Navajo Battle for Water Brought Into The Light

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High Country News, the award-winning news magazine of the American West, travels to the vast Navajo reservation of Arizona and New Mexico, where tribal activists are attacking the 1920s Colorado River compact that ignored their water claims and left Navajo homes high and dry.

“Seeking the Water Jackpot” by Matt Jenkins profiles the current water situation in Navajo homes and explores potential outcomes of the war for water in the historical context of the West. For decades folks in the Navajo Nation have been buying water from vending machines and trucking it for miles and miles to their homes.

Although the U.S. government left every area tribe out of the Colorado River Compact negotiations, Navajo claims are based on centuries of pre-existing use as well as entitlements encompassing their vast traditional holy land. By some estimates, the Navajo Nation is entitled to 50 million acre-feet of water, or every last drop of liquid in the Colorado River and then some.

Meanwhile, Native Americans are receiving extra attention from Democrats this year. Their incorporation into the party process and decision making for the Democratic National Convention is termed “unprecedented.” Francisco Tharp of High Country News takes a look at the expanding role of Native Americans in this year’s election.

NewsBlaze supports High Country News (www.hcn.org), which independently covers the important issues and stories of the American West.

Alan Gray is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of NewsBlaze Daily News and other online newspapers. He prefers to edit, rather than write, but sometimes an issue rears it’s head and makes him start pounding the keyboard. Alan has a fascination with making video and video editing, so watch out if he points his Canon 7d in your direction.