Trial reset for Navajo ranchers facing eviction

Crownpoint, New Mexico (AP) January 2011

The trial for two longtime Navajo Nation ranchers facing eviction has been reset to Jan. 28.

The case was to go to trial last week, but the judge was unavailable.

Loretta and Raymond Morris lost out in a new bidding process for a ranch lease last year, and the tribal government is seeking a court order to evict them.

The tribe says the Morrises have refused to vacate the land just north of Crownpoint that they’ve leased for more than 40 years.

The Morrises’ attorney, James Zion, says the ranch program lacked clear standards for assessing bids. He also says ranchers were denied due process because they weren’t allowed to inspect the bid documents or protest the awards.

Other ranchers have threatened to sue over the loss of their leases.