History of the Navajo Indians of Utah

Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
In 1868 the Navajos returned from Fort Sumner and took up residence on a reservation one-fourth the size of the original territory they had used before the war. This situation did not last long, however, as the Dine expanded into their old habitat. Between 1868 and 1905 there were eight boundary changes that increased the reservation to the north, east, and west. The most significant changes for the Utah Navajo occurred in 1884 when President Chester Arthur added to the reservation the lands south of the San Juan River. Although this territory politically changed hands a number of times, the Navajo maintained control and added to their holdings around Aneth in 1905. The government made other extensions in this area in 1933 and again in 1958, the latter being in exchange for lands lost to the Glen Canyon Dam project. Thus, from the outset, the Navajos, unlike most Indian tribes, have expanded their reservation at the expense of the public domain.

From 1870 to the 1890s, Navajos were involved in the turbulent jockeying for lands on their northern borders. Non-Mormon expansion into the Montezuma Creek and Aneth area, Mormon settlements in the Tuba City, Moenkopi, and Bluff region, and the burgeoning cattle industry of San Juan County made competition for resources inevitable. The government opened the public domain for both Native American and Anglo use, but the Navajos and Utes utilized the land in ways that were unappreciated by white men.

In addition to being drawn to the northern border of the reservation for livestock grazing and agriculture, there were also unlicensed trading posts on the northern side of the river. These posts flourished by escaping government regulation, but by the 1890s many closed because of a national depression, its accompanying economic impact, and successive crop failures due to drought. By the early 1900s, the government had added Moenkopi and Aneth to the reservation while generally peaceful relations existed in the Bluff area.

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