The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

when discussing the dispute, the author's framework appears geared
more to attracting readers than providing a valid, scholarly assessment
of the situation. Feher-Elston wants to use this book "to explain how the
present scenario developed, [and] the attitudes and beliefs of the people
involved" (p. xxvii), but frequently uses her sources uncritically and
provides only a minimum of documentation. There is also a strong ten-
dency to lump everyone together with such stereotypical statements as
"to Americans [for example, non-Indians], land is not sacred" (p. 46).
Definitions are noticably lacking.
The Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute stems back to the creation of the
Hopi Reservation by executive order in 1882. Since that time the ex-
pansion of the Navajo tribe has produced a population crisis that ended
up with many Navajos living on lands assigned to the Hopis. When the
government attempted to resolve this problem in 1974 by redefining
reservation boundaries and moving tribal peoples from land assigned
to the other tribe, the situation exploded, with charges of racism, exter-
mination, and forced removals similar to those that occurred in the
186os. This created an extremely tense atmosphere as each tribe sought
to protect its interests. At times an armed confrontation seemed cer-
tain. The best part of the book is the author's brief sketch of the various
interest groups, white and Indian, that have attempted to manipulate
the crisis for their own ends. Particularly telling are the portraits of
non-Indian sympathizers and of a few selected tribal officials.
For all its good intentions, the book does not satisfactorily explain
what is happening in Northern Arizona. One of the most obvious omis-
sions is the lack of reference to state and tribal politics and the behind-
the-scenes manipulating. Although some of these conditions are hinted
at, much more detail is needed. Children of Sacred Ground is not the first
attempt to cover this difficult subject and it surely will not be the last.
For the time being, it should be read, but with a clear understanding
that the full story has yet to emerge.
Arizona State University ROBERT A. TRENNERT
The Northern Navajo Frontier, z86o-i9oo: Expansion through Adversity.
By Robert S. McPherson. (Albuquerque: University of New Mex-
ico Press, 1989. Pp. viii+133. Preface, maps, notes, references,
index. $22.50.)
In 1868 Navajos concluded the last treaty ratified by the United States
Senate to recognize an Indian people as a sovereign dependent nation.
With it they secured title to a portion of their original homeland, an
eighty-five by fifty-five mile rectangle in northwestern New Mexico and
northeastern Arizona. The preceding war with the U.S. Army had left

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101214/. Accessed July 10, 2014.