Editorial: Hopi Tribe and Navajo Nation settle dispute

"A historic agreement between the Hopi and Navajo tribes will end a land dispute in northeastern Arizona that has dragged on for decades.

How big of a deal is this? U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne flew to Phoenix for the signing ceremony Friday at the Heard Museum.

The agreement, which gives Hopis and Navajos access to each other's land for religious reasons, solves the remaining issue in a lawsuit that was filed in 1974.

The Hopis had asserted claims to half of 7 million acres that Congress allotted to the Navajo Nation in 1934. A 1992 District Court decision ruled that the Hopis were entitled to 62,000 acres. But access to religious sites on the remaining area remained an issue.

One final legal step lies ahead: approval by the U.S. District Court in Phoenix.

Then the 40-year-old "Bennett Freeze," which left thousands of Navajos without electricity or running water, will finally thaw. The freeze, which went into effect even before the lawsuit, prohibited any development in the disputed western area of the Navajo reservation: It currently covers 700,000 acres.

This will resolve the second of two major Navajo-Hopi battles over land in Arizona. In the other, highly publicized case, the land was partitioned and people were relocated."

Get the Story:
Editorial: A long journey ends well (The Arizona Republic 11/6)

Senate Bill:
Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Amendments of 2005 (S.1003)

Relevant Documents:
Hearing Before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on S. 1003, Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Amendments of 2005 (July 20, 2005)

Relevant Links:
Hopi Tribe - http://www.hopi.nsn.us
Navajo Nation - http://www.navajo.org
Black Mesa Indigenous Support, Navajo family support site - http://www.blackmesais.org

Related Stories:
Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe to sign agreement (11/3)
Hopi Tribe approves agreement with Navajo Nation (10/13)
Navajo president signs Hopi land agreement (10/2)
Navajo-Hopi land agreement moves forward (9/27)
Navajo-Hopi land agreement up for review (9/26)
Deal to settle Navajo-Hopi dispute rejected (08/24)
Deal reportedly near on Hopi-Navajo dispute (8/18)
Navajo Nation moves to fight land dispute bill (07/27)
Navajo-Hopi land conflict still stirs hard feelings (07/07)
Hopis, Navajos divided over land dispute measure (06/23)
Listening Lounge: Hearing on Navajo-Hopi land act (6/21)
House Resources hearing on Navajo-Hopi land bill (6/20)
Navajo woman refuses to leave home on Hopi land (02/06)
McCain prods tribes, government on tribal land dispute (07/22)
Senate hearing on Navajo-Hopi land settlement bill (7/21)
Navajos oppose McCain bill on Navajo-Hopi settlement (7/15)