facebook app symbol  twitter  linkedin  instagram 1

Last week, Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren joined Native News Online publisher Levi Rickert on Native Bidaské.

The two discussed the Supreme Court’s issuing of a 5-4 ruling against the Navajo Nation in its attempts to secure water rights to the Colorado River. The case, Navajo Nation v. Arizona rested on the merits of a 150-year-old promise from the federal government to fulfill the water needs of Native American reservations. 

“One of the reasons why the case was filed was that we have treaty responsibilities within the federal government,” Nygren told Rickert. “It was trying to keep our federal partners accountable and make sure that they continue to help us and assist us in quantifying our water rights.” 

Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning. 

The Navajo Nation brought the suit against the state of Arizona after their water rights came into question as the Tribe’s primary water source — the Colorado River — has dwindled by 20% over the past two decades from drought conditions in the region. The suit alleged a breach of trust and sought to compel the federal government to secure water for Navajo Nation by assessing the Tribe’s water needs, developing a plan to secure the needed water, and potentially building pipelines, pumps, wells, or other water infrastructure.

“There’s 30 to 40 percent of Navajo people without running water right now. People are still hauling water and filling up buckets of water from border towns,” Nygren said. “That’s what they are surviving on.”

Nygren also talked about the next steps of action for the Navajo Nation. 

“The next steps are to sit down with the President of the United States and try to work out a congressional delegation to see if we can get this through Congress,” Nygren said. “There’s a prime opportunity to have all of Indian Country get united behind the Navajo nation and continue to stand on what’s right.” 

“If we are going to go back to the time of a strong Navajo Nation, a strong Indian Country, we have to make sure that we have control of the basic things that make life sustainable and water is one of them,” said Nygren. 

Watch the full episode on our YouTube channel, or view the embedded video below. 



More Stories Like This

Native News Weekly (June 16, 2024): D.C. Briefs
25th Navajo Nation Council Honors the Service of All Women Veterans
Photographs of the Homecoming of the Three Fires Powwow
Zuni Youth Enrichment Project Prepares to Kick Off Second Annual T-Ball League
Justice Dept. Scathing Report: Native Americans Face Discrimination by Phoenix Police

Join us in celebrating 100 years of Native citizenship. On June 2, 1924, President Calvin Coolidge signed the Indian Citizenship Act, granting Native Americans US citizenship, a pivotal moment in their quest for equality. This year marks its centennial, inspiring our special project, "Heritage Unbound: Native American Citizenship at 100," celebrating their journey with stories of resilience, struggle, and triumph. Your donations fuel initiatives like these, ensuring our coverage and projects honoring Native American heritage thrive. Your donations fuel initiatives like these, ensuring our coverage and projects honoring Native American heritage thrive.

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected].