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'Power Lines': How the Navajo Nation's energy resources fueled the growth of the Southwest




On Friday, September 26, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Assistant Secretary for Indian 
Affairs Kevin Washburn and Acting Assistant Attorney General Sam Hirsch of the Justice 
Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division joined Navajo Nation tribal 
leaders and members to announce a major tribal trust accounting settlement in Window Rock, AZ.
On Friday, September 26, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn and Acting Assistant Attorney General Sam Hirsch of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division joined Navajo Nation tribal leaders and members to announce a major tribal trust accounting settlement in Window Rock, AZ.
Department of the Interior / Flickr
On Friday, September 26, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Assistant Secretary for Indian 
Affairs Kevin Washburn and Acting Assistant Attorney General Sam Hirsch of the Justice 
Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division joined Navajo Nation tribal 
leaders and members to announce a major tribal trust accounting settlement in Window Rock, AZ.
"Power Lines: Phoenix and the Making of the Modern Southwest" by Andrew Needham
Princeton University Press


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Last week, the federal government agreed to pay the Navajo Nation more than half a billion dollars — $554 million — to settle claims that it mismanaged the tribe's funds and natural resources for decades. 

Tracing those claims back to their origins reveals a long and complicated history of the relationship between the federal government and the Navajo Nation when it comes to supplying power to the desert lands of America's Southwest.

Without a source of cheap fuel, cities like Phoenix and Los Angeles could not have grown to the levels we see today. But where did the power come from? And at what price?

In the forthcoming book "Power Lines," NYU history professor Andrew Needham explores the role of the Navajo Nation in supplying electricity to desert communities, and the social and environmental impact it's had on Navajo lands and its people.