Navajo Nation political issues

A Boston newspaper reports on an ongoing political battle pitting the president of the Navajo Nation against the majority of the tribal council.

The Navajo Nation Council stripped President Joe Shirley Jr. of his administrative powers in late October over allegations of ethical and criminal wrongdoing. The president’s supporters say this action came in retaliation for his attempt to reduce the tribal council from 88 to 24 members and to secure a line-item veto on appropriations legislation (something President Clinton tried for and lost).

Critics on the council say Shirley is carrying out a personal vendetta and targeting them. Tribal voters will decide this issue later this month in a special election.

The back-and-forth tension between the legislative and executive branches has created a sense of instability on the country’s largest American Indian reservation.

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