In this Book

Navajo Sovereignty
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

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Half Title, Series Page, Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Foreword
  2. Jennifer Denetdale
  3. pp. vii-x
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 3-16
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  1. Law
  1. Diné Sovereignty, a Legal and Traditional Analysis
  2. Raymond D. Austin
  3. pp. 19-42
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  1. Sovereignty from the Individual Diné Experience
  2. Bidtah Nellie Becker
  3. pp. 43-54
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  1. Education
  1. The Path of Navajo Sovereignty in Traditional Education: Harmony, Disruption, Distress, and Restoration of Harmon
  2. Manley A. Begay Jr.
  3. pp. 57-90
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  1. I Am Your Nali
  2. Leola Tsinnajinnie
  3. pp. 91-100
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  1. Research
  1. Diné Principles of Good Governance
  2. Avery Denny, Michael Lerma
  3. pp. 103-129
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  1. Empowered Sovereignty for Navajo Chapters Through Engagement in a Community-Planning Process
  2. Michelle Hale
  3. pp. 130-136
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  1. Creativity and Vision
  1. Navajo Sovereignty Through the Lens of Creativity, Imagination, and Vision
  2. Colleen Gorman
  3. pp. 139-159
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  1. Diné Sovereign Action: Rejecting Colonial Sovereignty and Invoking Diné Peacemaking
  2. Larry W. Emerson
  3. pp. 160-178
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  1. References
  2. pp. 179-192
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 193-196
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 197-206
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