Navajo Timeline

Year Navajo History World History
  • The Mohave Generating Station opened in Nevada. Fueled by coal mined on the Hopi and Navajo reservations, it was the only plant in the country to be run by a coal slurry pipeline, the Black Mesa Pipeline. Few Indians of either tribe knew that the tribal councils had sold water rights along with coal mining rights to the Peabody Coal Company (owned by Kennecott Copper). The slurry line used over a billion gallons of water a year in order to transport crushed coal through a 275 mile pipeline to the Nevada power plant. Within 2 years water levels began to drop and springs and water holes began to dry up. The electricity generated by the plant was sold to urban populations in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Tucson. Fewer than half of the Hopi or Navajo families had electricity. Struggles over the water used in the pipeline continue to the present. Despite repeated protests, the Office of Surface Mining refused to review the lease terms.
  • The Navajo Code Talkers Association was organized. It was made up of the legendary Navajo Code Talkers of World War II. As the code talkers died out, children of the Navajo Code Talkers started to take a more active role in the organization.
  • The undeclared war of the U.S. in Vietnam escalated with the secret invasion of Cambodia.
  • Because of protesting against the war and student civil disobedience on the Kent State campus in Ohio, tension escalated to a climax when four students were shot and killed by National Guardsmen. This marked a turning point in the opposition to the war and civil disobedience in the U.S.A.
  • KTDB-FM in Ramah, New Mexico. The first Indian owned and operated noncommercial station in the nation. It broadcasted local, state, and national news in Navajo and English. Call letters from Te'ochini Dinee Bi-Radio (Radio Voice of the People). It now broadcast from Pine Hill, New Mexico.
  • Richard Oakes, an organizer of the Puyallup-Nisqually fishing rights movement, found murdered. Tacoma, Washington, police claimed he had shot himself in the stomach. His murder was denounced in a press conference in Seattle held by Russell Means and other AIM members.
  • AIM's Trail of Broken Treaties caravan and occupation of the BIA offices in Washington, D.C. The caravan traveled from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., to highlight the U.S. history of broken treaties. Joined by vehicles from many reservations as it crossed the country, it was a four-mile procession of cars and trucks by the time it reached Washington. AIM developed a 20-point position paper on Indian rights to present to the Nixon administration. After an unsatisfactory meeting with Assistant Secretary Harrison Loesch, AIM eventually took over the federal BIA building for six days, in which 600 to 800 people took part. Because it was two days before the presidential election, the adminstration negotiated the end of the occupation rather than conducting a military assault. But the FBI expanded its counterintelligence program (COINTEL PRO) to include AIM, and 32 AIM leaders were later indicted for grand larceny and arson on charges growing out of the BIA occupation. The occupation brought Indian rights to the national agenda.
  • The Paiutes of Nevada won their suit against the Department of the Interior for unlawful water diversion of Pyramid Lake.
  • 1972 - 1974 - Watergate Scandal. In Washington, D.C., the arrest of burglars in the Watergate office complex who had connections to the White House began a coverup which ended in U.S. President Nixon's resignation in August 1974.
  • March 27 - Sacheen Littlefeather, representing actor Marlon Brando, refused his Oscar statue for Best Actor in the "Godfather" movie as a protest against media and governmental mistreatment of American Indians. She was booed, heckled, and trash would be thrown on stage at her as she made the following speech. "Hello. My name is Sacheen Littlefeather. I am an Apache and I am the President of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee. I'm representing Marlon Brando this evening and he has asked me to tell you, in a very long speech which I cannot share with you presently - because of time - but I will be glad to share with the press afterward, that he most very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award. And the reason for this being the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry, excuse me, and on television in movie re-runs, and also the recent happenings at Wounded Knee. I beg at this time that I have not intruded upon this evening and that we will, in the future, our hearts and our understanding will meet with love and generosity. Thank you on behalf of Marlon Brando."
  • Congress passed the Hopi Land Settlement Act (also called the Navajo Relocation Act), which eventually forced the relocation of more than 12,000 Navajos who lived over the coal deposits in the Hopi-Navajo Joint Use Area. It became the largest Indian removal since the 1800s. Harrison Loesch, Assistant Secretary of the Interior, testified that only 800 families would be affected by the law. Although the bill was ostensibly made to settle a land dispute between the Hopis and Navajos, it removed the people who lived over the coal and who were in the way of stripmining. The Peabody Coal Company opened a second mining site after the passage of the act. Loesch left the Interior Department to become Vice President of Peabody Coal.
  • The Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives voted 3 Articles of Impeachment against President Richard M. Nixon, the 37th President of the U.S., but he resigned in August 1974 before impeachment proceedings in the full House could begin. President Nixon was the first President to resign while in office, under the threat of impeachment.
  • Communist buildup of supplies and men in South Vietnam. South Vietnamese forces began to desert.
  • Oct 3 - George Patrick Lee, a 32 year old Navajo, was sustained as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and General Authority of the Mormon (LDS) Church on October 3, 1975. He would be the first and only American Indian to hold the respected high-ranking position within the Mormon Church. He would later be excommunicated on September 1, 1989, for criticizing President Ezra Taft Benson and the Quorum of Twelve Apostles for phasing out and eliminating Indian programs in the Mormon Church, as the Indian Placement Program, BYU's Indian Education Department, American Indian Services, and other items concerning the Mormon American Indian and his relationship to the Mormon Church. On October 1, 1994, George P. Lee would plead guilty to sexually molesting his daughter's girlfriend and would be placed on 18 months probation, ordered to pay a $1,850 fine, complete sex-offender counseling, write a letter of apology to the girl he had sexually abused, and pay the costs of her counseling. George P. Lee was scheduled to remain on Utah's registry of sex offenders until November 2011.
  • Leaders of 25 energy-resource tribes forged a coalition called the Council of Energy Resource Tribes (CERT). CERT enabled members to speak in a unified voice on energy matters to federal government officials and provided them with information, technical assistance, links to financial institution, and market services. From the beginning, CERT wanted tribes to gain control of their mineral resources. As of 1993, CERT with a membership of 53 tribes, was governed by the elected leadership of its member tribes and worked to attain self-sufficiency and self-government. Recognizing that trained and experienced Indian people were an important prerequisite to attaining these goals, CERT education programs prepared young Native Americans for careers in resource management. The Navajo Tribe, a member of CERT, has potential resources in Coal, Geothermal, Natural Gas, Oil, and Uranium.
  • World Population reaches four billion.
  • The U.S. gave up on Vietnam, causing North Vietnamese forces to capture Saigon.
  • KNDN-AM broadcasted from Farmington, New Mexico, where it was "All Navajo, All the Time". From 1957 to 1977, the station broadcasted some programs in Navajo under KWYK-AM. By the 1990s, the broadcasts were almost entirely in the Diné (Navajo) language except for some music.
  • The Alaska oil pipeline opened.
  • The U.S. Indian Education Act is passed. This act gave greater decision making powers to American Indian school boards.
  • KNCC-FM began broadcasting at Tsaile, Arizona, making the Navajo Tribe the first reservation with two radio stations.
  • June 8 - Spencer W. Kimball, Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons), announced a revelation from God that struck down a 148-year-old policy of excluding black men from the Mormon priesthood. Because of this announcement, latter leaders of the Mormon Church slowly downplayed and struck down their belief that the negroid race were the descendants of Cain. From the Book of Genesis 3: 9-16, of the Old Testament of the Holy Bible, Cain had a mark placed upon him for murdering his brother Abel. God had accepted Abel's offering of the first born of his pastured flock, and did not accept Cain's offering of vegetable crops. Cain became jealous of his brother Abel for God accepting Abel's offering and not his, and therefore murdered his brother. Mormons believed that the mark placed upon Cain and his descendants was the curse of getting a black skin.
            From Genesis 3: 9-16, the following is said: 9 ¶ And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he (Cain) said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? 10 And he (God) said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. 11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; 12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. 13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. 15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. 16 ¶ And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
  • July 16 - The largest nuclear accident in the United States (larger than the widely publicized Three Mile Island nuclear accident) occurred at a United Nuclear Company milling plant, the Kerr-McGee Mine, on the Navajo Nation in Church Rock, New Mexico. More than 1,100 tons of uranium waste gushed through a ruptured uranium tailing mill dam, releasing more than 100 million gallons of radioactive water into the Rio Puerco River. Livestock grazing near the river got untreatable sores, soon became ill and died. Navajos were forbidden to drink the water or sell their livestock. When tested, the Rio Puerco showed 6,000 times the allowable level of radioactivity. The river, which flows south from New Mexico into Arizona and empties in the Rio Grande River, showed radioactive groundwater spreading throught the geologic layer known as the Rio Puerco Alluviam. The cleanup still continues as a Superfund Site of the Department of Energy.
  • From the nuclear incident above, Vincent Craig and his father developed the Navajo cartoon strip "Muttonman". The story of its developed is explained by Vincent Craig as follows. "When I was in BYU in 1978, Jim Largo, the editor of the Navajo Times called me at school and asked me if I would be willing to do some kind of a cartoon strip. He had seen the cartoon strip I did for the Fort Apache Scout, my wife's tribal newspaper. (It was called 'Frybread and Beans.') Then I had another cartoon strip at BYU called 'Benny Yazzie Undergraduate.' You know, BYU. So I took a stab at it and came up with an idea that me and my dad sort of developed in a funny way.
            He (my father) used to herd sheep by his brother's place behind Church Rock along the Rio Puerco during the time that they had that radiation spill at the Kerr-McGee Mine and all that water came flooding out of there. My uncle's livestock was always in that water. My dad had walked through that all the time; he'd take his boots off. That's where we suspect the melanoma coming from on his foot. So anyway, we were riding horses there one time and (my father) says, 'I wonder if this water's really safe like the government says.' To'o daatsi' adaani'. Maybe they're just pulling our leg and they've developed some different type of standard for Indians, and it actually may be bad.'"
            "But, he was saying something like ''Ako ndi'. Although, wouldn't it be neat if it just sort of worked to our favor. It seems like we get through everything anyway. What if some Navajo eats some of this meat and get super powers?'" I said "yeah". "We're just laughing." "Yeah," I say, "faster than a blazing jackrabbit." Then I said, "Able to leap Shiprock in a single bounce." "And then we started just joking about this character. No matter how he's imbued with a special power, it's got to be limited. That's just the destiny of Indians: that their powers will always have limitations on it. That he's only going to be able to fly for five minutes, and he has to do everything in five minutes. And that thing just stayed in my head. So I developed a story line and that's where it (Muttonman) started."
  • 1979 - 1981 Iran hostage crisis. Muslin militants seized the U.S. embassy in Teheran and held 52 American hostages for 15 months to humiliate the U.S. The hostages were not released until the instance that Jimmy Carter left office (losing the election) and the new President Ronald Reagan was sworn into office in 1981.
  • Diabetes levels among older Native Americans begins to soar, with 1 out of every 4 Navajos having diabetes. Part of the problem is because of American Indians becoming less and less active and being more accustomed to eating Anglo food that is high in sugar.
  • The Chief Manuelito Scholarship was established. Awards are based on high school grade averages and the ACT/SAT test scores. Navajo students must have also completed Navajo language and Navajo government courses. This requirement has caused a biased for reservation Navajos since Navajos that are raised outside the Navajo Nation are unable to complete Navajo language and Navajo government courses.
  • 1980 - Workers strike in Poland. The independent unions formed a national federation, Solidarity, led by Lech Walesa.
  • The final deadline for the Navajo removal from the Hopi-Navajo Joint Use Lands. Purchase of nuclear contaminated lands as a place of relocation. Despite the legally mandated removal deadline of July 1986, thousands of Navajos remained on their lands because there was no place to move them to. The U.S. government extended the relocation deadline and allocated funds to purchase "New Lands" on which to resettle the Navajo, a series of contiguous ranches on the southern edge of the Navajo Nation. It was widely believed that the reason the ranchers were anxious to sell was because the Rio Puerco, whose radioactive waters (from the 1979 nulcear accident at the United Nuclear uranium milling plant) ran through a portion of these lands, had contaminated the ground water supply. The government appropriated monies to test the water supply.
  • The Navajo Tribe buys the 491,000 acre Big Boquillas Ranch for $33.6 million near Seligman, Arizona. The scheme about this was that two real estate men bought the ranch from the Tenneco Company in Bakersfield, California, for $26.2 million and sold it minutes later to the Navajo Tribe for $33.6 million. One realtor made a $4 million dollar profit, and Peter MacDonald, Chairman of the Navajo Tribe, got $25,000 to pay down on his $70,000 bank loan, and a 1 year old BMW 735i automobile. When the Federal government found out about this, the realtor caved in and agreed to wear a wire against MacDonald. The realtor was also given immunity from prosecution and an agreement from the Federal government not to take away his $4 million profit from the land deal.
  • KTNN-AM signed on the air in Window Rock, Arizona. The radio station, owned and operated by the Navajo Tribe, aired 20% of the station's programs in Navajo, Hopi, Apache, Pueblo, and Ute languages.
  • State of Emergency declared in South Africa, when more than 2,300 blacks were killed by white police.
  • World's worst nuclear accident at the Chernoblyl plant in Russia. Over 450,000 people living with in 30 miles of the plant are evacuated. Milk and agricultural products within 500 mile radius are banned. To this day, radiation levels are still high, and breat and thyroid cancer rates are exceptionally high and still being monitored.
  • Feb 17 - The Navajo Tribal Council placed Peter MacDonald, for 15 years the Chairman of the Navajo Tribe, on paid leave from his Navajo Chairmanship position because of bribery and corruption charges against him. Peter MacDonald's departure led to five months of internecine war on the reservation with the "Peter's Patrol" (MacDonald supporters) and the Navajo Tribal (Nation) government.
           Following the governmental crisis created by the three-term Navajo Tribal Chairman Peter MacDonald, the Navajo Tribal Council created the executive position of "Navajo Nation President" to replace that of "Navajo Tribal Chairman" and to limit future Navajo Nation Presidents to two consecutive terms in office. This was done so that future "MacDonalds" would not abuse their position as Chairman Peter MacDonald did and also to establish a greater checks and balances in the newly modified Navajo Nation's three-branch government. Mr. Leonard Haskie served as the Interim Navajo Nation President shortly after the tribe suspended Peter MacDonald as Navajo Tribal Chairman. The Navajo Tribal Council said it suspended Peter McDonald on Feb. 17, 1989, so he could answer charges of corruption.
           Though at times, some of the Navajo Tribal officials and its citizens were referring to their land as the Navajo Nation since the 1970s, changing the title and duties of "Navajo Tribal Chairman" to "Navajo Nation President" caused all verbal and written references of "Navajo Tribe" or "Navajo Reservation" to change to "Navajo Nation". To this day, some Navajos and other non-Navajos still refer to the Navajo Nation as the Navajo Tribe or the Navajo Reservation. "Tribe" referring to all the Navajo people, and "Reservation" because the highway signs placed along the borders of the Navajo Nation in the 1950s still say "You are now entering the Navajo Reservation".
  • July 20 - Peter MacDonald drew battle plans, and on July 20th, about 200 supporters of the Peter's Patrol tried to overthrow the tribal government and incited a fatal riot in Window Rock, Arizona. Peter's Patrol stormed the tribal administrative building and when the Navajo Tribal Police tried to stop them, battled the police with sticks. To stop the riot, the police fired on and killed two MacDonald supporters.
  • Sept 1 - George Patrick Lee, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and a General Authority of the Mormon Church, and the first American Indian to obtain such a high-ranking position in the Mormon Church, was excommunicated for "apostasy and other conduct unbecoming a member of the church." The Mormon Church officially said it would not discuss what topics caused the excommunication, but it was learned that Elder Lee had disagreements with President Ezra Taft Benson and the Quorum of Twelve Apostles concerning phasing out and elimination of the LDS Indian Placement Program and BYU's Indian Education Department and other Lamanite programs, and how the American Indian was being considered in the Mormon Church, as explained in his two hand written letters addressed to the Mormon President and the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. Five years later, on October 11, 1994, George P. Lee would plead guilty to sexual molestation of his daughter's girlfriend and would be placed on 18 months probation, ordered to pay a $1,850 fine, complete sex-offender counseling, write a letter of apology to the now teenage girl he had sexually abused, and pay the costs of her counseling. George P. Lee was scheduled to remain on Utah's registry of sex offenders until November 2011.
  • Oct 17 - 62 years old Peter MacDonald was convicted in Navajo court on 41 corruption charges, sentenced to nearly six years in jail and disqualified to run in the November 1990 Navajo Presidential election, although he had placed second in the Navajo Presidential primary with 15 candidates. MacDonald was released from jail after serving only three weeks to assist with his defense with his lawyer, William Cooley, but returned back to jail on November 27th.
  • The largest oil spill in history occurred off the coast of Alaska when the Exxon Valdez spilled 37,000 tons of oil. Native Indian lands and wildlilfe were polluted. Hundreds of thousands of fish, bird, and animals were killed. Exxon had no emergency cleanup plans in place for such an accident.
  • One million demonstrators in Tiananmen Square, China, for more democratic freedom, cause the crackdown killing thousands of Chinese demonstrators.
  • After mass demonstrations in East Germany, 2 million Germans crossed into West Berlin. The Berlin Wall was dismantled.
  • Fall of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia.
  • There were 210,000 members of the Navajo Nation.
  • U.S. Congress passed a compensation bill for Navajo uranium miners. After 35 years the government took responsibility for the inhumane conditions of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation. More than a thousand miners' families applied for benefits. Less than a third received awards because of a difficult bureaucratic process requiring documentation, such as pay stubs from 20 years earlier, that few Navajo families could meet. Former Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall, had represented the Navajo miners in their suit.
  • Nov 20 - Members of the Navajo Nation elected 53 year old Peterson Zah, former Navajo Chairman from 1983 to 1987, over interim Navajo Nation President Leonard Haskie, for the new post of Navajo Nation President that took effect January 15, 1991. An unexpected strong showing by write-in candidate, 47 year old George Patrick Lee, who gained some notoriety a year before as the only Indian leader in the Mormon Church who was excommunicated after he criticized the Mormon President and the Quorum of Twelve Apostles for phasing out and eliminating Indian programs in the Mormon Church. Peterson said "The first order of business is going to be to restore the tribal government so that it once again enjoys a good reputation, integrity, accountability … People would like to see an honest person in that position to lead the Navajo Nation." Out of 51,134 Navajos that voted, Peterson won with 45% of the vote, Leonard Haskie got 32% of the vote, and write-in candidate George P. Lee got 21% of the vote. The low turn out of 51% of the 100,000 registered Navajo voters was caused by the political distress of the then past two years, disillusionment with the tribal government and the frequent changing of the election date after Peter MacDonald's conviction and disqualification.
  • Nelson Mandela was released from prison in South Africa, after 20 years.
  • World population reached 5.3 billion.
  • "National American Indian Heritage Month" was officially designated for the month of November in the United States of America as a month of celebration of the various tribal cultures of mainland U.S.A., Hawaii, and Alaska. It aimed to educate the American public about the history, traditions, and art of the Native American Indian, Hawaiian, Eskimo, and Inuit peoples, by featuring events dedicated to raising awareness about this fascinating aspect of American cultural richness. Yet this was in word only. Compared to "Hispanic Heritage Month" and "African-American Month", little financial resources and little effort from the public schools or television media were put in to make the American public aware that this was the month of the Native American. More emphasis during this period was given to the holidays, Halloween (occuring just before the beginning of November) and Thanksgiving (occurring during the end of November), when American Indians are mentioned during Thanksgiving because of the Pilgrims' thankfulness of American Indian hospitality during the Pilgrims' hardships in this new land.
  • Lard which was the original grease used in making Navajo Fry Bread since the Navajos were interned at Fort Sumner, had slowly moved to using mono-unsaturated oil (canola or peanut oil). Therefore, Navajos used either canola oil, peanut oil, or lard, in making their Fry Bread. Yet lard was still used by the majority of Navajos. Wheat flour which was originally introduced to the Navajos after returning from Fort Sumner, had now added Barley flour as another choice in making their food.
  • 1990-1991 The Persian Gulf War. Iraq invaded Kuwait. The U.S. enter to expel Iraqui soldiers from Kuwait.
  • 1992-1996 The breakup of Yugoslavia causes the Serbs of Serbia to bring war to the Croats and Muslims living within the old boundaries of Yugoslavia. Tens of thousands are killed, and more than 1 million are forced to leave their homes.
  • KGHR-FM, the first Indian high school radio station in the country signed on the air in Tuba City, Arizona. It became this small town's second radio station, and third public broadcasting station based on the Navajo Nation.
  • Indian groups succeeded in having the Custer Battlefield National Monument in Montana renamed the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.
  • Foxwoods gambling casino opened in Ledyard, Connecticut, by the Pequot Indians. It eventually became the single most profitable casino outside of Las Vegas. Indian nations throughout the country, whose reservation lands are exempt from state laws prohibiting gambling, were approached by professional gambling operations like Bally's to open casinos with the profits shared between the tribe and the professionals. By 1995, more than a hundred Indian reservations had opened casinos as an economic measure to provide jobs and income for poor reservations.
  • START treaty signed by U.S. President Bush and Soviet Premier Gorbachev, calling for a historical first-ever reduction in long-range nuclear arms, to amount to 30% of stockpiles by 1998.
  • Collapse of the U.S.S.R. and the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent states. The Soviet republics declared independence. The Communist Party was dissolved. Gorbachev was out of power.
  • On February 1993, Peter MacDonald, former Chairman of the Navajo Tribe, was sentenced in a federal building in Phoenix to 14 years in Federal Prison in Bradford, Pennsylvania, for trying to over throw the tribal government and inciting a fatal riot in Window Rock, Arizona, which caused the deaths of two MacDonald supporters, and for fraud, racketeering and conspiracy convictions. He had previously been given a paid leave from office for bribery and corruption charges against the Navajo Nation. This sentence was to be served concurrently with the 7 years sentence he is serving in a tribal jail in Tuba City, Arizona. He has already served 93 days of that sentence. He currently is in bad health. He suffered a heart attack in March 1996, and after complaining of chest pains in March 1998, he was transferred to the Federal Medical Center, 3150 Horton Road, Fort Worth, TX 76119. He then went through quadruple bypass surgery on July 16, 1998. Ten other MacDonald supporters were also sentence for various federeral charges stemming from the riot occuring on July 20, 1989.
  • On April 12, 1993, Peter MacDonald began serving his prison sentence in a federal correctional facility in Bradford Pennsylvania. He was convicted for violations of the Navajo Nation Code and matching federal charges. His schedule release date is April 20, 2002.
  • Terrorist hit the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York City.
  • Roberta Blackgoat, Navajo, was named "America's Unsung Woman" by the National Women's History Project for her 20 year leadership in the environmental and human rights struggle on Black Mesa and the ongoing removal of 12,000 Navajos. Mrs. Blackgoat, a 77 year old grandmother and Navajo elder, had traveled to the United Nations in Switzerland and New York to present the case of the Navajo relocatees. In addition to presenting the human rights case of the Navajos, she had drawn attention to the environmental issues surrounding stripmining, the pollution of the Grand Canyon from power plants, the contamination of the water supply, and the larger issues of ecocide on Native American reservations. By attending a stockholders meeting of Hanson's Ltd. in London, the new multinational parent company of Peabody Coal, she drew attention to the absentee ownership of the stripmines on Black Mesa. The export of environmental issues to third world areas is an international recognized issues under review by several UN commissions.
  • Oct 11 - Excommunicated Mormon Seventy and General Authority George Patrick Lee would plead guilty to sexual molestation of his daughter's girlfriend and would be placed on 18 months probation, ordered to pay a $1,850 fine, complete sex-offender counseling, write a letter of apology to now teenage girl he had sexually abused, and pay the costs of her counseling. George P. Lee was scheduled to remain on Utah's registry of sex offenders until November 2011.
  • Apr 25 - The Navajo Nation Council granted Peter MacDonald, a tribal pardon, signed by Navajo President Albert Hale, for his convictions of the Navajo Nation Code.
  • Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister of Israel, assassinated by a fundamentalist Jew bent on stopping the peace negotiations with Palestinians.
  • The Oklahoma City bombing.
  • African-American football legend, O.J. Simpson, was acquitted of murdering his Anglo-American wife in Los Angeles, and vowed to find the killer. He would later be found guilty in civil court for the murder of his wife.
  • The southeast asian nation of Burma changed its name to Myanmar.
  • For the first time in an Indian suit against a multinational energy company, a federal judge in Arizona ruled for the Navajo traditionalist of Black Mesa and against the London-based Hanson's Ltd., owner of Peabody Coal Company, America's largest coal producer. In denying the company a permanent operating permit until they were in compliance with the law, the federal judge agreed with the Navajo plaintiffs, saying that Peabody's Kayenta coal strip-mine polluted the air, contaminated groundwater, affected the health of Indians in the area, killed their sheep, and destroyed Indian burial sites. In the landmark ruling the judge said the Office of Surface Mining had not been stringent enough in insuring that the mine met permit requirements and observed that the agency had too high a "tolerance ... to the adverse effects mining has upon the lives and well-being of Native Americans." The suit was initiated by the Dine Alliance, a Navajo organization of more than 500 traditionalist Navajos from Black Mesa, in cooperation with a Phoenix base environmental group called Don't Waste Arizona. The coal mined at the Kayenta site supplies electricity for greater Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas, as well as power to run the department of the interior's water project known as the Central Arizona Project, often described as the most expensive water project in the world.
  • World population reaches 5.75 billion. More than half live in India and China.
  • Couples around the world do "the Macarena", a dance movement that moved to the popular song "the Macarena".
  • In the U.S., the "Unabomber" is turned in by his own brother. He turned out to be an ex-Berkeley Mathematics Professor who lived in a wooden shack in Idaho.
  • After being rocked by many scandals, the Navajo Nation had four Navajo Presidents in one year. They were Albert Hale, Thomas Atcitty, Kelsey Begaye, and Milton Bluehorse Sr.
  • In December 1998, the House of Representatives voted to impeach U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd President of the U.S., charging him with perjury and obstruction of justice in investigations of his relationship with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.
  • March 31 - The deadline date for Navajos living on Hopi partitioned land to sign a 75 year lease with the Hopi Tribe on their newly acquired land. This deadline was caused by the Navajo Hopi Land Settlement Act of 1996. Those who refused to sign or apply for federal relocation benefits were given federal eviction notices. The eviction notices extended their ability to sign or file for federal relocation benefits until Feb. 1, 2000. Those who did not sign believed that the land was given to them by their Holy Ones, and that their traditional Navajo sacred sites lie in the area. They had challenged the Hopi Tribe to show them their Hopi sacred sites to no avail.
  • June 1 - A warrior's farewell was given by the Navajo Nation at Northern Arizona University for Naaltsoos Sani (1868 Treaty with the Navajo Tribe). It was then returned to a dark vault at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., to be preserved with 370 other Indian treaties.
  • June 21 - The Navajo Nation filed a lawsuit against the Peabody Western Coal Company and its utility customers, Southern California Edison Co. and the Salt River Project, for about $1.6 billion.
           Since 1964, Peabody had been strip mining coal from the Black Mesa and Kayenta Mines under two separate leases with the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe.
           The nation stated in its lawsuit that the energy corporations "engaged in misconduct that included corruption of a federal administrative appeal, fraudulent misrepresentation, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, breach of contract and interference with the fiduciary relationship" between the federal government and the Navajo Nation from 1985 to 1987.
           The alleged scheming of the companies resulted in the nation receiving a royalty rate increase of 12.5% per ton of coal instead of the B.I.A.'s recommended 20%.
           The nation had been receiving 2%, or between 20 and 37 cent per ton of their coal, which fuels the Navajo Generating Station near Page and the Mohave Generating Station in Laughlin, Nevada.
           Southern California operates the Mohave Generating Station, which uses 18,000 tons of coal daily. The Salt River Project's Navajo Generating Station consumes 25,000 tons of coal daily.
  • Aug. 11 - The Navajo Nation sued 9 of the U.S.A.'s tobacoo giants. These industries had reached a settlement with 46 states in 1998 to pay more than $200 billion in the first 25 years to recover Medicaid costs for treating smoking related illnesses. Yet, American Indian Nations and Tribes were not included in the settlement.
           The nation is asking for 3 times the cost of each pack of cigarettes sold to Navajos, or $5,000 for each advertisement that violated the Navajo Nation Civil Tobacco Liability Enforcement Act, or $100,000 for each unfair act or practice in violation of the Act.
  • Aug - The Navajo Nation Council passed the Navajo Nation Excise Fuel Tax which would cause 18 cents per gallon of gasoline to go to the Navajo Nation treasury instead of to the states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. The tax is expected to generate about $10.8 million annually. There will be no increase on reservation gas prices, since state gas taxes charged reservation consumers is about the same rate as Navajo gas tax. The fuel tax went into effect in October. Census and enrollment numbers seldom match because the Census count deals with demographics. Some Navajos can't back up their heritage with documentation.
  • Dec 1 - The Bureau of Indian Affairs conducted an estimate on the total number of Navajo tribal members indicating there were 212,319 Navajo tribal members. The Shiprock Agency made up the most with 48,267, followed by Fort Defiance - 45,964, Tuba City - 45,214, Crownpoint - 36,398, Chinle - 34,201 and Ramah - 2,275. Alamo and Tohajiilee were included with the Crownpoint Agency. These results differed from a 1995 study by the Navajo Division of Community Development which listed 259,556 Navajos. Of those based on a second study in 1997, 165,614 lived on the Navajo Nation.
  • Napster was co-founded by Shawn Fanning, an 18-year old student at Northeastern University, and Sean Parker. The company later was sued by the Recording Industry Association of American and 18 record companies for copyright infrigements in cyberspace. Napster felt that control of the internet technologies, not copyright laws, was the major issue of the recording industries legal fight against the popular music sharing website. Napster, a computer code, written by Shawn Fanning in about 60-hours, indexes MP3 files, by searching for and downloading free digital music recordings directly from the computer hard drives of other users via the Internet. MP3 is a compression format that turns music on compact disc into smaller files. By enabling individuals to tap into each other's personal song files, Napster had the potential to create the world's biggest bootleg record collection.
  • April 17 - U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton visited the Navajo Nation at Shiprock, NM. His purpose was to bridge the "digital divide" between the Navajo Nation and the rest of U.S.A. He was introduced to the crowd by Myra Jodie, a 13 years old Navajo girl from Ganado, AZ. Myra Jodie had won a Macintosh computer by a national drawing from a company, but could not be contacted for months because her family dwelling was isolated deep within the Navajo Nation with no phone and electricity, and physical access to her was difficult.
  • May - Navajo Code Talkers G.I. Joe doll made its debut.The 12-inch doll looked and spoke Navajo. It spoke in 7 different Navajo phrases which were followed by an English translation. Navajo Code Talker Association President and Navajo Nation Council Delegate, Samuel Billison of Kinlichee, AZ, provided the voice for the doll, which was adorned in a standard-issue World War II U.S. Marine Corps uniform that included a camouflage-covered helmet, web belt, hand phone set, backpack radio, M-1 rifle, dog tags, shirt, pants and boots. The action figure honored the Navajo men who used their language to transmit thousands of messages between American forces in the South Pacific during World War II. The enemy forces were never able to decipher the Navajo code, which was a main reason for the allied victory in the war. It wasn't until 1968 that the U.S. military declassified the code making the service of the Navajo Code Talkers public knowledge.
  • July 24 - Navajo Nation Council gave a thumbs-up to the Tohajiilee Chapter to plan to set up a Casino. Navajo Nation President Kelseye Begaye did not veto the resolution because the Tohajiilee Navajo Reservation is separate and far east of the main Navajo Nation.
  • Oct - Navajo P.G.A. Golfer, Notah Begay III, played with a 12-member U.S. team against an International team to win the President's Cup in Gainesville, VA. Notah Begay III earned a position on the U.S. golfing team based on his professional performance that year.
  • Oct 7 - Dr. Annie Dodge Wauneka, who passed away in 1997, was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, N.Y. Dr. Wauneka was born April 10, 1910 in the Sawmill, AZ area. Her father was Henry Chee Dodge, the last official "Chief" of the Navajo Tribe, and the 1st Chairman of the Navajo Tribal Council. She attended B.I.A. schools at Fort Defiance and Albuquerque Indian School. In 1951 she was the first woman elected to the Navajo Tribal Council and represented Klagetoh, AZ. She served on the Health and Welfare Committee. In 1956, she was appointed to the U.S. Surgeon General's Advisory Committee on Indian Health. On Dec. 6, 1963, she was nominated by U.S. President John F. Kennedy for the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in peacetime. The award was presented to her by the new U.S. President, Lyndon B. Johnson, because U.S. President John F. Kennedy, had just been assassinated in Dallas, TX, less than 2 weeks before, by ex-Marine Lee Harvey Oswald.
  • Dec 21 - U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton approved Congressional Medals for WWII Navajo Code Talkers. The signed bill will grant Congressional Gold Medals to the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers, and Congressional Silver Medals to about 300 other Navajo Code Talkers who followed them to the Pacific Theater during World War II.
  • 2000 U.S. Census for American Indians - "American Indians" as classified by the U.S. census represented 0.6627% of the U.S. total population. 1,865,119 American residents classified themselves as "American Indians", 921,617 were male, and 943,501 were female, of a total U.S. population of 281,421,906. Their median age was 28 years. Of those 25 years and older, 40.86% had a high school diploma are higher, 6.81% had a bachelors degree are higher. Of the total American Indian population, 8.34% had served in U.S. military service, 44.50% were employed, 55.50% were unemployed, 25.47% were below the poverty level. Of American Indians 15 years and older, 16.51% of married males were separated, and 16.68% of married females were separated. Of American Indians 5 years and older, 25.64% were bilingual.
  • The new millenium doomsday prediction of Y2K computer problems throughout the world arrived glitch-free.
  • The U.S. tiptoed into the chaos of Colombia's interminable civil war, in the name of fighting drugs, yet the U.S.A.'s biggest drug pusher was the U.S. government, shoveling Ritalin into public school pupils, especially boys, to cure their boyishness.
  • Professional wrestling's popularity (The "Rock" - Dwayne Johnson), a television program about voting people off a deserted island, adults playing on little silver scooters, and torrid sales of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire", the 4th novel about the boys and girls at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, were evidence of the infantilization of the U.S.A.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, the AIDS pandemic raged.
  • Saddam Hussein spent another year in what U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, contentedly called a "box". Trouble was, he was in there building weapons of mass destruction.
  • Crude oil prices soared as OPEC curtailed production, leading to a worldwide outcry over high fuel costs and prompting the U.S. to dip into its strategic reserves.
  • Feminists in several nations worked to ban male urinals because urinating standing up was an assertion of aggressive masculinity.
  • Jan 19 - Hedy Lamarr, the sultry Screen Actress and 1940s Glamour and Pin-Up Girl, died alone at her home in Florida at the age of 86. She ran away and left her first husband coming to Hollywood, CA, from Vienna at the age of 19 in 1937, after performing nude in the then-shocking Czech film, Ectasy. She made numerous American films and had 6 husbands, all ending in divorce.
        What she will be remembered for in the scientific community was her co-invention of a spread-spectrum technique for secure communications, that prevented radio signals from being jammed. The patent's ideas foreshadowed secure cellular communications. She was inspired by her 1st husband, an arms dealer who sold to the Nazis.
        As legend would have it, she and avant-garde Composer George Antheil developed the idea while improvising duets on the piano, after they realized they were reacting to one another's key changes. She and Antheil sketched the idea together as a means to prevent jamming of radio-controlled torpedoes, a topic she'd gleaned through her first husband, a munitions dealer to the Nazis.
        The idea was to have the radio communication change frequencies continually, with receivers on both ends making the changes in sync. Antheil and Lamarr received a U.S. patent in 1942, but because the scheme's synchronization relied on cumbersome paper tape similar to piano rolls, the military declined to use the invention. But decades later, after the patent had expired, the rise of computer chips made synchronized spectrum spreading easy and affordable. The military did eventually adopt the concept, and the technology had gained commonplace use in wireless and satellite communications. But the pair never made any money off their invention.
        Lamarr's work in technology was at odds not just with her screen persona, but with her era, when women were discouraged from scientific careers.
  • Feb 12 - Charles Schulz, famous American Cartoonist who created the comic strip, "Peanuts", died at 77 years of age in Santa Rosa, CA, due to colon cancer. He single-handedly designed, researched, wrote, and drew every panel and strip that appeared in daily and Sunday newspapers around the world. His Peanuts characters, Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Woodstock, Franklin, Sally, Peppermint Patty, Schroeder, Pig Pen, Marcie, & Rerun, made light of melancholy themes, such as loneliness and insecurity. His cartoon strip "Peanuts", which 1st ran Oct. 2, 1950, would now be called "Classic Peanuts", because they were reissued to newspapers. "Peanuts" lived on as one of the most successful comic strips in newspaper history, appearing in some 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries and translated into 21 languages.
  • March - Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla) visited the Holy Land and begged forgiveness for the sins that his Roman Catholic Church had did to the Jews. Many of his boyhood soccer chums in Wadowice, Poland, a town not an hour's drive from Auschwitz, had been Jewish. As a young seminarian in Krakow in the 1940s, Wojtyla noticed that Jewish friends were vanishing from the streets and cafés; he was also painfully aware of the Catholic Church's knowledge of the concentration camps that the Jews were being sent to. Pope John Paul II was determined to seek conciliation between Catholics and Jews, and also other issues and races that the Catholic Church had abused throughout the centuries, by offering apologies.
  • April 22 - After months of political and legal wrangling, 131 armed federal agents in a predawn raid, seized Elián González, and later returned him to Cuba with his father. It became the world's angriest custody dispute and an all-consuming media circus in the U.S.A.
        It started on Nov. 22, 1999, when the 5-year-old boy and 13 other Cubans, including his mother, Elísabet, 30-years-old, had left everything behind in Cuba to set off for Florida in a 17-ft. motorboat to seek better conditions and to live with relatives living in the U.S. On Thanksgiving Day, Elián was found dazed alone in the ocean, clinging to an inner tube 3 miles off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Only 2 adults and Elián had survived the perilous boat trip from Cuba to the U.S. His mom was one of the fatalities.
        For 7 months, he was taken care of by his Great-Uncle, Lázaro González, a Cuban emigré who lived in Miami with his family and daughter, Marisleysis, 22-year old, who became the boy's mother figure. Elián's father, Juan Miguel González, 32-year-old, a Bartender in Cárdenas, Cuba, who was divorced from Elián's mom, wanted his son back in Cuba.
        U.S. politicians took sides, with anti-Castro Republicans & Democrats arguing for asylum, and other Republican & Democrats asking for the letter of the law, which seemed to indicate that a father's will should prevail. For Cuban-Americans of South Florida, the struggle over Elián became another means to shout defiance at their everlasting enemy, Fidel Castro. For Castro, it became one more opportunity to mobilize anti-Americanism at home by stagging rallies.
        U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno sought to get Elián to a neutral site, but Elián's Miami relatives were unwilling to give him up. As many as 500 Cuban-Americans surrounded the little house where Elián was staying to prevent him being taken by the federal government.
        But on April 22, at 5 a.m., federal agents moved in, powered past 50 Cuban-Americans who guarded the home's entrance and took the boy from the arms of Donato Dalrymple, 1 of the fisherman, who rescued Elián from the ocean. Elián was taken to a home in Maryland where he and his father got reacquainted to await the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court which later declined to consider the case.
        The U.S. government later "honored" the 131 agents who stormed Lázaro González's household to take Elián as "heroism".
  • April 28 - A U.S. federal judge ordered Microsoft Corp. to split up in to 2 separate companies. Microsoft filed an appeal which was still pending. This antitrust decision could result in the largest government-ordered restructuring since AT&T's breakup in 1984.
        One company would be responsible for Microsoft "Windows", the operating system that runs most of the world's personal computers, and the other for everything else the company produced including its internet services and lucrative Microsoft Office suite applications, which included the "Word" word processing program and the "Excel" spreadsheet program.
        Microsoft would have to divulge to outside developers technical information about how its operating systems interacted with its software. Those developers would be able to pick apart the computer code without cost to improve their understanding of it and make their own products. Microsoft also no longer controlled what icons would be on the Windows operating screen when a user bought a computer. A person who bought a computer from a distributor such as Dell or Gateway would see a desktop that looked nothing like the usual Windows desktop.
        Microsoft had engineered products throughout the years as MS-DOS, Word, Windows, and the Microsoft Mouse.
  • May - The 4 Ghost of Alabama - 37 years (Sept. 15, 1963) after a bomb killed 4 African-American girls in Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church during Sunday School, 2 men, were arrested and indicted for murder charges for the crime. Killed were, Carol Denise McNair (11-years-old), Cynthia Wesley (14-years-old), Carole Robertson (14-years-old), & Addie Mae Collins (14-years-old). Another 20 people were injured in the blast. The bombing became a catalyst to the civil rights movement in 1963. The 2 men arrested were, Thomas E. Blanton Jr. (61-years-old), and Bobby Frank Cherry (69-years-old), both former Ku Klux Klansmen.
        The attack was one of the most horrific crimes of the civil rights era, but only 1 suspect in the case, Robert E. Chambliss, who was convicted of murder in 1977, and died in jail in 1985, had been brought to justice. The involvement of several others had long been suspected.
        This was how Harrison Salisbury, a New York Times Reporter, described Birmingham, or Bombingham as it was called in civil-rights circles, in 1963: "Whites and Blacks still walk the same streets. But the streets, the water supply and the sewer system are about the only public facilities they share. Ball parks and taxicabs are segregated. So are libraries. A book featuring black rabbits and white rabbits was banned. A drive is on to forbid `Negro music' on `white' radio stations. Every channel of communication, every medium of mutual interest, every reasoned approach, every inch of middle ground has been fragmented by the emotional dynamite of racism, reinforced by the whip, the razor, the gun, the bomb, the torch, the club, the knife, the mob, the police and many branches of the state's apparatus."
  • June - The scientific high point, if not of all of intellectual history, was the decoding of the human genetic code (DNA) or human genome, and mapping it. The break through was performed by 2 competiting U.S. scientist, J. Craig Venter of Celera Genomics, and Francis Collins. Venter crashed through the human genome project in 9 months.
  • July - At Camp David, Israel's Prime Minsiter Ehud Barak offered Yasir Arafat unprecedented concessions, and the result was (redundant) evidence for the axiom that no good deed goes unpunished. The ancient conflict between the Palestinians and the Jews resulted in hundreds of deaths, mostly Palestinians, and a resolution to their problems seemed improbable.
  • July 1 - South Carolina's American citizens were still at daggers drawn over the Confederate flag, which was officially removed from the dome of the State House and from the House and Senate legislative chambers on July 1 in South Carolina. On May 23, 2000, South Carolina Governor, Jim Hodges, signed S. 1266 into law, the removal of the Confederate Flag.
        Opponents of the flag said it was a symbol of slavery, while defenders said it was a symbol of southern heritage, honoring those who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. As spoken by King's eldest son, Martin Luther King III, "The flag is a terrible symbol that brings a lot of negative energy. And while we believe the flag has an appropriate place, it just does not belong on top of the Capitol because it is not a sign of unification."
        Republican Presidential candidate, George Bush, avoided the issue, while Vice-President Al Gore, the Democrat running against Bush for the U.S. Presidency, felt that the flag should be removed from the State Capitol.
  • July 14 - A Miami jury ordered the tobacco industry to pay a record $145 billion in punitive damages to sick Florida smokers. Tobacco lawyers warned the verdict, if upheld, could bankrupt the tobacco industry.
        Tobacco industries ordered to pay were: Philip Morris U.S.A. Inc. (a little less than $74 billion), R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (more than $35 billion), Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. (more than $16 billion), Lorillard Tobacco Co. (more than $16 billion), Liggett Group Inc. ($790 million), Council for Tobacco Research (about $1.2 million), and the Tobacco Institute (about $278,000).
        The 6-member jury already had decided that the tobacco industry made a deadly, defective product and awarded $12.7 million in compensatory damages to 3 sick smokers. The attorney representing between 300,000 and 700,000 sick smokers in the class-action suit had asked the jury to award up to $196 billion in punitive damages.
        The tobacco industry had left a half-century trail of deceit which had decimated millions of Americans. As spoken by Attorney Stanley Rosenblatt, who represented the sick smokers, in his closing arguments, "Never have so few caused so much harm to so many for so long, and the day of reckoning has arrived."
  • Aug 9 - The U.S. tiremaker company, Firestone, recalled more than 6.5 million SUV tires in the U.S.A. (and thousands more in other countries) following complaints of tread separations, blowouts and other problems that caused accidents and deaths, most involving Ford's Explorer SUV. The U.S. government had linked 148 deaths and hundreds of injuries to the tires.
        A lot of the problems reverted back to 1989 when an internal Ford Motor Company document showed that the Ford Explorer SUV had failed safety tests and was at risk for rollovers when it was equipped with tires inflated to 35 psi. Subsequent tests found it did not have that instability problem when the tires were inflated to 26 psi. Ford then recommended original tires on the Ford Explorer be filled at the 26 psi level.
        Ford told the public that if they wanted to make their SUV truck drive like a car, that they should reduce the air pressure in the tire. What the public was not told was that when they increased the tire pressure, they increased the harshness of the ride and the possibility of a rollover. When they decreased the tire pressure to make the ride more comfortable, they increased the temperature and the amount of flex in the sidewall, which would causes other problems for the tire. Temperature had put the tire together and temperature would take the tire apart.
        The name "Firestone" was becoming synonymous with tire recalls.
  • Oct 5 - The 13-year rule of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic ended abruptly as thousands stormed the Yugoslav Parliament and forced Milosevic to hand power to Vojislav Kostunica, a Professor and Head of the center-right Democratic Party of Serbia. The reason for the protest, rallies, & rioting, Kostunica had won 48.22% of the popular vote, and Milosevic had won only 40.23%, yet Milosevic wanted to stay in power.
  • Oct 12 - The U.S.S. Cole destroyer was attacked in Yemen when explosives transported in a small boat ripped open the hull of the 505 foot destroyer; 17 U.S. sailors died.
  • Dec - The U.S. Presidential election became the longest in U.S. history, when Republican George W. Bush eventually emerged the winner over Democrat, Vice-President Al Gore, 5-weeks (36-days) after the Nov. 7th Election Day, resulting in an overtime election with unprecedented legal twists.
        The night of Election Day, Nov. 7, Florida was called for Gore, then the networks sheepishly pulled Florida back from Gore, then at 2:15 a.m. EST, Florida was called for Bush, and Bush got a congratulatory phone call from Vice-President Gore and conceded.
        Yet as U.S. Vice-President Al Gore went to make his concession speech to his crowd of supporters, one of his aides told him that the vote margin was 900, then 500! At 3:45 a.m., Gore then called Bush a 2nd time, to withdraw his concession. As the conversation went, "As you may have noticed, things have changed", and then, "Well, there's no reason to get snippy."
        Recounts were followed by challenges that were chased by lawsuits. Politically bias decisions were declared by the Florida Secretary of State, Florida Supreme Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Ultimately, the decision of electing the U.S. President was not performed by the people, but by the U.S. Supreme Court. U.S. Vice-President Al Gore had won the popular vote of the U.S. election, but because of the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Florida was awarded to Bush with less than an unofficial 132 vote margin (no official recount was performed), and George Bush won the the U.S. Presidency by winning the Electoral College's electoral vote.
  • Jan 20 - In one of his final acts, 2 hours before noon on Saturday, before stepping from office as President of the United States, U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton, pardoned more than 140 Americans, and commuted the prison sentences for 36 Americans, including a commutation for Peter MacDonald Sr., 72-years-old, the former President of the Navajo Nation and a Navajo Code Talker during World War II.
        Peter MacDonald Sr. was trained as a radioman but never used the code in action because World War II ended while he was at a transition center in Hawaii. For years, MacDonald was not accepted into the Navajo Code Talker Association (NCTA) because they could not verify his record. Only in recent years had the NCTA officials and the Navajo President's office lobbied for his inclusion.
        Before his commutation, Peter MacDonald Sr. had been in a Fort Worth, Texas, medical prison since his 1992 sentence for his role in a Window Rock, AZ, riot that resulted in the deaths of two of his supporters in 1989. Peter MacDonald Sr. had been removed from office for taking bribes and kickbacks. The 2 supporters were killed on July 20, 1989, by Navajo Nation Police during a march to protest what they considered a coup against their leader, Peter MacDonald. MacDonald, had deteriorating health and had served 8-years of a 14-year sentence for inciting the deadly riot.
        The purpose of a pardon is to grant official forgiveness of a crime. It does not expunge a person's criminal record, but it can have the effect, depending on the state in which the person lives, of restoring some of the civil rights that a criminal conviction takes away, such as the right to vote, to run for office and to carry a firearm. Unlike a pardon, a commutation does not imply forgiveness of the underlying offense but merely shortens the punishment.
  • Jul 26 - Four of the remaining Navajos of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers who developed and initiated the secret Navajo code were given the Gold Congressional Medal of Honor by President Bush in the Capitol Rotunda at Washington, DC. Only 5 of the original 29 were alive and only 4 were able to attend. The 4 Navajo Code Talkers who attended the event were John Brown Jr. of Crystal, NM., Chester Nez of Albuquerque, NM., Allen Dale June of West Valley City, UT; and Lloyd Oliver of Phoenix, AZ. Joe Palmer, also one of the original 29, was unable to attend for health reasons.
        Many of the families and relatives of the original 29 and the other approximately 400 Navajo Code Talkers were invited to the event. The other deceased code talkers of the original 29 were represented at the ceremony by family members: Charlie Y. Begay, Roy L. Begay, Samuel H. Begay, John Ashi Benally, Wilsie H. Bitsie, Cosey S. Brown, John Chee, Benjamin Cleveland, Eugene R. Crawford, David Curley, Lowell S. Damon, George H. Dennison, James Dixon, Carl N. Gorman, Oscar B. Ilthma, Alfred Leonard, Johnny R. Manuelito, William McCabe, Jack Nez, Frank Denny Pete, Nelson S. Thompson, Harry Tsosie, John Willie and William Dean Wilson.
        John Brown Jr., one of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers, spoke on behalf of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers, thanking the President and the U.S. Congress.
  • Nov 24 - The other remaining Navajo Code Talkers (not the original 29) of approximately 400 Navajo Code Talkers were given the Silver Congressional Medal of Honor at Nakai Hall, Navajo Nation Fairgrounds, in Window Rock, AZ. Few of the remaining 400 Navajo Code Talkers were alive to attend. Instead many family members of deceased Navajo Code Talkers accepted their medals. Politicians and celebrities seated on the podium were NM Senator Udall who gave an outstanding presentation, AZ State Representative Sylvia Laughter (Navajo, D-Kayenta), NM State Legislature Senator John Pinto (Navajo, D-Tohatchi), Golfer Notah Begay III (Navajo/Pueblo), Miss Navajo Nation Jolyana Begay, Navajo Nation President Kelsey Begaye, Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council Edward Begay, and NM Senator Jeff Bingaman's Assistant Dana Krupa. Unfortunately, NM Senator Jeff Bingaman was not able to attend in person.
        Former Navajo Chairman Peter MacDonald and NM Senator John Pinto received the Silver Congressional Medal of Honor as Navajo Code Talkers even though they never served in action as Navajo Code Talkers. They were being trained as radiomen and were at a transition center in Hawaii when World War II ended.
        For years, MacDonald was not accepted into the Navajo Code Talker Association (NCTA) because they could not verify his record. Only in recent years had the NCTA officials and the Navajo President's office lobbied for his inclusion. MacDonald spent 8 years incarcerated in a federal prison, and was commuted by U.S. President Bill Clinton, in the last 2 hours of his presidency in January 20, 2001. Peter MacDonald had been in a Fort Worth, TX, medical prison since his 1992 sentence for his role in a Window Rock, AZ riot that resulted in the deaths of two of his supporters in 1989. Peter MacDonald had been removed from office for taking bribes and kickbacks. Two of his supporters were killed on July 20, 1989, by Navajo Nation Police during a march to protest on what they considered a coup against their leader, Peter MacDonald. MacDonald had been in deteriorating health and had been serving a 14-year sentence for inciting the deadly riot; yet, he was in good health at the silver awards ceremony, and walked by himself up the podium, as he received the Silver Congressional Medal of Honor. Additionally, only since the time that the gold medals were to be presented in Washington, D.C., did MacDonald decide to associate with the NCTA and to even wear the NCTA garrison cap.
  • June 11 - Timothy McVeigh Executed - Timothy McVeigh was put to death by lethal injection on June 11th, six years after he parked a truck bomb next to the Oklahoma City federal building, killing 168 people. McVeigh, who admitted guilt, was the first federal prisoner to be executed in 38 years.
  • June 29 - Deposed Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was handed over to the U.N. tribunal at The Hague on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Three indictments charged Milosevic with war crimes in Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia over the past decade - a dramatic fall from power for the man who led Yugoslavia through years of war.
  • Sept 11 - Terrorist Attack America - In the morning, two airlines crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York, causing the collapse of three skyscrapers and thousands of deaths. Thick clouds of smoke filled the air and debris showered the streets as the world watched it all on live television.
        Before the morning was over, two more passenger jets crashed, one into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and another into a field near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Everyone on board the two planes were killed, along with 100 people on the ground. All air travel in the U.S. was halted as authorities scrambled for answers.
  • Oct 11 - U.S. officials named Islamic militan Osama bin Laden as the prime suspect behind the Sept 11th attacks on the United States. Bin Laden headed the al Qaeda network, a band of pro-Islamic fundamentalists that operated in Afghanistan with the support of the ruling government, the Taliban. Bin Laden was also accused in other attacks on U.S. interests in Africa and the Middle East.
        In a mission to find and punish terrorists or "those harboring terrorists," the United States and an international coalition began airstrikes on Afghanistan on October 7th.
  • Failing economy - The economic slowdown that hit the U.S. manufacturing sector and ended the dot-com boom in 2000 spread throughout the economy in 2001. Even before Sept 11th, soft markets and rising unemployment had led the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates in hopes of reviving consumer spending. The attacks shut down major financial markets. When trading resumed it was chilled by the climate of uncertainty.
        October saw the largest job losses in 21 years, with 415,000 positions cut. In December, the Fed cut interest rates for a record 11th time with the year.
  • Anthrax Scare - Shortly after the Sept 11th attacks, media outlets and government officials received letters that contained deadly anthrax spores.
        A letter laced with anthrax and written in block lettering was addressed to Senator Tom Daschle in Washington, D.C. It read, "You cannot stop us. We have this anthrax. You die now. Are you afraid?" That letter and others sent to Washington, D.C., New York and Florida spawned a new threat of terrorism, one of biological concerns.
        Since October when the first case was reported, five people had died due to anthrax. Authorities had not determined the origin of the letters.
  • Nov - Stem Cell Research/Cloning - U.S. politicians got a crash course in biology, when cutting-edge technology pressed the debate on the definition of life. Stem cells, which have the potential to grow into a variety of specialized cells, held great promise for treating medical conditions including diabetes and Parkinson's disease. But the stem cells that showed the greatest promise came from the human embryos, and the notion of producing embryos for research drew the ire of abortion opponents. In November, an American company announced it had cloned a human embryo for just that purpose.
  • Dec - Middle East Conflict - The terrorist attacks on the U.S. sparked a renewed interest in the stalled Middle East peace process. But violence erupted again in December following explosions in Jerusalem and the port city of Haifa, killing 25 Israelis and three suicide bombers. The violence led to major Israeli military strikes against Palestinian targets in the West Bank and Gaza.
  • Feb 1-24 - The Navajo exhibit "Discover Navajo; People of the Fourth World", occurred at the Winter Olympics, Olympic Legacy Plaza, in Salt Lake City, UT. Within the exhibit, there was a Code Talker Exhibit.
  • Mar 9 - David Tsosie was awarded the Silver Congressional Medal of Honor. The medal was denied to him back on November 24, 2001, when the other 400 Navajo Code Talkers received the honor.
  • May 31 - U.S. Highway 666 known as the "Devil's Highway", which passes through Gallup, NM to Shiprock, NM, on the Navajo Nation, officially ceased to exist, to be called U.S. Highway 491. Known as the most dangerous streach of highway in New Mexico because of its high fatality rate, combined with the christian belief that "666" represents the "number of the beast", as mention in Revelations 13:18 in the Holy Bible, caused Arizona and New Mexico state officials to rename the highway. On July 30, 2003, a dedication was held for the renaming. George Blue Horse, a Navajo medicine man, performed a ceremony to remove the superstitious curse from the name of U.S. Highway 666. In the Navajo language he stated, "The road itself never ends. It goes on generation to generation. The new number is a good one. The new road will be a medicine." This stretch of highway is still the most dangerous to drive in New Mexico. The highway is sometimes called the "John Pinto highway" for the efforts of New Mexico Democratic Senator John Pinto (Navajo) to have this stretch of highway to have contructed 4 lines of highway instead of 2.
  • May 6 - An historic Resolution of Apology to the Native American peoples was introduced in the U.S. Congress by Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS), Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) and Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) on the evening of the May 6, 2004, National Day of Prayer.
        In his remarks on the Senate floor, Sen. Brownback stated, "This is a resolution of apology and a resolution of reconciliation. It is a first step toward healing the wounds that have divided us for so long - a potential foundation for a new era of positive relations between Tribal Governments and the Federal Government. Before reconciliation, there must be recognition and repentance. Before there is a durable relationship, there must be understanding. This resolution will not authorize or serve as a settlement of any claim against the United States, not will it resolve the many challenges still facing the Native Peoples. But it does recognize the negative impact of numerous deleterious Federal acts and policies on Native Americans and their cultures."
        It was hoped that this resolution would have been acted upon by President George W. Bush before the September 21, 2004 formal opening of then new National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall in Washington, DC., but sat in the Senate. Versions of this resolution were found by going to and typing in "S.J. Res. 37" and then doing a search using "apology".
  • Oct 30 - Boston Red Sox centerfielder rookie Jacoby Ellsbury, the first Navajo baseball player to play in the majors, stole second base at the bottom of the 4th inning of Game Two at the Major League Baseball World Series in Boston, and became the first ever Major League Baseball player to steal millions of tacos for America. As promised, because Jacoby Ellsbury's had stolen a base, Taco Bell, the Official Quick Service Restaurant of Major League Baseball, served about 300 million free Seasoned Beef Crunchy Tacos to Americans as part of its "Steal A Base, Steal A Taco" MLB World Series promotion. Americans were given a time on October 30, 2007, Tuesday, from 2 to 5 pm to claim their free taco at their local Taco Bell restaurant. The Boston Red Sox won the 2007 World Series in a 4 game swept over the Colorado Rockies.
        Jacoby Ellsbury was the son of Jim Ellsbury and Margie McCabe-Ellsbury. Jacoby grew up on the Warm Springs Reservation in Madras, Oregon. His mother, Margie, a Navajo, was originally from Kinlichee (near Ganado, Ariz.), where her father, late Franklin and Alice Curley McCabe lived before moving the family to Parker, Arizona. Margie later married Jim Ellsbury, of English and German descent, later moving to Madras, Oregon, and raised their family. While Jacoby attended Madras High School, Jacoby was a standout in football, basketball, baseball and track. Every sport Jacoby Ellsbury tried, he excelled, but baseball was the sport for Jacoby. Baseball opened the doors for this talented athlete.
  • Oct 31 - Former Navajo Nation Vice-Chairman and Navajo Code Talker, Wilson Skeet, had died on Wednesday, October 31, 2007, at the age of 83, at Albuquerque's Veterans Hospital. No cause of death had been given though he was ill. Skeet was born in 1922 under a summer shade shack in Breadspring on the Navajo Nation in eastern New Mexico. The U.S. Army forced his family to leave their home to make way for one of the largest munitions depot. This mistreatment didn't stop Wilson Skeet from serving his country. Young Wilson Skeet was drafted out of Wingate High School and served as a Code Talker under the 5th Marine Division and fought at Iwo Jima during World War II. "They told us it's just a small rock, we should be able to run over that thing within three, four days, ... but it took more than a month and bucketfuls of blood." He was on his way to Japan when the atomic bombs were dropped. After the war, Wilson Skeet found work at the Wingate depot, serving as a heavy equipment supervisor in the 1950s. He would pass the family land on his way to work and had been back to visit many times since. "Every time I go there I get an anger feeling - hate and everything towards what they did to us. Chase us out of there. Always wondered if that was the right thing for them to do." Wilson Skeet later served on the Navajo Tribal Council from 20 years in the 1950s and 1960s representing the Breadsprings, Red Rock, and Chichiltah Chapters on the Navajo Reservation, and served two terms as Navajo Nation Vice-Chairman from 1971-1974, and 1974-1978, both under the first two-terms of then Navajo Nation Chairman Peter MacDonald, another Navajo Code Talker. He was a retired rancher from the Navajo community of Breadsprings in New Mexico, which is now called Baahaali'.
        Concerning the Skeets removal from their ancestral homeland, the Skeets didn't have any papers for the land they ran sheep on, either. So when the Army came to the eastern edge of Navajo country in the late 1920s and "told us to move out," Skeet said, they didn't know which way to turn. "I remember they burned two hogans," he said of the government men, driving Navajo families off their summer pastures and back up the mountain. The Skeet family never got anything for the land. They had no schooling. They didn't even know how to ask for money. They moved out their 1,800 sheep and watched the occupation unfold from afar. That's how the Army put down roots in the red rock country of western New Mexico, turning a slice of land used by the Navajo into part of the largest munitions depot in the world. By the time of World War II, the Fort Wingate depot would be the repository for 15 million pounds of TNT. "The Army did us wrong," Skeet grumbled. "They took advantage of us because we didn't read or write. Until such time we went to school and found out what it's all about, and now they tell us it's a little too late."
  • Jul 29 - New Mexico becomes the first state to officially adopt a Navajo textbook, Diné Bizaad Bínáhoo'aah: Rediscovering the Navajo Language, to be used in language classrooms throughout 10 New Mexico school districts for Fall 2008. The book's author Evangeline Parsons Yazzie and Salina Bookshelf President Eric Lockard signed the book into adoption in Santa Fe, NM.
  • Half of Yellowstone's Bison Herd Died - More than half of Yellowstone National Park's bison herd had died since fall 2007, forcing the U.S. government to suspend its annual slaughter program. More than 700 of the iconic animals had starved or otherwise died on the mountain sides during an unusually harsh winter, and more than 1,600 were shot by hunters or sent to slaughterhouses in a disease-control effort, according to National Park Service figures. Therefore, the park's herd had plummeted by 2,400 since November 2007 because of weather, hunting and disease-control efforts. As a result, the park estimated its bison herd had dropped from 4,700 in November to about 2,300, prompting the U.S. government to halt the culling program early. There had never been a slaughter like this of the bison since the 1800s in the United States. U.S. government officials said the slaughter prevented the spread of the disease brucellosis from the Yellowstone bison to cattle on land near the park. Brucellosis can cause miscarriages, infertility and reduced milk production in domestic cattle. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that half of Yellowstone's bison herd was infected with the bacterium. Previously, under the Interagency Bison Management Plan, wandering bison were sent to slaughter without being tested for brucellosis. The bison's meat which experts say was safe to eat if cooked and its hides were distributed to Native American groups. For winter 2008 the slaughter was limited to animals that tested positive for the disease. Yellowstone was the only place in the lower 48 states where a bison population had persisted since prehistoric times. By 2008, there was less than 5,000 wild, genetically pure buffalo left in America. Herds that once numbered in the tens of millions across the north American continent but were hunted nearly to extinction by the late 1800s, have been protected since the early 20th century causing the bison species to barely recover and survive.
  • Feb 13 - The Australian government made a formal apology for the past wrongs caused by successive governments on the indigenous Aboriginal population. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised in parliament to all Aborigines for laws and policies that "inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss". He singled out the "Stolen Generations" of thousands of children forcibly removed from their families. The apology, beamed live around the country on TV, had met with cheers. But some Aborigines said it should had been accompanied with compensation for their suffering.
        The government hoped the apology would repair the breach between white and black Australia and ushered in a new era of recognition and reconciliation. The parliamentary session showed live on television as well as on public screens erected in cities across the country. Mr Rudd received a standing ovation from MPs and onlookers in parliament, and cheered from the thousands of Australians watching outside. Michael Mansell, a spokesman for the rights group the National Aboriginal Alliance, said the word "sorry" was one that "Stolen Generation members will be very relieved is finally being used", reported Associated Press news agency. But the refusal to accompany the apology with any compensation angered many Aboriginal leaders, who called it a "cut-price sorry". "Blackfellas will get the words, the whitefellas keep the money," summed up Noel Pearson, a respected Aboriginal leader, in The Australian newspaper. Mr Rudd also outlined a new agenda on Aboriginal issues, including a commitment to close the 17-year life expectancy gap between Aborigines and other Australians within a generation, as well as halving Aboriginal infant mortality rates within a decade. Australia's 460,000 Aborigines made up 2% of the population and were the most disadvantaged group. The Aboriginal population have higher rates of infant mortality, drug abuse, alcoholism and unemployment than the rest of the population.
  • Apr 29 - Passing of Ms. Mary G. Ross. Mary pioneered the way for Native Americans and women in the engineering field. She represented the Cherokee Nation, not only as a lifetime AISES Sequoyah Fellow, but also as the first known Native American woman engineer. She was born August 9, 1908 in Oklahoma as the great-great-granddaughter of Cherokee Chief John Ross, who led the Cherokees during the infamous Trail of Tears. Mary however had made a brighter trail. She earned her Master's Degree in mathematics, was the first woman engineer at Lockheed (now known as Lockheed Martin), had made contributions in the conceptual design of ballistic missile Systems the Agena Rocket, manned and unmanned earth-orbiting flights and interplanetary space travel missions, and had devoted much of her retiring days to motivating young women and Native Americans to the science and engineering fields. Mary had been a pivotal influence to AISES.
  • Apr 30 - The U.S. State of Colorado was the first to admit genocide against Indigenous Red Nations and Peoples. Colorado's resolution compared Indians' deaths to the Holocaust.
        The Colorado Legislature passed a resolution comparing the deaths of millions of American Indians to the Holocaust and other acts of genocide around the world. The nonbinding measure passed 22-12 in the Senate and 59-4 in the House after some lawmakers protested that it unfairly condemned all European Americans for injustices against Indians. The resolution said Europeans intentionally caused many American Indian deaths and that early American settlers often treated Indians with "cruelty and inhumanity." It specifically mentioned the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation in 1838 and the 1864 Sand Creek massacre in Colorado. It also referred to deaths due to disease that were intensified by forced migrations, food deprivation and enslavement by European Americans.
        "Colleagues, this resolution is a recognition that up 120 million indigenous people have died as a result of European (American) migration to what is now the United States of America," said sponsor Sen. Suzanne Williams, D-Aurora, a Comanche Indian. Senate Minority Leader Andy McElhany, R-Colorado Springs, said the resolution painted all European Americans with a broad brush. Sen. Paula Sandoval, D-Denver, said the resolution wasn't meant to blame all European Americans. "It's nothing personal to the (European Americans) people of today but we have to recognize the past," said Theresa Gutierrez, who worked with American Indian students at the University of Colorado in Denver.
  • May 13 - Maryland Govenor Martin O'Malley signed into law a bill designating the Friday after Thanksgiving as American Indian Heritage Day. The state holiday won't cost Maryland a thing, that Friday is already a holiday for state employees, but it now gets a new name. There are no federally designated tribes in Maryland, but tribal supporters said the designation will finally recognize Maryland's first inhabitants.
  • Oct 15 - Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008 H.R. 4544 became public law. This act required the issuance of medals to recognize the dedication and valor of Native American code talkers with the exception of the Navajo Code Talkers who received their Congressional Meals of Honor and recognition in July and November of 2001.
  • Mar 31 - Larry Echo Hawk (Pawnee) who was an Obama appointee for the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs for the U.S. Dept. of the Interior stepped down effective April 27, 2012 to become a General Authority in the First Quorum of the Seventy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Quorum of the Seventy is the Mormon Church's third-highest governing body. The announcement from the LDS church came Saturday, March 31, 2012, during its 182nd Semi-Annual General Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.
        Members of the Seventy have responsibility for administering the work of the LDS Church throughout the world under the direction of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Some of them also have executive responsibilities in a number of Church departments. Members of the First Quorum of the Seventy usually serve to age 70.
        Larry Echo Hawk will be the second full blood Native American to be appointed to a General Authority position. The first was George Patrick Lee (Navajo) who was appointed in October 3, 1975 to the First Quorum of the Seventy to later be excommunicated in 1989 after challenging General Authorities in neglecting and cutting back long standing Native American programs at Brigham Young University and Lee's call and complex reasoning that the Lamanites would lead in the building of Jerusalem with the Gentiles (Anglos) assisting.
        The 63-year-old Echo Hawk has overseen the BIA since 2009. President Obama nominated Echo Hawk on April 20, 2009 and the Senate confirmed him as the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs on May 19, 2009. He was sworn into office by Secretary Salazar on May 22, 2009.
        He was elected Idaho attorney general in 1990, the first Native American to be elected to the position in any state. He ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat in 1994 for Idaho governor.
        Elder Larry Echo Hawk, was serving as a High Priest's Group Instructor when he was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy and has served in numerous Church callings, including Bishop and Stake President.
        He received a Bachelor's Degree from Brigham Young University and a Law Degree from the University of Utah. He also was a Law Professor at the Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School, and served as Attorney General of Idaho, as a County Prosecuting Attorney and in the Idaho House of Representatives.
        Elder Echo Hawk was born in Cody, Wyoming. He is married to Teresa Joanne Pries, and they are the parents of six children.
        Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said "With Larry Echo Hawk's leadership, we have opened a new chapter in our nation to nation relationships with American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments, accelerated the restoration of tribal homelands, improved safety in tribal communities, resolved century-old water disputes, invested in education, and reached many more milestones that are helping Indian nations pursue the future of their choosing."

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Creator(s): Harrison Lapahie Jr.
Dated Created: 01/01/2000
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Updated: 11/24/2011
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