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Ellen Kemper papers concerning Navajo Hopi relocation

Identifier: MSS-939-BC

Scope and Content

The collection focuses on strategy and litigation emanating from the Big Mountain Legal Office (AZ) in response to actions and legislation of the Navajo-Hopi Indian Relocation Commission and the United States Congress. Included are legal briefs, testimony, background materials, documents, newsletters (Big Mountain Legal Office newsletter, Navajo & Hopi Indian Relocation Commission program update and report), articles and press clippings. Navajo advocacy dominates the collection, with the first amendment lawsuit, "In Defense of Sacred Lands" a focal point. There is a small amount of material pertaining to the Hopi perspective.


  • 1964-1996
  • Majority of material found within 1986-1989


Language of Materials


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.

Biography / History

Ellen Kemper, Esquire, has consulted in Indian country on various projects at the federal and local level since 1980. Kemper holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arizona (1983) where she focused on Indian law studies. She has been licensed to practice law in New Mexico, Arizona, Washington DC, and Maryland. In Washington DC, she consulted with Seneca Law Office, Americans for Indian Opportunity, the Falmouth Institute, and the National Indian Policy Center. While in Washington DC, she offered pro bono support to those negatively affected by the Navajo-Hopi Relocation Act. She filed a first amendment law suit in the U.S. District Court, assisted with educational events, and housed delegates from Big Mountain, AZ.

Kemper is now retired. She has resided in Santa Fe, NM since 1989. In New Mexico, she has done work with the Pueblos of Jemez, Picuris, Santo Domingo, San Felipe, Taos, the Navajo Nation, the Indigenous Language Institute and the Santa Fe Indian School. She consulted for over a decade with the Pascua Yaqui Tribal Health Services Division in Tucson, AZ.


1 box (1 cu. ft.)


The collection focuses on resistance and litigation in response to the forced relocation of the Navajo, pursuant to Public Law 93-531 (Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act of 1974).


Navajo-Hopi Indian Relocation Commission and Congressional activities files are followed by background, advocacy, and publicity, and lastly, files related to strategy and litigation.

Related Archival Material

David M. Brugge Papers. Center for Southwest Research. University of New Mexico. Eda Gordon Papers. Center for Southwest Research. University of New Mexico. Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute Documents. Center for Southwest Research. University of New Mexico. Sacred Lands Project Collection. Center for Southwest Research. University of New Mexico.
Finding aid of the Ellen Kemper papers concerning Navajo Hopi relocation, 1964-1996
B. Silbergleit
© 2014
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