Systems of arrogance: Technology and the work of Navajo resistance.
AuthorSherry, John William.
KeywordsForest policy -- Navajo Indian Reservation.
Forest management -- Navajo Indian Reservation.
Forests and forestry-- Navajo Indian Reservation.
Environmentalism -- Navajo Indian Reservation.
Committee ChairHill, Jane H.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation adopts the perspective of Cognitive Ethnography to examine the work of a grassroots, Navajo environmental organization called Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment. Specifically, I will examine the work and the challenges facing the members of this organization in order to evaluate how new communications and information technologies may be of use to them. This analysis begins, as Cognitive Ethnography mandates, with a general description of the tasks which constitute the work of Diné CARE. As will be discussed, these consist primarily in attempts to reassert what the organization's members consider to be traditional Navajo perspectives on economic development and the human relationship with the natural environment. Subsequently, I analyze the representations, measurements of work, and forms of organization required to accomplish Diné CARE's tasks. In all aspects of the work, members were constantly required to manage a dialogue between their preferred means of organizing or representing work, and the means required by the operating environment in which they found themselves, characterized primarily by relationships with various outside sources of legal, technical or financial support. The work of Diné CARE is thus extensively "dialogic." While members continually drew on Navajo traditions for viewing the relationship of human beings to the natural environment, for representing their work, and for building cooperative access to resources for resistance, they were nonetheless required at the same time to position these "traditional" approaches against approaches whose history of development have political, social and cultural roots in Western Europe and modem America. Often, this dialogue brought with it tension and even morally charged conflict for the members of Diné CARE. This tension extended to emerging technologies as well. In spite of many claims to the contrary, new communications and information technologies did little to alleviate the mismatch between "local" and "foreign" ways of doing work. Instead of "empowering" local communities by providing them access to information or the chance to be heard on their own terms, new technologies complicated the scenario of local resistance by requiring practices for representing work which were both difficult to master and often inappropriate.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Devolution and the Navajo Nation: Strategies for Local Empowerment in Three Navajo CommunitiesCornell, Stephen; Hale, Michelle Lynn; Hiller, Joseph G.; Parezo, Nancy J.; Cornell, Stephen (The University of Arizona., 2012)The Navajo Nation comprises 110 local communities spread over 16 million acres and linked under a highly centralized system of tribal government. Since the creation of the Navajo chapter system, which facilitates local governance for the Navajo Nation, there have been growing tensions between some of these local communities and the central government in Window Rock. In the 1990s and early 2000s, several of these communities moved to claim greater decision-making authority as an assertion of local empowerment. This dissertation examines three such communities and their empowerment strategies: a grassroots secession movement at Tohajiilee, Shonto's use of the Navajo Nation's Local Governance Act (LGA), and the establishment of the Kayenta Township. This comparative study examines these strategies and considers their significance for the future of Navajo leadership and self-government.
Narratives of Navajo-ness: An ideological analysis of Navajo language shiftPhilips, Susan U.; House, Deborah Elizabeth, 1950- (The University of Arizona., 1997)Despite the many factors that contribute to the maintenance of their language, the Navajo people are experiencing a rapid shift from Navajo to English. My research points to an ideological component in this shift, defining ideology as a self-interested pattern of thoughts and beliefs about the hierarchical relationship with others that is held by people individually or as members of a specific group. This project concludes that the diverse and contradictory ideologies held by Navajo people about their unequal relationship to the dominant American society have led to language (and cultural) choices and behaviors that have contributed to the current alarming language situation and that will, if unchecked, result in further erosion of the language. These ideologies are organized around a powerful oppositional dichotomy that represents the Navajo and the United States as essentialized opposites, with the Navajo occupying the positive end of the spectrum and the United States the negative end. This dichotomy shapes and is shaped by the content of Navajo counter-hegemonic discourse. The pervasive existence and consequences of the friction between these ideological positions are further substantiated through an analysis of the content and contexts of language use by Navajos in a contemporary Navajo school setting.
Navajo Courts and Navajo Common LawWilliams Jr., Robert A.; Austin, Raymond D.; Williams Jr., Robert A.; Begay, Manley; Hershey, Robert A.; Hopkins, James A.; Stauss, Joseph H. (The University of Arizona., 2007)The Navajo Nation courts use ancient Diné (Navajo) customs and traditions or Navajo common law to decide cases. While the concepts called Navajo common law are free-flowing, communal, and egalitarian, the forum where they are used, the Navajo Nation court, is adversarial and uses adopted American court rules to strain traditional concepts to relevancy. Incorporating Navajo common law into American-styled court litigation is a difficult process. Navajo common law is rooted in Navajo philosophy,while the forum of its application is of Anglo-American design. The Navajo judges,nonetheless, have developed methods using adopted American rules of evidence, particularly the expert witness rules and the judicial notice doctrine, to bring Navajo common law into Navajo court litigation.This work focuses on three foundational Navajo doctrines, hozho (harmony, balance and peace), ke (kinship solidarity), and k'ei (clanship system), to analyze how the Navajo judges use Navajo common law to resolve legal problems. The three doctrines are first examined within the Navajo cultural context and then the case method of analysis is employed to explain how the Navajo judges engage the incorporation process. The three doctrines are not laws that can be applied to legal issues, but their derivative norms and values are applied as laws in the Navajo Nation courts.When the Navajo Nation courts use Navajo common law in their written decisions, they are at once preserving Navajo culture, language, spirituality, and identity for future Navajo generations. When the Navajo people use Navajo common law in their courts and in the overall operations of their government, they are not only exercising sovereignty the Navajo way, but also nation-building the Navajo way. The methods used to incorporate Navajo common law into modern Navajo government can serve as a model for American Indian tribal governments and indigenous peoples around the globe who desire to resurrect their ancient ways of governance. So long as American Indians and indigenous peoples retain their cultures, languages, spiritual traditions, and identities,they have in place traditional frameworks that can be used to solve modern problems.