Navajos sign loan for judicial buildings

Window Rock, Arizona (AP) July 2010

Navajo Nation officials have signed documents for a $60 million loan that will pay for the construction of new tribal courts, jails and other public safety buildings in Arizona and New Mexico.

Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr. and the tribe’s controller, Mark Grant, traveled to California during late June to sign the loan documents from KeyBank. The signing comes six years after discussions first began.

Shirley’s office says the loan is considered the first major institutional financing deal governed exclusively by tribal laws and subject to tribal jurisdiction in recognition of Navajo sovereignty.

KeyBank has agreed that any disputes arising from the agreement will be heard in Navajo court.

Shirley says the judicial and public safety improvements will help the tribe reduce its crime rate.