The Diné (Navajo) people have a representative/legislative form of government modeled loosely after the American system. The present governmental structure, established in 1938 by the Secretary of Interior, is outlined in the Navajo Tribal Code. This article encompasses the background of the Code, describes the efforts of tribal and federal officials to enact a tribal constitution, and discusses the key functions of government: legislative, executive and judicial. It also examines the various subunits of government operating within the reservation. Finally, it contains recommendations that, if enacted, could strengthen and legitimize Navajo government.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publisher Statement

Copyright © 1987 Navajo Community College. This article first appeared in Diné Bi' Journal: 1:1 (Spring 1987), 1-22.

Please note that downloads of the article are for private/personal use only.