Document Type

Amicus Brief

Publication Date


Case Name

Arizona v. Navajo Nation


The 1849 and 1868 treaties entered into by United States and the Navajo Nation confirmed the enforceable trust responsibility that the federal government owes the Navajo Nation. According to the terms of the Senate-ratified 1849 treaty, the Navajo Nation “hereby acknowledge[s] that . . . the said tribe was lawfully placed under the exclusive jurisdiction and protection of the Government of the said United States, and that they are now, and will forever remain, under the afore¬ said jurisdiction and protection.” Treaty with the Navaho, 1849 art. I (Sep. 9, 1849), 9 Stat. 974 (“1849 Treaty”). The more detailed 1868 treaty allowed the Navajo people to return to their homeland after a fouryear forced internment and carried the trust respon¬ sibility forward. Treaty of 1868, 15 Stat. 667 (“1868 Treaty”). The history of the negotiation proceedings leading to the 1868 treaty and the text of the treaty show that both sides agreed that the future of the Navajo Nation depended on being able to successfully pursue farming and grazing and that the treaty was meant to secure that future.