The Grand Canon Escalade project supports developing a strong local economy to bring back displaced workers and families. The Escalade project supports Navajo sovereignty by helping develop a strong and diversified economy while developing skills and creating opportunities for its young workforce. The project is currently working with Navajo business and community leaders to build support from the “inside-out” as opposed to “outside-in,” which has been the strategy of the Federal Government and outside interest groups.
The Federal Government has a long history of removing and relocating Native Americans from their traditional home lands. Removal and relocation has resulted in the lost of their connection to the land, their language and culture. This erosion of Native American identity has resulted in an epidemic of social ills throughout Indian Country in the form of alcoholism, depression, suicide, poverty, and unemployment. The Former Bennett Freeze Area and Navajo-Hopi Relocation is an example of such policies that resulted in family displacement.
The Navajo Nation has suffered from such federal removal and policies and although it is much less apparent, Navajo people are still being forced to move away from their traditional homelands in search of economic opportunity. Non-Navajo interest groups, such as SAVE THE CONFLUENCE, actively suppress the sovereign power of the Navajo Nation to practice self-determination and develop a diversified economy that includes resource development, cultural tourism, and even traditional means of raising livestock.
Save the Confluence and Grand Canyon Trust are said to have paid people to protest the development of the Escalade project and the continued development of oil and coal resources on the Navajo Nation. There are also rumors of Navajo leadership taking money to take a stance against such developments and work against their own people. These actions undermine the sovereignty of the Navajo Nation to decide what is in the best interest of its people.