Window Rock Extension
Encompassing 27,000 square miles in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah,
the Consisting of 27,000 square miles in the states of Arizona, New
Mexico, and Utah, the Navajo Nation, geographically, is the largest
Native American reservation in the U.S. The area of the reservation is
greater that that of the states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and
Vermont combined. The Navajo Nation claims approximately 298,000
enrolled members; it is the second largest tribe in population; over
173,000 Navajos live on the reservation. The population has increased
3.5 times from the 50,000 people who resided on the reservation in
1940. Most homes do not have electricity, running water, or
telephones. The Navajo Nation has no urban centers, and most roads
remained unpaved (U.S. Census, 2007; Navajo Division of Economic
Development, 2008). According to the 2000 census 298,215 persons
declared Navajo ancestry or tribal affiliation. An individual must be
at least one-quarter Navajo in order to be an enrolled tribal member,
according to Navajo law.
The Navajo Nation is divided into 110
Chapters (analogous to counties), grouped into five Agencies (Tribal
administrative districts). Kayenta is the only incorporated township.
Most population centers are clusters of housing around schools,
hospitals, trading posts, and chapter houses.
According to the
Navajo Nation's 2000-2001 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy,
the nation's unemployment rate is 44 percent, the median family income
is $11,885, and the per capita income is $6,217. Over 56 percent of
Navajos live below the poverty level, the highest poverty rate in the
U.S., even among American Indians. At the same time, 68 percent of
Navajo monies are spent in off-reservation communities. Of the 676
private employers, only 35 percent are Navajo-owned. Navajo Nation
government offices account for an additional 146 employers.
Navajos generate an estimated $40.5 million in the informal economy.
Much of this undocumented income is derived from family-bases
agriculture and craft enterprises. While date paint a picture of
poverty and desolation, Navajo people still have their land and most
enjoy a rich cultural, spiritual, and quotidian life based on
small-scale farming and ranching. These human strengths, traditional
lifeways, knowledge, values, and resources are the foundation for
Navajo Extension Programs.
This project represents three Land-Grant Universities, University of Arizona, New Mexico State University, and
Utah State University. Gerald Moore, a Navajo, is the Coordinating
Extension Agent and also supervises the Navajo Nation Shiprock
Extension Agent position. The focus of the project is to develop and
implement educational programs based on needs and direction from the
Navajo Nation government, Resource Committee, Department of
Agriculture, and 4-H and Youth Organizations.