Native American Indian protest march. Gallup New Mexico.

A protest in Gallup New Mexico

Native American Indian protest march. Gallup New Mexico.

Protesters, Gallup New Mexico

Traditional Navajo women watch a protest in Gallup New Mexico.


The Hopi Navajo land dispute had its roots in the 1800‘s when the Hopi Indian tribe of Northern Arizona found the land around its villages completely surrounded by the expanding, much larger Navajo tribe.

The Hopi petitioned the government for relief, and in 1882 President Chester A. Arthur ordered a 2.5-million-acre area be created for the Hopi and “such other Indians as the Secretary of the Interior may see fit to settle thereon.” The Navajo continued to use the land, and for nearly a century the Hopi repeatedly protested their case to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the courts. (see Leica Stories in the menu above for more).

In 1974 the U.S. Congress finally took action, some believe because of a need to clarify who could sign for coal mining rights in the area. They passed the Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act partitioning the Joint Use land into Hopi Partitioned Lands (HPL) and Navajo Partitioned Lands (NPL). Hopis were ordered to move from NPL lands and Navajos to move from HPL lands. 10,000 Navajos were eventually relocated vs about 100 Hopis.

See Leica Stories in the menu above for the full story.

Hopi cowboy, Willie Coin, tends his herd on Joint Use land.

Navajo Apache woman. Hopi-Navajo joint use land. Arizona.

Apache/Navajo woman at her family ranch. Arizona.