WINDOW ROCK – On Friday, Speaker LoRenzo Bates, President Russell Begaye, Vice President Jonathan Nez and Chief Justice JoAnn Bitsilly Jayne came together to sign a proclamation to commemorate the 150th year anniversary of the signing of the Naaltsoos Sání – The Treaty of 1868. The “Year of the Naaltsoos Saní” recognizes, honors, and reflects on the strength and resiliency of the Navajo people in the past, present, and future.
In 1864, the Navajo people were forcefully removed from their homelands and moved 300 miles east to Bosque Redondo, N.M, also known as Hwéeldi or The Long Walk. The Treaty of 1868 allowed the Navajo people to return to their homelands and established an intergovernmental relationship between the Navajo people the U.S. government.
The proclamation states, “On June 1, 1868, our Diné leaders signed the Treaty of 1868 with the United States Government to, first and foremost, ensure our return to our beloved homeland; secondly, protect our Diné Lifeway; and thirdly, memorialize our newly created Nation-to-Nation sovereign relationship with the federal government. The anniversary of the signing of the Treaty is significant because it marks an occasion for us to come together as a Nation to reflect upon our past, our present, and our future.”
Moments before the three branch chiefs signed the proclamation, Speaker LoRenzo Bates (Nenahnezad, Newcomb, San Juan, Tiis Tsoh Sikaad, Tse’Daa’Kaan, Upper Fruitland) highlighted the historical significance of the treaty and the courage, strength, and resiliency of past Navajo leadership and people.
“Since the signing of The Treaty of 1868, the Navajo Nation has become a strong and preserving nation. The treaty allows the Nation to practice our sovereignty everyday, which would not have been possible without the courage and strength of our past leaders. The past leaders and our Navajo people who returned home from Hwéeldi fought for the interest of future generations,“ said Speaker Bates during the signing of the proclamation.
The proclamation also states that the Navajo Nation will continue to revitalize the Navajo language, traditional, and culture teachings and for all of the Nation’s departments and programs to protect and strengthen sovereignty and the Navajo way of life.
On June 1, 2018, the Navajo Nation Museum plans to publicly exhibit/display the original Navajo Treaty of 1868 to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the signing of the treaty.
Speaker Bates extended his appreciation to President Russell Begaye, Vice President Jonathan Nez, and Chief Justice JoAnn Bitsilly Jayne for collaborating and signing the proclamation to declare 2018 as “The Year of Naaltsoos Sání.”