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Gyill Holyan, 16, rides a horse while visiting family in Bird Springs, Ariz. The San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Ariz. serve as one of the four sacred mountains of the Navajo.

For many Americans, the word Navajo conjures up images of the World War II code talkers who used their unique language to encrypt secret radio messages sent to the front lines. Here’s what many don’t know about the most populous Native American tribe in the United States. Read more»

The Navajo Nation, which occupies about 20 percent of Arizona’s land mass, doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.

The Diné Marriage Act, passed in 2005 by the Navajo Nation Council, defines marriage as between a man and a woman. But advocates say they hope tribal leaders will change their stance now that same-sex marriage is legal in Arizona, New Mexico and many other states. Read more» 1

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly, left, and Navajo Council Speaker Pro Tem LoRenzo Bates announced in May that the tribe had accepted a $554 million settlement of its lawsuit against the federal government. The deal will be formally signed Friday with Obama administration and tribal officials in Window Rock.

The tribe's 2006 lawsuit originally sought $900 million for what it called the federal government's decades of mishandling royalties from oil, gas, coal, uranium and other mineral leases it held in trust for the tribe. The settlement was hailed as a "victory for tribal sovereignty." Read more»

Navajo President Ben Shelly has said he would like to see funds from the tribe’s settlement with the federal government be used for housing and to assist disabled tribe members, but no final decisions have been made.

The federal government is nearing final approval of a $554 million settlement with the Navajo Nation of the tribe’s claim that the government mishandled royalties on tribal mineral resource contracts for decades. Read more»

Rep. Jamescita Peshlakai, D-Cameron, wants to add designations to four northern Arizona highways honoring Native American veterans.

Rep. Jamescita Peshlakai, an Army veteran, says honoring Native American veterans by renaming stretches of U.S. 89, U.S. 160, State Route 264 and Interstate 40 also would help build connections between tribes and the rest of Arizona. Read more»

Several Arizona tribes filed legal briefs in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl in support of the father, a Cherokee fighting a South Carolina couple for custody of his daughter. But the Supreme Court ruled that the Indian Child Welfare Act did not bar the girl’s adoption.

Arizona experts said the Supreme Court’s recent ruling against a Native American father who was fighting to stop his daughter from being adopted may only have “muddied the waters” for future cases. Read more» 1

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Flagstaff, in a file photo with other Democratic women in the House who urged reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which includes provisions for immigrant, Native American and same-sex partners.

Tribal courts will be able to prosecute non-Native abusers under an expanded Violence Against Women Act that won final congressional approval. It also expands domestic violence protections for immigrants, extends them to same-sex couples and includes funding. Read more»

Environmental officials have recorded alarmingly high radiation levels at many of the known abandoned uranium mine sites on the Navajo Nation. The sites in red above are those where radiation is at least 10 times normal background levels.

A consortium of federal and tribal agencies reported that a five-year, $110 million project to clean up uranium contamination in the Navajo Nation had addressed the most urgent risks there. But the report also said that much more work needs to be done to deal with the health threat. Read more»

Arizona Republican Sens. Jon Kyl, left, and John McCain, in this February file photo, reportedly urged Hopi and Navajo tribal leaders this week to line up support behind a settlement the senators have proposed to the tribes’ water-rights claims.

Arizona’s senators urged tribal leaders Thursday to move quickly on a proposed settlement of water-rights claims so they can push the bill through Congress before this session ends. Read more»

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly told the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Thursday that environmental restrictions and lack of broadband access hinder job growth in his nation, the largest tribal community in the U.S., covering parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly told a Senate committee Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency “ignores reality” by insisting on the most-advanced pollution control technology to update coal-fired power plants. Read more»

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly speaks at a meeting of tribal leaders Tuesday morning in Washington. Shelly said he wants the U.S. to make up for funding cuts by relaxing regulations to promote job growth in the energy sector.

With Congress required to come up with more than $1 trillion in multi-year budget cuts this fall, tribal leaders converged in Washington this week to make sure their concerns are included in the discussion. Read more» 1