Is Anybody Listening?
Authors: Charles Luckmann
Disciplines: Anthropology, History, Native American Studies, Political Science and Public Administration
Themes: Activism, Cultural Preservation, Economic Development, Energy, Federal and State Relations and Policy, Law and Justice, Treaty Rights and Sovereignty, Tribal Governance
By relocating 15,000 Navajos, did the Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act, Public Law 93-531, violate the civil rights of Navajos living on the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona? This case examines the law’s purpose, legal and historical antecedents, and alleged connections to mineral interests coveting the resources on Black Mesa. The case examines the lived experiences and cultures of the Navajos and Hopis affected by P.L. 93-531. It also examines the role the federal government, lawyers, and mineral interests played in precipitating the crisis. The case highlights those Navajos resisting the law. It examines their appeals to the U.S. judiciary for protection of their civil and religious freedoms, and why these appeals failed. The case is an example of how Western-based property law has undermined traditional Native American practices of collaboration and consensus.