The Dine people are a cultural presence, we are defined by our historical identity,
social kinship, language, and traditional values all maintained within the boundaries
of the Four Sacred Mountains. A well defined geographical and spiritual
boundary we call Dine Beke'yah (Navajo Nation). Agriculture and livestock have
always been key to the evolution of Navajo society, economy, and in our development
as a sovereign Nation.
Livestock ownership and agriculture are timeless symbols of resourcefulness,
prosperity and social status. These are gifts bestowed by Holy Ones and are central
to Dine philosophy of Nizhonigo 'lina (beauty way of life). The adherence to
this philosophy, identity and cultural uniqueness is maintained among the Dine
people, and is recognized as the core foundation of our sovereignty.
The Navajo Nation is one of the largest federally recognized Indian tribes in North
America. The Navajo Indian Reservation covers an area that extends into the states
of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, an estimated land base of 25,351 square miles
or roughly the size of West Virginia. There are currently, 253,124 enrolled tribal
members with 168,000 individuals, who currently reside on the Navajo Nation. It
is estimated that eighty-two percent (82%) of the total population speak the Navajo
language, and still practice the traditional Navajo lifestyle.
The socio-economic conditions on the Navajo Nation are highlighted by limited
employment opportunities; the current unemployment rate is 48.5 percent, and average
household income is $8,240, well below the federal poverty guidelines.
These factors indicate a need for implementation of agricultural programs, policies,
regulations, and conservation programs to revitalize our rural economy for