Any examination of Navajo history will undoubtedly get around to the Navajo Hopi land disputes at some point. This is a fascinating piece of history. It provides a profoundly intriguing glimpse into two Native American groups, the issues that arose between them, and the ongoing status of their relationship in this day and age.
Navajo Hopi Land Dispute History
The complexities of these land disputes are such that any true desire to have a complete understanding of this significant chapter in recorded history will involve a very serious, in-depth academic undertaking. However, there are some basic facts that can allow an individual to have at least a basic comprehension of this information:
1. The Navajo and Hopi peoples have been living in reasonably close distance to one another in northeast Arizona for the whole of recorded history.
2. It is believed that the Navajo and Hopi peoples probably lived close to one another before the arrival of the first Europeans.
3. Much of the 19th and 20th century were filled with animosity between the Navajo and Hopi peoples regarding various land issues.
4. While the Hopi population has been known throughout history for maintaining centralized locations, the Navajo people preferred to move around the land.
5. As the Navajo began using more and more land, the disputes between themselves and the Hopi peoples began to arise.
6. The first dispute began in 1820. At this point, the Navajo people were expanding their territory to the point where the Hopi people began to feel that their land entitlements were being threatened.
7. As the 1800s moved along, the Hopi peoples became increasingly agitated with the Navajo peoples’ encroachment of land the Hopi had been utilizing for centuries.
8. The Hopi peoples continued to protest, taking the Navajo peoples to court several times over the course of many years.
9. The BIA finally set about dividing the 1882 reservation into eighteen land management districts. One was set aside for exclusive Hopi use, while the others were designed to be shared in cooperation between the Hopi and the Navajo.
10. Unfortunately, this did not accomplish very much. Disputes and legal battles continued for decades.
11. The dispute culminated with the 1996 Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute Settlement Act. This was designed to settle the matter for good, but some even disputed that.
12. The second land dispute associated with the Navajo and Hopi concerned the Hopi trying to obtain rights to land associated with the Navajo peoples. The case was filed in 1934 and settled in 1992.