Navajo Sovereignty: Understandings and Visions of the Dine People

Navajo Sovereignty: Understandings and Visions of the Dine People


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Navajo Sovereignty: Understandings and Visions of the Dine People by Lloyd L. Lee

The last few decades have given rise to an electrifying movement of Native American activism, scholarship, and creative work challenging five hundred years of U.S. colonization of Native lands. Indigenous communities are envisioning and building their nations and are making decolonial strides toward regaining power from colonial forces.

The Navajo Nation is among the many Native nations in the United States pushing back. In this new book, Diné author Lloyd L. Lee asks fellow Navajo scholars, writers, and community members to envision sovereignty for the Navajo Nation. He asks, (1) what is Navajo sovereignty, (2) how do various Navajo institutions exercise sovereignty, (3) what challenges does Navajo sovereignty face in the coming generations, and (4) how did individual Diné envision sovereignty?

Contributors expand from the questions Lee lays before them to touch on how Navajo sovereignty is understood in Western law, how various institutions of the Navajo Nation exercise sovereignty, what challenges it faces in coming generations, and how individual Diné envision power, authority, and autonomy for the people.

A companion to Diné Perspectives: Revitalizing and Reclaiming Navajo Thought, each chapter offers the contributors’ individual perspectives. The book, which is organized into four parts, discusses Western law’s view of Diné sovereignty, research, activism, creativity, and community, and Navajo sovereignty in traditional education. Above all, Lee and the contributing scholars and community members call for the rethinking of Navajo sovereignty in a way more rooted in Navajo beliefs, culture, and values.


Raymond D. Austin

Bidtah N. Becker

Manley A. Begay, Jr.

Avery Denny

Larry W. Emerson

Colleen Gorman

Michelle L. Hale

Michael Lerma

Leola Tsinnajinnie

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780816534081
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
Publication date: 04/11/2017
Series: Critical Issues in Indigenous Studies Series
Pages: 216
Sales rank: 805,599
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Lloyd L. Lee is a citizen of the Navajo Nation. He is an associate professor of Native American studies at the University of New Mexico. He is the author of Diné Masculinities: Conceptualizations and Reflections and editor of Diné Perspectives: Reclaiming and Revitalizing Navajo Thought. He is the former director of the Institute for American Indian Research (IFAIR) and on the American Indian Studies Association council.

Table of Contents

Foreword Jennifer Denetdale vii

Introduction 3


Diné Sovereignty, a Legal and Traditional Analysis Justice Raymond D. Austin 19

Sovereignty from the Individual Diné Experience Bidtah Nellie Becker 43


The Path of Navajo Sovereignty in Traditional Education: Harmony, Disruption, Distress, and Restoration of Harmony Manley A. Begay Jr. 57

I Am Your Nali Leola Tsinnajinnie 91


Diné Principles of Good Governance Avery Denny Michael Lerma 103

Empowered Sovereignty for Navajo Chapters Through Engagement in a Community-Planning Process Michelle Hale 130

Creativity and Vision

Navajo Sovereignty Through the Lens of Creativity, Imagination, and Vision Colleen Gorman 139

Diné Sovereign Action: Rejecting Colonial Sovereignty and invoking Diné Peacemaking Larry w. Emerson 160

References 179

Contributors 193

Index 197

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