SHIPROCK — Navajo Nation Attorney General Harrison Tsosie is fighting a recently proposed bill that seeks his removal.

Tsosie sent out a statement Monday, denouncing the efforts of several Navajo Nation Council delegates who are asking that Tsosie be removed from his position.

The bill proposing the action is circulating through committees, but it is expected to go before the Navajo Nation Council during the spring session this week.

"There is no legitimate reason for this removal action. I have not received any letters of concern or been involved in any meetings to talk things out," Tsosie wrote. "This legislation was submitted into the legislative process without any concern of Due Process."

Council Delegate Dwight Witherspoon sponsored the bill with the support of several delegates.

The delegates are concerned about Tsosie's counsel regarding the tribe's dealings with water rights and with the possible purchase of the Navajo Mine and lease extension for the Navajo Generating Station, according to The Associated Press.

"If anything, this will send him that message that he is easily replaceable," Delegate Joshua Lavar Butler told the Associated Press.

Butler said that Tsosie was the main reason the tribe decided to spend $3 million to do a study on the Navajo Mine. Most of the delegates were under the impression that the Navajo Department of Justice could have done a more affordable study.


Delegate Kenneth Maryboy said Tsosie was out of touch with the tribe and was a poor legal advisor to the Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly, according to the Associated Press.

Whether the delegates have the power to remove Tsosie, however, is up for debate.

In the bill, Witherspoon noted that the "attorney general and deputy attorney general shall serve at the pleasure of the Navajo Nation Council," according to tribal law.

So, while the delegates are arguing that the attorney general is not serving at the pleasure of the council, Tsosie argues that the wording is vague and no protocol exists for the removal of the attorney general.

"There is no specific process in place," Tsosie said in a phone interview Tuesday.

With the change of the council's structure in 2009 from an 88-member council to an 24-member council, Tsosie feels that the process should be addressed again. Many other governmental processes already have been addressed.

The delegates have discussed using a half-quorum vote, which would only require seven votes, and Tsosie does not see as enough votes for his removal. He thinks more votes should be required.

"If there is no protection for the attorney general, any time he makes a decision that is not favorable with the legislative branch, they can remove him at any time," Tsosie said.

In the event that Tsosie is removed by the council, Deputy Attorney General Dana Bobroff would replace him. Tsosie has served in his position since 2011, as has Bobroff in his.

Jenny Kane can be reached at; 505-564-4636. Follow her on Twitter