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Sacred Lands Project Collection

Identifier: MSS -617-BC

Scope and Content

This collection contains the research and oral histories generated by the Sacred Lands Project. The project culminated with Parlow's book, Cry Sacred Ground: Big Mountain U.S.A., which documents Navajo and Hopi resistance to the 1974 Relocation Act. The collection is divided into three overlapping series.

Series I contains background to the Sacred Lands Project, along with Parlow's correspondence and field research. Her research includes field notebooks, oral history interview audio tapes, transcripts, and a small amount of correspondence and miscellany. Interviews were conducted in Navajo, Hopi, and English. The Navajo and Hopi interviews were translated during each interview. Louise Benally translated the Navajo interviews; Thomas Banyacya translated the Hopi interviews. Transcripts are all in English. Although most interviews contain both audiotapes and transcripts, some consist only of the audiotape, and others only contain the transcript. Interviews were conducted with Navajo and Hopi tribal elders, Bureau of Indian Affairs officials, relocation commissioners, and attorneys. Noteworthy interviewees include Thomas Banyacya (Hopi Elder), David Monongye (Hopi traditional leader), Peter MacDonald (former Chairman of the Navajo Nation), Abbott Sekaquaptewa (former Hopi Tribal Chairman), Peterson Zah (Chairman of the Navajo Nation). An alphabetical listing of interviewees is found at the end of the inventory. Patron use copies of audio tapes, housed in boxes 3,4,and 5, are on audio cassettes. Original tapes are housed in B3.

Series II consists of court cases, legislation, legislative critiques, and congressional reports and resolutions relating to relocation and disputed lands. Landmark cases such as Hamilton v. MacDonald; Sekaquaptewa v. MacDonald; Sidney v. Zah are documented in this series.

Series III contains background research materials, such as reports, articles, publications, newspaper clippings, and correspondence. Ethnographic, economic, demographic, and political information about the Navajo and Hopi is contained in this section as is documentation regarding first amendment rights, energy, and natural resource development. Materials generated by and for the Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation Commission is also found in this series. There are tape logs, but no audio tapes, for a few interviews that were done with relocatees and potential relocatees. These interviews took place prior to the Sacred Lands Project, and were not conducted by Anita Parlow.


  • 1894-1988 ( bulk 1984-1988)

Language of Materials

English, Navajo

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Project History

Navajo and Hopi have held equivocal rights to the same lands dating at least as far back as President Chester Arthur's executive order of 1882, which established the Hopi Indian Reservation. The executive order granted territory to the Hopis, but also permitted the settlement of other Indians on the lands. Navajo continued to move into the area. More than a century of controversy later, legislation and court cases have still not resolved the issue.

In 1962, the U.S. District Court for Arizona ruled that the land could be jointly used by the Navajo and Hopi, but that the court lacked jurisdiction to divide the land. The tribes could not reach agreement dividing the 1.8 million acres of disputed land, and joint use was not a viable solution. In 1973, the federal government took responsibility for resolving the dispute, since they had allowed the Navajo to settle there, and had granted them grazing permits to certain areas. In 1974, PL 93-531, known as the Navajo-Hopi Indian Land Settlement Act, or the Relocation Act was enacted. The legislation provided a six-month negotiation period for the two tribes to attempt to reach an agreement over division of the land. If no agreement was reached in that time, the court was authorized to partition the area based on a mediator's recommendation of what was "fair and equitable." The court accepted a mediator's partition line on February 10, 1977, requiring thousands of Navajos and nearly 100 Hopi to be evicted from their homelands.

The people affected by relocation wanted their story told. In the winter of 1984, Hopi Elder, Thomas Banyacya arranged for Anita Parlow to meet with Hopis and Navajos opposed to relocation. Banyacya had read Parlow's book, A Song for Sacred Mountain, an oral history of Sioux people and their link to Bear Butte, a sacred shrine on the periphery of the Balck Hills in South Dakota. He invited her to consider doing a similar project about the Navajo-Hopi land dispute. An agreement was formalized with the Christic Institute, a public interest law firm, to sponsor the project. The project became known as the Sacred Lands Project, and Parlow served as project director.

In 1985, Parlow began conducting interviews and collecting research materials for the project. She interviewed people on the Joint Use Area and the Hopi mesas for a total of eight months over two years. Most interviews were with Navajos, however, several Hopi leaders were also interviewed. The interviews revealed that resistance to relocation was based largely on religious beliefs linking traditional peoples with the land. Thus, the issue was shown to be one of human rights and human rights violations as well as title to lands. Parlow's work culminated in the book, Cry Sacred Ground: Big Mountain U.S.A.

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9 boxes (6.6 cu. ft. )

Related Material

Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute Project Collection Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. Shirley Hill Witt Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. American Indian Oral History Collection Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. Robert W. Young Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New MexicoLisa Law Big Mountain Weaving Project and Santa Fe Big Mountain Defense Support Group Papers. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico David M. Brugge Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico John Redhouse Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Native American Program Series. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico.

Separated Material

Original audiocassettes and reel to reels stored in B3.

Relevant Secondary Sources

  • Parlow, Anita. Cry, Sacred Ground: Big MountainU.S.A.Washington D.C.: Christic Institute,1988.
  • Clemmer, Richard O. Roads in the Sky: The Hopi Indiansin a Century of Change. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1995.

Alphabetical Listing of Interviewees

5 13-16 Anderson, Larry 15-18
27 87-88 Arthur, Claudine Bates 89-90
78 62-c Ashikie, Bitsie None
33 1-c Ashkie, Violet and Lou None
None 28-c Atsisi, Phillip None
19 64-66 Attakai, Roger 66-68
50 25-c Attakai, Miller None
34 2-c Babbit, George None
35 3-c Babbit Lane, Rena None
35 4-c Babbit Lane, Rena None
8 21-22 Bahi, Virginia 23-24
36 5-c Bahi, Emma and Tom None
37 6-c Bahi, Guy None
37 6-c Bahi Wing, Roy None
None 40-c Bahii, Emma and Tom None
11 28-31 Banyacya, Thomas 30-33
38 7-c, 8-c Barton, Archie None
None 30-c Barton, Archie Teesto None
3 4-8 Begay, Hasteen Nez and Mazzie 6-10
35 4-c Begay, Loudi None
35 none Begay, Leroy None
39 9-c, 10-c Begay, Ella None
None 24-c Begay, David None
None 65-c Begay, Nez None
86 None Begay, Cecil None
40 11-c, 12-c Benally, Alice None
41 13-c Benally, Ruth None
42 14-c Benally, Joe None
None 14-c Benally, Bejii None
44 16-c Biakeddy, Jane None
44 16-c, 17-c Biakeddy, Slim None
None 59-c Biakeddy, Jane None
45 18-c Bibles, Dean None
26 84-86 Bitsuie, Roman 86-88
6 17-18 Black Goat, Dan 19-20
46 19-c Blackgoat, Roberta None
85 69-c Blatchford, Herb None
21 70-71 Chase, Tommy 72-73
47 20-c Chase, Mike None
48 21-c Chee, Dan None
38 8-c Clark, David None
49 22-c, 23-c Clark, David None
49 22-c, Clark, Geraldine None
None 24-c Clark, Geraldine None
2 3 Clinton, Alvin 4-5
29 93-95 Clinton, Ida May 95-97
50 25-c Clinton, Ida May None
22 72-73 Dayzie, Joe 74-75
51 26-c Denny, Jeanette None
52 27-c Denny, Sam None
23 74-75 Dentsosie, Lewis 76-77
53 28-c, 29-c Dinee, Nakaii None
4 9-12 Francis, Rosie 11-14
54 30-c George, Della Mae Teesto None
31 99-100 Goldtooth, Tommy 101-102
55 31-c Goldtooth, Mary None
None 17-c Goy, Hasteen (Blessingway) Hardrock None
56 32-c Goy, Fanny None
57 33-c Goy, Austin None
1 1,2 Gurwitz, Lew 1-3
58 34-c Henderson, James None
20 67-69 Homes, Annie 69-71
52 27-c Hopkins, Lenore None
59 35-c Hopkins, Lenore None
None 12-c HorseHerder, Elvira None
60 36-c HorseHerder, Elvira None
None 91-92 Howesa, Patrick 93-94
25 81-83 Jenson, Kenneth and Shirley 83-85
61 37-c Kennedy, John None
57 33-c Lansa, John None
43 15-c Lewis, Helen Rose None
None 43-c Lewis, Helen Rose None
None 76-77 Loloma, Charles 78-79
24 78-80 Lomayaktewa, Starlie 80-82
14 40-43 MacDonald, Peter 41-44
62 38-c Many Mules, Thelma None
80 64-c Many Goats, Bessie None
None 39-c Mexican None
63 40-c, 41-c Miles, Cecil None
63 40-c Miles, Addison None
64 41-c, 43-c Miles, Eleanor None
16 53-57 Monongye, David 54-59
7 19-20 Monroe, Dolly 21-22
18 61-63 Morris, Richard 63-65
28 89-90 Nelson, Virgie 91-92
65 42-c Nez, Harry None
89 None Nez, Jessie None
91 None Nez, Roy None
13 35-39 Osettek, Peter 36-40
43 15-c, 43-c Paddock, Jenny Betoney None
None 43-c Paddock, Jenny Betoney (see also tape 15-c, folder 43) None
None 32-c Pahi None
66 44-c Pahi, Bessie None
17 58-60 RedHorse, David 60-62
88 None Rosalie, Geneva None
12 32-34 Scott, Marlin 34-35, 103
15 44-52 Sekaquaptewa, Abbott 45-53
90 None Sewemaenewa, Paul None
77 60-c, 61-c Shay, Kee None
87 None Shay, Mae None
84 68-c Shepherd, Bessie None
10 26-27 Sidney, Ivan 28-29
59 35-c Smith, Katherine None
None 45-c, 46-c Stevens, James None
67 47-c Tahi, Bessie Hatille None
68 48-c Tahi, Hastiin (Herman Smith) None
69 49-c Tessler, Paul None
None 38-c Tohani, Caroline None
70 50-c Tohani, Caroline None
79 63-c Tohani, George None
81 65-c Translator notes (Betty Tso, Lenore Hopkins) None
9 23-25 Tsosie, Sally 25-27
30 96-98 Tully, Anderson 98-100
71 51-c, 52-c Vlassis, George None
72 53-c Watkins, Ralph None
74 55-c, 56-c Wharton, Don None
None 29-c Whitesinger, Pauline None
73 54-c Whitesinger, Pauline None
82 66-c, 67-c Williams, John Kee None
37 6-c Wilson, Eva Lou None
75 57-c Wilson, Harriet None
37 6-c Yazzie, Geneva Rosalie None
39 10-c Yazzie, Irene None
76 58-c, 59-c Yazzie, Irene (see also tape 10-c, folder 39) None
83 67-c Yazzie, Colleen None
32 101-102 Zah, Peterson 104-105
Finding Aid of the Sacred Lands Project Collection, 1894-1988 ( bulk 1984-1988)
Processed by BB and PBK
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 617 BC::Sacred Lands Project Collection)//EN" "nmu1mss617bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131