Published December 20, 2015
Four decades after Congress passed a law forcing the relocation of two Native American tribes, some families have yet to receive the government benefits they were promised in exchange for leaving their homes.
The protracted relocation effort has cost U.S. taxpayers $564 million so far, with as much as $82 million left to go before the special government office established to oversee the process can shut its doors for good, according to the Department of Interior inspector general.
Congress passed the Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act in 1974, but efforts to relocate Navajo families living on Hopi land are still underway. That law had placed a five-year time limit on the relocation process once a plan was formulated, which didn’t happen until 1981, the report said.
The specially-created government body tasked with approving requests for relocation benefits, now called the Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation, should have finished by 1986, but 28 years later, it is still determining whether applicants are eligible.