1882: An order
by President Arthur sets aside about 2.5 million acres
in northeastern Arizona for the Hopis and "other
Indians" who might be settled there by the Interior
secretary. The land centers on the mesas of the village-dwelling
Hopis but includes areas occupied by scattered Navajo
Indian agent to the Hopis reports that Navajos "have
been allowed to encroach upon the Hopi Reservation for
years, taking possession of the best watering places,
best farming and best pasture land."
Indian agent writes that the Hopi tradition of clinging
to the mesas "explains why they have not prospered
parallel to their neighbors, the Navajos." The
same agent later reports that new Hopi interest in lands
beyond the mesas has brought them into conflict with
land in northeastern Arizona is given to the Navajos
"and such other Indians as may already be located
Federal officials act to reduce overgrazing by Navajos
and Hopis. Within the 1882 reservation boundary, they
establish the 650,000-acre Grazing District 6 for exclusive
Hopi use. Some Navajo families are forced to relocate.
Others continue living on the remaining 1.8 million
acres of the 1882 reservation.
1962: A court
rules that Navajos and Hopis are equal owners of the
1.8 million acres, which becomes known as the Joint
claim ancestral sites on the western portion of the
Navajo Reservation. Commissioner of Indian Affairs Robert
Bennett bans all construction on the land until the
tribes can resolve the claims. This became known as
the "Bennett Freeze."
passes legislation to partition the Joint Use Area into
Hopi partitioned land and Navajo partitioned land and
relocate those living on the "wrong side"
of the line.
an effort to reduce relocation, a federal Appeals Court
initiates intertribal negotiations after a lawsuit claims
relocation violates Navajos' freedom of religion.
ban on development in the Bennett Freeze Area is lifted,
but Hopis appeal, saying there are religious sites in
court reinstates the freeze, saying the Hopis could
lay claim to lands if they can identify religious sites.
tribes reach an "accommodation agreement"
to allow Navajos to stay on Hopi partitioned land if
they sign a lease acknowledging Hopi jurisdiction. Many
Navajos do so. Others refuse.
deadline for Navajos on Hopi partitioned land who have
not signed the agreement.
mediation, both tribes agree to mutual access to the
Bennett Freeze Area for religious rites, allowing the
development ban to be lifted.
ceremony for the agreement.