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David M. Brugge Papers

Identifier: MSS-770-BC

Scope and Contents

The Personal Papers and Research series contains material on some of David Brugge's writings including his book, The Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute. There is information on the awards this book was nominated for, news releases, reviews and Brugge's responses, letters from the editor about the book and related correspondence such as requests for use of illustrations. The research includes news clippings, 1964-2002, the transcript for a 1989 interview with Robert L. Bennett, articles on relocation, environmental and economic issues, biographical information on Norman M. Littell, Navajo General Counsel and Claims Attorney, and other articles relating to the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute. The correspondence in this series is arranged by date. Brugge's correspondence to Charlotte Frisbie was added in 2007. The majority of the Congressional correspondence is about Public Law 93-531 (Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act of 1974).

David Brugge was part of the research team that prepared evidence for the Healing vs. Jones trial. As a result of the trial, the Court gave the Hopi Tribe exclusive ownership of District 6 but declared the rest of the disputed land was held jointly by both tribes. Materials related to the trial research are contained in this collection. Brugge investigated Navajo archaeological sites, prepared exhibits and assisted attorneys with preliminary interviews of elderly Navajo who could possibly appear as witnesses. In the Healing vs. Jones series are found copies of exhibits for the trial including maps, site reports, tree-ring data, photographs, pottery charts, Navajo place names, ethnobotany exhibits and testimonies. The two subseries Post Litigation Negotiations and Political Solution, and Relocation and Resistance, contain articles, newspaper clippings, testimonies, documents, interview transcriptions, correspondence, reports, excerpts from federal regulations, maps and conference papers. Subjects such as Black Mesa, Arizona, the United Nations Religious Freedom Hearing on behalf of the Navajo, organized resistance to relocation, impact of relocation and Peabody Western Coal Company are covered. Also are found Navajo-Hopi Relocation Commission updates and reports, 1981-1987, including an analysis by Brugge of the monthly meetings, meeting minutes and notes.

The Moenkopi Project(1904-1970) series contains information on land status, boundary line proposals, grazing and land use, field surveys including field notes, a final report with maps, notes on meetings regarding the Navajo-Hopi Boundary Matter, survey with the Grazing Committee, Navajo Chapter meetings in 1967 at Pinon (Pinyon), Tolani Lakes, White Cone and Window Rock, Advisory Committee meeting minutes and 1967-1968 Navajo-Hopi Negotiating Committee minutes and notes.

Moenkopi Project, 1989-2006 (Legal Proceedings series) In Sept. of 1991 David Brugge was contacted by Craig Soland (Brown & Bain) attorney for the Navajo Nation and asked to revisit the sites in the Bennett Freeze area that he had researched and recorded in 1967 to determine if the same people (families or their descendents) still occupied the land and if conditions for these Navajo peoples had changed. Brugge noted if these residents had moved, where had they gone and whether or not they continued to maintain their home sites for a portion of the year. He also made a record of the grazing patterns by both the Hopi and Navajo Indians as a part of this land use study. He then gave a deposition as part of the Masayesva v. Zah v. James trial. The Court admitted his testimony recognizing that while he may have better judgment and experience than others involved the trial, the opinions he expressed were seen solely as an employee of the Navajo Tribe for Navajo Tribal purposes.

This series contains the legal documents of the Sidney v. Haskie v. James trial proceedings, the Masayesva v. Haskie v. James trial proceedings, and the Masayesva v. Zah v. James trial. Documents include lists of trial witnesses, findings of fact and conclusions of law, David M. Brugge's deposition (including exhibits), field maps, and briefs. Also included are other documents concerning the contested Moenkopi area, news clippings and survey photographs relating to the areas affected by the Bennett Freeze Act.

The Oversize Series contains maps, documents, periodicals and other publications, 1908-1992.

In March 2012, an addition to the collection was processed. The addition is organized into 3 series:

The Correspondence Series (1952-2013) includes correspondence between Brugge and family, friends and colleagues. The letters contain a rich source of research and information related to Native America and historical and anthropological issues in New Mexico and the Southwest. A large amount of correspondence is with Charlotte Frisbie, Brugge’s friend and fellow archaeologist. This correspondence often includes newspaper clippings related primarily to Navajo issues.

The Research Series (1583-2007) contains notes, drafts, photos, unpublished writings, transcriptions, manuscripts, reports, clippings, court related documents, and publications. The material is related to the Navajo-Hopi land dispute, Navajo ethnohistory, and Brugge’s research for the Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado, Arizona and for the Hubbell House restoration project in the village of Pajarito, Bernalillo County.

The Committees and Organizations Series (1954-2005) contains material such as board minutes, budget reports, by-laws, correspondence, newsletters, publications and clippings related to the many organizations Brugge was involved with as a board member, staff, or volunteer. Included in this series are issues of Call of the Plateau, newsletter of the Plateau Science Society, Gallup, N.M.


  • 1583-2009
  • Majority of material found within 1952-2009

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

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

Biographical / Historical

David L. Brugge was born in Jamestown, New York on September 3, 1927. He was drafted into the army in the fall of 1945 and served until the summer of 1947. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology at the University of New Mexico in 1950 he and a friend, Glen F. (Jim) Wilson, ran the Ayani Trading Company in Albuquerque Old Town. This business venture gave Brugge the opportunity to make contacts on buying trips to the reservations in the Southwest.

In 1952 Brugge began his close association with the Navajo peoples when he started work in the Navajo Surplus Commodity Program based in Gallup for the New Mexico Department of Public Welfare. In 1953 he worked as a seasonal ranger at El Morro National Monument and from 1954-1957 he worked for the Unitarian Service Committee's Gallup Indian Community Center. For the next decade he conducted anthropological and ethnohistorical research for the Navajo Nation on various land disputes such as Healing vs. Jones, litigation resulting from the disagreement commonly known as the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute. He also worked on the Moenkopi Project, which concerned the creation of an exclusive Hopi use area near Tuba City, and the Navajo Land Claim case.

During Brugge's 20 years with the National Park Service he worked as Curator at the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site in Ganado, Arizona, archaeologist at the Chaco Center in Albuquerque, and Regional Curator for the Southwest Regional Office of the National Park Service at Santa Fe. In 1986 he co-founded the Navajo Studies Conference with Charlotte J. Frisbie. Since his retirement from the Park Service in 1989 he has worked as a consultant in anthropology and has been active in research in Navajo cultural history.

Brugge has produced more than 150 publications. His articles and books are about archaeology, ethnology, ethnohistory, history, linguistics, ethnobotany, architecture, rock art, material culture, land use and contemporary Navajo life. He is a member of numerous national, regional and local anthropological and archaeological societies including American Archaeological Association, Plateau Sciences Society, Archaeological Society of New Mexico, American Society for Ethnohistory and Society for American Archaeology.

In the spring of 2005 Brugge received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of New Mexico. He passed away in Albuquerque, New Mexico in March 2013.

Sources: Diné Bíkéyah : Papers in Honor of David M. Brugge. Albuquerque, New Mexico, Archaeological Society of New Mexico, 1998.

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site: An Administrative History, Chapter VIII, "The Curators of Hubbell Trading Post," National Park Service, Division of History, Southwest Cultural Resources Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico, (Professional Papers, no. 46), 1993.

University of New Mexico UNM Today, "UNM spring commencement May 14 at University Arena; Brugge and Silko to receive honorary degrees," May 6, 2005.


37 boxes (37 cu. ft.) + 1 oversize folder


This collection contains David Brugge's research used to assist the Navajo Nation in their land claims, in particular the case, Healing vs. Jones, resulting from the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute. There is also material on the aftermath of the court ruling including post litigation negotiations, political solution, relocation, and resistance to relocation.

Related Archival Material

Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute Documents Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico (Brugge used material from this collection to write his book: Navajo Hopi Land Dispute) Robert W. Young Papers Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico (Contains information on Norman M. Littell, Navajo General Counsel and Claims Attorney) Eda Gordon Papers Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Sacred Lands Project Collection Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico

Separated Material

Monographs transferred to University Libraries book collection.

Processing Information

An addition to this collection was processed in October 2007. The addition includes Brugge's correspondence to Charlotte Frisbie and the Moenkopi Project legal proceedings series (1989-2006).

Second addition to collection processed March 2012. Includes the following series: Correspondence, Research, Committees and Organizations. Correspondence between David Brugge and his son Doug (and family) was added to the existing correspondence series in January 2014.

Inquire with reference staff for access to unprocessed material, 6 boxes, B3-6B. Includes some misc. correspondence and authors' (not Brugge) articles or grey matter on Navajos, misc SW topics and vertical file type material. Filed by authors' names.
Finding Aid of the David M. Brugge Papers, 1583-2009
For Approval
Processed by T. S. Reinig, I. Renfro (addition), Samuel Sisneros (additions)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • 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