Navajo Nation secures Goulding’s Lodge

by David Boyle
News Director
Navajo Nation officials celebrated the tribe’s purchase of Goulding’s Monument Valley Lodge and Tours with a grand opening on June 14.
The purchase comes as the property celebrates 100 years in business.
Members of the 25th Navajo Nation Council approved a $59.5 million purchase of Goulding’s on October 17, 2023, with Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren signing the resolution on October 31.
Monument Valley is located within the Oljato chapter of the Navajo Nation. Chapter officials passed a resolution in support of the purchase as well.
Following due process, the purchase of the 670-acre property and assets was finalized and celebrated this past weekend at a rainy event at the Goulding property.
Navajo Nation Council Delegate Herman Daniels Jr. represents the Oljato chapter along with Navajo Mountain, Shonto and Tsah Bii Kin.
Daniels Jr. sponsored the legislation to use principal from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to purchase the lodge and properties. Speaking at the ceremony he thanked tribal leadership and departments that worked together to make the purchase happen.
“This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity that has the potential to expand the assets included in the property,” said Daniels Jr.
The 670-acre property includes the lodge, tour business, RV campground, rental cabins, a gas station and convenience store, grocery store and airstrip.
The more than 300 employees working within Goulding’s will keep their jobs, management and operation of the lodge is now under the control of the Navajo Nation Hospitality Enterprise. The enterprise has agreed to a profit-sharing plan that officials project will provide profits and taxes of $7.4 million annually to the nation.
A presentation in July 2023 by an Arizona-based Hospitality Group to the Navajo Nation Council outlined an annual return of $7.4 million.
The Navajo Nation Return on Investment includes $3.5 million annually in profit-sharing income, $1,468,000 in expansion sinking fund, the required fund’s purpose is for the expansion of the asset including used to build new facilities, and the tax benefit of $2,443,960 annually.
The $2.4 million in tax benefits will come from changing the tax authority from the state of Utah to the Navajo Nation or putting the land in trust.
Among those speaking at the ceremony was Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren
“We have a lot of culture, history, land knowledge, and artistry that we share with the world, We now have the opportunity to provide an authentic experience, educate our welcomed visitors, and provide growth, viable and local opportunities for our communities.”
In an official statement, Nygren shared that the projected annual revenue from the property will range from $22 to $31 million.
Nygren says the revenue will support Navajo programs, businesses, services, and the overall economy in the area, as well as strengthen the lives of local Navajo.
Nygren also outlined that the purchase can consolidate holdings near Oljato to provide a land base for housing, recreation, community, and economic development needs.
“This is a day we’ve been waiting for,” said Nygren. “It’s an example of legislative and executive branch collaboration and demonstration of how business should be done.”
Also speaking at the event was the Speaker of the Navajo Nation Crystalyne Curley. Curley said the Goulding’s purchase strengthens the Nation’s ability to reclaim valuable properties while underscoring its capability to manage and operate these developments.
“Many of our young ones look to our leadership and ask when the Nation will reclaim what truly belongs to it,” Speaker Curley said. “Our children are waiting for these opportunities. Hopefully in the next 30 years this lodge will grow into a resort. I thank my colleagues for having this vision to give back to our Nation.”
In a statement Council Delegate Otto Tso said that the grand opening of the property under the ownership, management, and operation of the Navajo Nation has given many employees and residents a sense of hopefulness. “We’re providing them with opportunity, and we need to continue to build on this,” Delegate Tso said.
The 25th Navajo Nation Council thanks the Goulding Family, the LaFont Family, the Office of the President and Vice President, Navajo Division of Economic Development, Navajo Nation Hospitality Enterprise, and the Navajo Division of Natural Resources for the successful purchase of the Goulding’s Monument Valley Lodge and Tours.

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