”.
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SEC. 11. <> EFFECT OF THIS ACT ON CASES
INVOLVING THE NAVAJO NATION AND THE HOPI
Nothing in this Act or the amendments made by this Act shall be
interpreted or deemed to preclude, limit, or endorse, in any manner,
actions by the Navajo Nation that seek, in court, an offset from
judgments for payments received by the Hopi Tribe under the Settlement
SEC. 12. <> WATER RIGHTS.
(a) In General.–
(1) Water rights.–Subject to the other provisions of this
section, newly acquired trust lands shall have only the
following water rights:
(A) The right to the reasonable use of groundwater
pumped from such lands.
(B) All rights to the use of surface water on such
lands existing under State law on the date of
acquisition, with the priority date of such right under
(C) The right to make any further beneficial use on
such lands which is unappropriated on the date each
parcel of newly acquired trust lands is taken into
trust. The priority date for the right shall be the date
the lands are taken into trust.
(2) Rights not subject to forfeiture or abandonment.–The
Tribe’s water rights for newly acquired trust lands shall not be
subject to forfeiture or abandonment arising from events
occurring after the date the lands are taken into trust.
(b) Recognition as valid uses.–
(1) Groundwater.–With respect to water rights associated
with newly acquired trust lands, the Tribe, and the United
States on the Tribe’s behalf, shall recognize as valid all uses
of groundwater which may be made from wells (or their subsequent
replacements) in existence on the date each parcel of newly
acquired trust land is acquired and shall not object to such
groundwater uses on the basis of water rights associated with
the newly acquired trust lands. The Tribe, and the United States
on the Tribe’s behalf, may object only to the impact of
groundwater uses on newly acquired trust lands which are
initiated after the date the lands affected are taken into trust
and only on grounds allowed by the State law as it exists when
the objection is made. The Tribe, and the United States on the
Tribe’s behalf, shall not object to the impact of groundwater
uses on the Tribe’s right to surface water established pursuant
to subsection (a)(3) when those groundwater uses are initiated
before the Tribe initiates its beneficial use of surface water
pursuant to subsection (a)(3).
(2) Surface water.–With respect to water rights associated
with newly acquired trust lands, the Tribe, and the United
States on the Tribe’s behalf, shall recognize as valid all uses
of surface water in existence on or prior to the date each
parcel of newly acquired trust land is acquired and shall not
object to such surface water uses on the basis of water rights
associated with the newly acquired trust lands, but shall have
the right to enforce the priority of its rights against all
junior water rights the exercise of which interfere with the
actual use of the Tribe’s senior surface water rights.
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(3) Rule of construction.–Nothing in paragraph (1) or (2)
shall preclude the Tribe, or the United States on the Tribe’s
behalf, from asserting objections to water rights and uses on
the basis of the Tribe’s water rights on its currently existing
(c) Applicability of State Law on Lands Other Than Newly Acquired
Lands.–The Tribe, and the United States on the Tribe’s behalf, further
recognize that State law applies to water uses on lands, including
subsurface estates, that exist within the exterior boundaries of newly
acquired trust lands and that are owned by any party other than the
(d) Adjudication of Water Rights on Newly Acquired Trust Lands.–The
Tribe’s water rights on newly acquired trust lands shall be adjudicated
with the rights of all other competing users in the court now presiding
over the Little Colorado River Adjudication, or if that court no longer
has jurisdiction, in the appropriate State or Federal court. Any
controversies between or among users arising under Federal or State law
involving the Tribe’s water rights on newly acquired trust lands shall
be resolved in the court now presiding over the Little Colorado River
Adjudication, or, if that court no longer has jurisdiction, in the
appropriate State or Federal court. Nothing in this subsection shall be
construed to affect any court’s jurisdiction: Provided, That the Tribe
shall administer all water rights established in subsection (a).
(e) Prohibition.–Water rights for newly acquired trust lands shall
not be used, leased, sold, or transported for use off of such lands or
the Tribe’s other trust lands: Provided, That the Tribe may agree with
other persons having junior water rights to subordinate the Tribe’s
senior water rights. Water rights for newly acquired trust lands can
only be used on those lands or other trust lands of the Tribe located
within the same river basin tributary to the main stream of the Colorado
(f) Subsurface Interests.–On any newly acquired trust lands where
the subsurface interest is owned by any party other than the Tribe, the
trust status of the surface ownership shall not impair any existing
right of the subsurface owner to develop the subsurface interest and to
have access to the surface for the purpose of such development.
(g) Statutory Construction with Respect to Water Rights of Other
Federally Recognized Indian Tribes.–Nothing in this section shall
affect the water rights of any other federally recognized Indian tribe
with a priority date earlier than the date the newly acquired trust
lands are taken into trust.
(h) Statutory Construction.–Nothing in this section shall be
construed to determine the law applicable to water use on lands owned by
the United States, other than on the newly acquired trust lands. The
granting of the right to make beneficial use of unappropriated surface
water on the newly acquired trust lands with a priority date such lands
are taken into trust shall not be construed to imply that such right is
a Federal reserved water
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right. Nothing in this section or any other provision of this Act shall
be construed to establish any Federal reserved right to groundwater.
Authority for the Secretary to take land into trust for the Tribe
pursuant to the Settlement Agreement and this Act shall be construed as
having been provided solely by the provisions of this Act.
Approved October 11, 1996.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY–S. 1973:
SENATE REPORTS: No. 104-363 (Comm. on Indian Affairs).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 142 (1996):
Sept. 26, considered and passed Senate.
Sept. 28, considered and passed House.