THE WIND WON'T KNOW ME by Emily Benedek

THE WIND WON'T KNOW ME

A History of the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A detailed, scrupulously balanced assessment of the longstanding land dispute between the Hopi and the Navajo, which came to a head in the 1970's and 80's, when hundreds of Navajo families were forced to relocate. Letting the Indians and others involved speak largely for themselves, Dallas-based journalist Benedek (Rolling Stone, Newsweek, etc.) probes deeply into the layers of government bungling and native recalcitrance that turned a difficult task of settling claims into an impossible one. Uneasy neighbors since before the first white contact, the Navajo and Hopi tribes found friction between themselves increasing during this century when Navajo numbers grew and Navajo reservation boundaries were extended by government edict in 1934, absorbing land previously allocated to the Hopi. Forced later by court order to reduce livestock herds in what was labeled the ``Joint-Use Area,'' the Navajo faced new hardships when the jointly occupied land was finally partitioned in 1977 and they were required to abandon their hogans. According to Benedek, the Federal Commission established to oversee the transition failed miserably, with rural families relocated to urban areas that brought them rapidly to ruin, or shunted to ``temporary'' lodgings that they had to live in for years as they waited for houses that were never built, while bad blood between various commissioners led to endless infighting. Tribal governments also squabbled, and, with bitter disputes within tribes as well as between them, the situation festered and intensified until it became a national cause cÇläbre under the radical banner of the Big Mountain Legal Defense/Offense Committee. Though a final solution was to have been in place by 1986, that goal, Benedek reports, has still not been achieved. A vivid, exhaustive analysis--attuned to personalities as well as issues--of yet another national disgrace involving Native Americans. (Sixteen pages of photographs--not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 23rd, 1992
ISBN: 0-394-55429-9
Page count: 480pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1992




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