Navajos & US Government
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Navajos & US Government

Navajos & US Government
In 1974, Congress settled a 16-year lawsuit between the Navajo and Hopi nations over which tribe owned nearly 1.8 million acres of land long shared by both groups. The federal government apportioned the contested land and ordered members of each tribe to leave what was now considered the other tribe’s land. The vast majority of those relocated were Navajos deemed to be living on Hopi land. . . .The largest concentration of relocatees —about 400 families—moved to an area in northeastern Arizona they called the New Lands [in 1985].
–from “Contested Homeland,”

1851
The U.S. Army establishes Ft. Defiance in Arizona to combat Native American tribes, including the Navajos.

1863 and 1864
The Long Walk of the Navajo, also called the Long Walk to Bosque Redondo, was an Indian removal effort of the United States government

1868
Navajos are released from a prison camp in New Mexico after signing a peace treaty with the United States. The government creates a reservation for Navajos along the New Mexico-Arizona border. But as the Navajo population grows, Hopis complain of Navajo encroachment onto their land.

1882
President Chester Arthur designates 2.5 million acres in northern Arizona for the Hopi Tribe and “such other Indians as the Secretary of the Interior may see fit to settle thereon.” This area becomes known as the 1882 Executive Order Area, which is shared by Hopis and Navajos.

1934
The U.S. government expands the Navajo reservation border to include land that the Hopis claim is rightfully theirs. Hopis are only given exclusive use to part of the 1882 Executive Order Area known as District 6.

1958
Hopis file a lawsuit to determine which tribe has legal rights to the 1882 Executive Order Area.

1962
A federal court rules that Hopis and Navajos have “joint, undivided and equal rights” to the Executive Order Area, except for the area known as District 6.

1972
A federal court orders Navajos to drastically reduce the number of livestock kept on the Joint Use Area. A construction freeze is imposed that prevents Navajos from improving their homes or property in any way without approval of the Hopi Tribe.

1974
Congress passes the Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act to “provide for final settlement” of the land conflict by partitioning the disputed area. People living on the wrong side of the new border are told they will have to move.
1985
The federal government buys 352,000 acres of private ranch land near Sanders, Ariz., to create communities for relocatees. This area becomes known as the New Lands.

1988
Nahata Dziil Chapter is formed in the New Lands. Families begin moving from the disputed areas to Nahata Dziil.