KAYENTA, Arizona – The Navajo Nation capital might not necessarily think it is in its best interest to bring public hearings to Kayenta, Arizona to see if the town is interested in opening up a Walmart Shopping center, but a very recent October 20, 2011 Navajo Times article “Leaders look at Walmart as a possible rez project” by Bill Donovan notes that Kayenta and Chinle, Arizona are cited as major development areas for the retail giant to come to Navajo lands!
In another study about the possibility of Wal-Mart on Navajo lands includes Alastair Bitsoi, a college intern working for the Dine Policy Institute at Dine College writes in his study “Wal-Mart Position Paper: Wal-Mart is Good for the Navajo Nation?” that the Navajo Nation needs to pay very close attention and make wise decisions when considering a Walmart to be located at either Kayenta, Tuba City, or Chinle, Arizona. The venture, he writes, will include “building a culturally appropriate Wal-Mart for Navajo citizens.”
The Kayenta Today and Kayenta Township Commission would like to hear from the community and its readers: Why is a Wal-Mart in Kayenta, Arizona the most culturally appropriate place to develop the shopping center?
Furthermore, Alastair writes, “By establishing a Wal-Mart on the Navajo Nation, the Navajo Nation is attempting to reverse the trend of money flowing out by maintaining the revenue within the Navajo Nation.” According to a study of economic trends that impede economic development on the Navajo reservation, a 2004 study says 71% percent of money earned on the Navajo Nation is spent outside of the reservation, about $1,067,568,880.
Should the proposed Wal-Mart be a 44,000 square feet neighborhood market? Or, do we go all out with a Wal-Mart Supercenter which normally takes up 160,000 to 240,000 square feet?
The Dine Policy Institute study goes so far as to say that Wal-Mart will “help, in part, with the Navajo Nation’s infrastructure in improved roads and sewer systems, tourism, and develop healthy private sector economy.”
Is the sky really the limit if Kayenta brings in Wal-Mart to its community? This is a question only the people who go to shop elsewhere can answer. How can the money that is earned in Kayenta, stay in Kayenta?