Friday, July 10, 2020

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Article Index

III. THE TRIBES: BACKGROUND INFORMATION

A. The Navajo Nation

      The Navajo Nation is the homeland of the Dine, or Navajo people, one of the largest tribes in the United States. The Navajo Nation extends over 27,000 square miles, spreading across three states--the southeastern part of Utah, northeastern portion of Arizona, and northwestern area of New Mexico. The Navajo reservation was established as a sovereign territory by the Navajo Treaty of 1868 (including amendments made between 1878 and 1930) between the tribe and the United States government. The Navajo nation had long had its own form of government, but the discovery of oil and other natural resources on the Navajo reservation in the early part of the twentieth century necessitated the establishment of a more formal and structured form of tribal governance. As early as 1923, a formal governmental structure recognized by the United States had been instituted by the tribe to deal with the fast expanding quests of business entities, including oil and mining companies seeking to lease Navajo lands for natural resources exploration projects. Today, natural resources such as coal have turned out to be a substantial source of revenue for the tribe, creating millions of dollars in income.

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