Tribal Government

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Navajo Tribal Government

 

Window Rock, Arizona is home to the Navajo Tribal Government.

The Navajo  Tribe is governed by a Tribal Council, composed of 88 elected members, and presided over by an elected Tribal President and Vice-President.  Elections are held every four years, in November.

The Navajo reservation is divided up into districts called "chapters."  Each chapter represent approximately 2000 Navajo people, though the size and location of each chapter varies, depending upon the geographic limitations of the people and the local population.

Each small community has a "chapter house" which is very similar in function to that of the old town hall in early American history.  On pre-determined dates each month, the local people meet at the chapter house to discuss matters pertaining to their communities.  The elected chapter delegate travels periodically to Window Rock to sit on the parliamentary-styled council to speak for his/her people.

The powers of the Navajo Nation Tribal Council, as a recognized instrument of Tribal government, stem from those sovereign rights which reside in Indian tribes by virtue of treaty and provision of the United States Congress.

The Tribal seal (shown above) is representative of the spirit and history of the Navajo Nation.  The 48 projectile points symbolize the Tribe's protection within the 48 states comprising the United States (the seal was adopted in 1952, before Hawaii and Alaska became the forty-eighth and forty-ninth states).

Three concentric circles (blue, yellow, and red--from outside to inside) represent the rainbow.  The rainbow symbolizes Navajo sovereignty, and the opening at the top (east) symbolizes that the rainbow should never close on the Tribe's sovereign immunity.

Inside the rainbow, the yellow sun shines from the east on the four sacred mountains of the Navajo, located in their cardinal points, each representing a god of the native religion.  The east mountain is white (White Shell Woman), the south is blue (Turquoise Woman), the west is yellow (Abalone Woman), and the north is black (Jet Woman).

Two green corn plants, symbolic of the sustainer of Navajo life, decorate the bottom of the seal.

In the center of the seal is the sheep, cow, and horse, which represent the livestock-based economy of the Tribe.

The Navajo people are very proud of their autonomous position in the United States.  No other Indian tribe has gained the prestige or grown in land and population as have the Navajo.

The Tribe also operates the Navajo Police Force, Department of Forestry and Resources, and a full service Indian Health Service which provides free health care to any person with a census card from any tribe.

The census is taken every ten years, and in order to qualify, the person must be living on the reservation and at be at least 50 percent Navajo by birth.


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