Shawn Redd
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What must a business do in order to transact with the Navajo Nation?

In order to transact business with the Navajo Nation, a business must meet certain criteria established by both the Navajo Nation itself and the federal government. The government of the United States requires that anyone who does business with any Native American organization adhere to certain standards such as ensuring that the company complies with all federal wage and hour regulations, hiring protocols and other rules. In addition, the Navajo Nation itself has certain rules about who it will do business with. Learn them here:

In general, the Navajo Nation prefers to do business with owners who are at least part Navajo themselves, but the group often does business with outside companies when it will strengthen the nation in general and provide needed services and assistance for the Navajo people ( ). Business owners who want to do business with the tribal people should contact the Navajo Nation directly for information on how to go about becoming an approved provider of any type of service or goods.

What is the Navajo Nation?

The Navajo Nation is a group of tribal peoples as well as a form of government that extends throughout Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. The land is called Diné Bikéyah, or Navajoland in the native tongue and covers more than 27,000 square miles, more land than in 10 of the 50 states in the United States. The government of the Navajo Nation ( ) offers guidance and support as well as protection for more than 250,000 people.

There are 110 Navajo Nation chapters represented by 88 council delegates that meet to discuss critical topics as well as to enact rules and legislation for governing the Navajo people across the entire nation. The system consists of three branches: executive, legislative and judicial. The Navajo Nation also has its own flag which was designed by Jay R. Degroat and selected from over 140 entries to represent the nation. It was officially adopted on May 21, 1968. Read more here:

How do people become members of the Navajo Nation?

In order to be a member of the Navajo Nation, a person must prove that he or she has the requisite lineage to be considered at least one-quarter Navajo. This can be shown by blood quantum proof, which means that the person must show that at least one grandparent was full-blooded Navajo, that they belong to one of four Diné clans, or that they have received a Certificate of Indian Blood or CIB from the Bureau of Indian Affairs ( ).

There is no elective way to become a member of the nation, nor can someone be nominated to the tribe for exemplary service or other reasons. In order to be a Navajo Nation member, the blood quantum requirement must be met. As of 2011, there were 300,048 members of the Navajo Nation, and in 2000 about 174,000 of them lived on the Navajo Nation's territory. There have also been moves to change the blood quantum requirement to one-eighth, which would effectively double the size of the Navajo Nation. See their photos here:

How large is the Navajo Nation?

Current demographics show that there are at least 300,000 living people in the United States who meet the blood quantum requirements for membership in the Navajo Nation. However, just over half of these, about 174,000, live on Navajo Nation land ( ), with the remainder scattered throughout the country. The Navajo Nation is considered one of the largest tribal governments of any of the American Indian tribes, and is one of the best organized.

The Navajo Nation includes a judicial system as well as a legislative branch and executive office. Its large social service divisions and law enforcement group as well as the presence of its own college separate it from many of the smaller tribal nations and set it apart as a unique governmental entity in its own right. Among all the tribal government systems, the Navajo Nation ( ) is one of the most famous and best-known in all of North America.

In what recent projects has the Navajo Nation been involved?

The Navajo Nation is always involved in various projects to bring honor to its people and to preserve their history, culture and way of life. Recently, the Navajo Nation has built a Veteran's Memorial at the base of Window Rock. This memorial was put in place to honor Navajo service in the United States military. One of the most famous examples is that of the Navajo Code Talkers ( ), a group of soldiers who used their native language to create a code that was used in the Pacific Theater in World War II to successfully outsmart the enemy.

Historians often credit the Navajo Code Talkers ( ) with helping to win the war. The park itself has a circular path that outlines the four directions and 16 steel pillars that contain the names of war veterans. There is also a healing sanctuary and a sandstone fountain. Visitors are welcome to the park and are encouraged to show their respect for these great men and women with a visit.

Where are the largest concentrations of Navajo people?

Traditionally, the Navajo people lived in the region east of the San Juan River and northwest of present-day Santa Fe, New Mexico. However, it is impossible to know when exactly the people who would develop into the Navajo tribe ( ) entered the region or exactly where they lived. The most inclusive records were made by Spanish settlers who noted that the Apachu de Nabajo, their term for the people traditionally known as Diné, were in this area.

Later, concentrations of Navajo people were recorded in the Mount Taylor and Chuska Mountain areas of New Mexico and military troops were sent to fight them. Later treaties with the United States government placed most Navajos on reservations in the southwestern areas of the country. Today, the Navajo people live primarily in Arizona and New Mexico. About three-quarters of all recognized Navajo people live in these two states as part of the Navajo Nation. Read more on this blog

What is the history of the Navajo Nation?

The early history of the Navajo is unclear, although scholars believe that they migrated into the area that is now New Mexico and Arizona around 1400 A.D. However, there is no written record of this migration, so oral histories supply most of the information that is known about the early Navajo. The Navajo people ( ) had an uneasy relationship with both the Spanish and American governments and were frequently the subject of attack.

At one point, more than 5,000 people were forcibly moved to reservations during what became known as the Long Walk, a parallel to the Cherokee Trail of Tears. Recently, oil was discovered on Navajo lands ( ) in the 1920s, leading to the establishment of a tribal government in 1923 to protect the people and their interests. In 1991, the government was reorganized into a three-branch system that is recognized as unique and among the most sophisticated of all forms of Indian government.

How can I learn more about the Navajo people?

There are many resources that can help you learn more about the Navajo and their unique system of government as well as the history of this fascinating group of people. One of the best resources is the modern Navajo Museum located within the Navajo Nation. The stated goal of this organization is to preserve the unique culture of the Navajo tribe ( ) and to interpret its rich symbolism in the form of stories, songs and artifacts. On display in this museum is a wide range of Navajo items, including a complete hogan that has been built to encompass a cultural learning center.
The Navajo Museum also includes a book and gift shop, an auditorium that hosts regular performances, an outdoor amphitheater for reenactments, an information desk and library and even a snack bar. The center is located at Window Rock, Arizona. The Navajo Nation Administration Center is also a good place to visit and features a graceful redstone arch as well as the Navajo Nation headquarters and government offices. Read more here

What are the most famous products of the Navajos?

The Navajo tribe is famous for several important products that they sell to those outside their own tribal group. One of the most important is oil. Oil was discovered on Navajo ( ) land in the 1920s and is considered largely responsible for the formation of the Navajo Nation government, which is one of the largest and best-organized of any of the Native American tribes. Another popular Navajo product is silver.

Navajo silversmiths are responsible for some of the most beautiful jewelry in the world, and today their authentic items, which are made by hand and take a long period of time to complete, are very valuable. Navajo weaving, particularly blankets, is also highly prized and these items are often sold in large quantities to tourists and others who want genuine Navajo crafts. The Navajo ( ) were among the first to utilize an upright loom, making it possible to craft extremely fine yet sturdy blankets.

Who were the Navajo Code Talkers?

The Navajo Code Talkers were a group of men who created a secret code based on the Navajo language to use in battle against the Japanese in World War II. Largely credited with winning the war in the Pacific, the Navajo Code Talkers worked around the clock during the Battle of Iwo Jima, sending more than 800 coded messages without a single error. The group that became known as the Navajo Code Talkers ( ) began in 1942 when the first 29 Navajo recruits arrived at Camp Pendleton in California and created the code based on their native language. Watch it here:

They transcribed a dictionary with numerous words for military terms and memorized it during training. They could encode, transmit and decode a message that took machines 30 minutes in only 20 seconds. Ultimately, more than 400 Navajos would be trained as code talkers. From 1942 to 1945, they served in six Marine divisions from Gudalacanal to Iwo Jima.

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About Shawn Redd:

Shawn Redd is a tribal liaison professional with over 20 years of experience. He works diligently to provide economic prosperity to the under-served Navajo nation as a part of the Redd/Lichee Corporation. He's worked in the family business since graduating high school, and is now the President.

Dilkon, Arizona