Guided By the Mountains: Exploring the Efficacy of Traditional and Contemporary Dine' Governance
AdvisorBegay, Manley A.
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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.
EmbargoEmbargo: Release after 11/17/2012
AbstractThis research reviews Diné governance with an eye towards forecasting reform. What do traditional Diné institutions of governance offer to our understanding of the contemporary challenges faced by the Navajo Nation today and tomorrow? The research is part history, and part political science while pioneering applications of cutting edge research methods. Primary and secondary research will detail where Navajo Nation has been. Diné history is explored via creation stories, the Naachid systems, and the various contemporary councils. Unclear aspects of Diné history are illuminated by relying on oral accounts. Analysis pinpoints what is missing in governance today while questioning whether looking to the past alone will help make governance work better tomorrow. Sometimes adopting traditional Diné governance institutions is not feasible, not wanted, or not possible. New methodological territory offers insight when the past and the future do not work well together. The concept building method is utilized as a way of mitigating the loss that occurs when English words fail to capture the essence of Navajo language. Concepts organic to Navajo culture such as Naachid, Naat'aanii, War Naat'aanii, Peace Naat'aanii, etc, are turned to for assistance in dealing with contemporary issues. Navajo concepts are represented in three-level-view depictions. Three-level-view expressions require that concepts be observed on three-levels. Level one is the name. Under the name level are the set of necessary and sufficient conditions which must be present or you do not have an actual concept. Under each of the conditions are the data/observations which must be present in order to verify that the condition is present. Concept building displays where Navajo Nation has been in order to better understand where Navajo Nation needs to go. The visual presentation of traditional concepts of Diné governance makes them more understandable. Interestingly, when the concept building method is applied to post 1922 Diné governance, the true motives of the United States become obvious. A clearer path is presented toward incorporating chapter house government into national government. Developing contemporary concepts of Navajo governance based on traditional teachings equips us to deal with contemporary issues.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
American Indian Studies