Timeline of Navajo History


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The History of the Navajo Timeline Menu:

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The Timeline of Navajo History


Brief Description of Event that Occurred on this Date

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During the 1850's and 1860's the U.S. Army built Fort Defiance within the heart of the DinČ country. The horses, mules and cattle raised by the whites competed with the Indians' sheep for scarce grazing lands. When the Navajo complained of this, the commandant of the fort sent soldiers who slaughtered large numbers of the Indians' livestock. In response to this complaint in 1860 the Navajos attacked and nearly destroyed Fort Defiance. For several years there were repeated skirmishes between the Indians and the U.S. Army at Fort Defiance; finally, the Fort was abandoned only because troops were needed to participate in the Civil War. The Army returned in 1863 and General Carleton, Commandant of the Military Department of New Mexico ordered Kit Carson to move the DinČ from their homes to a reservation that he had created in the plains of eastern New Mexico, Bosque Redondo. Carson carried out the orders by slaughtering men, women and children, destroying livestock and burning their crops. One of the final and bloodier battles took place in the Canyon de Chelly. When the DinČ finally surrendered they were forced to walk from their homelands to their new place of residence several hundred miles away. This came to me known as The Long Walk.


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United States enters into a peace treaty with the Navajo Tribe granting it a 3.5 million acre reservation.


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Executive Order establishes a 2.4 million acre reservation for use and occupancy by the Hopi "and such other Indians as the Secretary of the Interior may see fit to settle thereon."


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Legislation adds certain lands and defines the boundaries of the Navajo reservation in Arizona.


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District Six, a 499,258-acre area within the 1882 reservation is recognized as encompassing all of the lands exclusively occupied by the Hopi.


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District Six is expanded to 631,194 acres; Navajo families are forced to move and never compensated or provided replacement homes.font>


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Congress authorizes Navajo and Hopi tribal councils to participate in a lawsuit to determine their respective rights and interests.


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Healing vs Jones: Court rules that the Hopi Tribe has exclusive title to District Six and both Tribes have joint, equal and undivided rights to 1.8 million acres of 1882 Reservation outside of District Six.


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Commissioner of Indian Affairs Robert Bennett issues a series of administrative instructions restricting any development in the 1934 Act reservation. This becomes known as the Bennett Freeze.


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United States vs. Kabinto: More than 50 Navajo families are evicted from District Six without relocation assistance.


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Congress authorizes partition of the surface rights in the Joint Use Area. Relocation Commission is established and given responsibility to move those Indian families living on the wrong side of the partition line.


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After federal mediator submits recommendations, tribes are unable to agree on partitioning of the Joint Use Area. Navajo efforts to select relocation lands are blocked by non-Indian ranchers and the Interior Department.


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Hopis accept $5 million from the U.S. for aboriginal land claims with respect to Hopi lands outside District Six.


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P.L. 96-305 authorizes Navajo selection of new lands and provides for life estates to certain applicants otherwise required to relocate.


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President Reagan designates former Interior Secretary William Clark as his personal representative to encourage the tribes to settle the dispute. After seven months, Clark determines it unlikely the tribes can negotiate a settlement because the Hopi Tribe is unwilling to negotiate. P.L. 99-190 give the BIA authority to construct relocation houses on ranch lands acquired pursuant to P.L. 96-305.


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July 6 deadline for relocation of Navajos from Hopi Joint Use Area Land passes; approximately one-half of the Navajos certified for voluntary relocation benefits are not relocated.


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Obligations and funding for home construction by the BIA pursuant to P.L. 99-190 are transferred to new Commissioner of the Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation pursuant to P.L. 100-666 (1988 Ammendments).


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Secretary of Interior Lujan imposes a new policy that no relocation benefits shall be provided to Navajos who have voluntarily left the Hopi-Partitioned lands (HPL) until all eligible Navajos currently residing on HPL have been resettled.

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