History of the Navajo Indians of Utah

Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
During the 1960s and 1970s, opportunities started to return to the reservation. Oil royalty money from wells drilled in the Aneth/Montezuma Creek area was administered through the Utah Navajo Development Council, a private, non-profit organization designed to make available to Utah Navajos offerings in education, health, and economic development. This became particularly important since, according to the 1980 census, many Navajo families, which tend to be large, were crowded into homes with two or fewer bedrooms (81 percent), no bathroom or kitchen facilities (70 percent), no telephones (82 percent), and no water (47 percent). The gap between Anglo and Navajo residents of San Juan County needed to be closed.

Also aiding in achieving this goal were the two new high schools built during the 1970s and 1980s, one in Montezuma Creek, the other in Monument Valley. Not only did this help reduce or eliminate the antiquated boarding school system, but it also prevented students from being bused to the northern end of the county, a ride that in extreme instances required eight hours a day of round-trip travel.

The Navajo today accept change and in some instances encourage it. Many older people want the youth to obtain an education and job skills, but also desire that they stay near home and maintain strong family ties, a theme of importance in Navajo culture.

See: Robert S. McPherson, The Northern Navajo Frontier 1860-1900 (1988); Garrick and Roberta Bailey, A History of the Navajo: The Reservation Years (1986); Alfonso Ortiz, ed., Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 10 (1983).

Robert S. McPherson

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