The Navajo Language: A Blessing in Disguise
Back                                                                                                           Home                                                                                                        Next


Federal Livestock Reduction Program   

In the year 1933 the Navajo sheep population reached a high of 1,350,000 sheep units of livestock.  At that point the US decided they should research the sheep in Navajo control.  They found out that the Navajo Reservation only has grass enough for 560,000 sheep units of livestock.  In 1934 the Bureau of Inidan Affairs had an idea for what needed to be done to reduce the sheep population.  It is outlined in  A Navajo Confrontation and Crises by Floyd Pollock.

1.     That proportionately larger reductions should be made in larger herds;
2.     That an exemption limit should be set, below which no reduction should be made;
3.     That an effort be made to reduce goats more heavily than sheep; and,
4.     That the water development program should proceed in close correlation and with immediate and future range management requirements.

         
The decision went before the tribal council who agreed to the project.  They came up with a proposal and Pollock said it looked like this:

1.     A resolution sanctioning a widespread reduction program;
2.     That an attempt be made to secure additional land for them;
3.     That soil conservation carry on with a vast undertaking among the Navajos;
4.     That the emergency conservation work continue;
5.     That the day-school program, which has subsequently been completed, should be started.

They divided the area into 6 jurisdictions and each one had a set amount of sheep it was allowed: Northern, 20,000 head; Southern, 32,000 head; Eastern, 15,000 head; Western, 15,000 head; Hopi, 10,000 head; Leupp, 8,000 head.  The problem was the Navajo were forced to sell their sheep extremely cheaply to the US government.  The Navajo were not given the promised education so they could get jobs to make up the loss in money.  This caused the Navajo to become poorer than they already were and made them distrust the US government even more.

A Hogan (A Navajo Hose)
Often six sided, a hogan may also have more or fewer than six sides. They are usually built from materials readily available - wood, earth, and stones. The doorway faces the sunrise to allow the occupants to welcome the new day.
Back                                                                                                           Home                                                                                                        Next