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

Women’s History Month: Wilma Pearl Mankiller
Native News Weekly (March 3, 2024): D.C. Briefs
USA Today Named Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flannagan to Women of the Year List
Legislation Introduced to Create a Native American Voting Rights Commission in Nebraska
Zuni Youth Enrichment Project Will Offer Multiple National Park Trips for Youth in 2024

Native Perspective.  Native Voices.  Native News. 

We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers.  We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous-centered journalism. Thank you.

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].