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The U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against The Navajo Nation In Regards To Colorado River Water

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Navajo Nation Thursday in a dispute involving water from the Colorado River. Arizona, Colorado and Nevada and water districts from California, pull water from the river. They urged the court to decide for them. Justices did just that, ruling 5-4 in favor of the states. The issue dates back to 1849 and 1868, where the tribe and the federal government signed treaties. The second treaty established the Navajo Nation as the tribe’s permanent home. It’s a treaty the tribe says includes a sufficient supply of water. Justice Brett Kavanaugh said the court believes the treaty doesn’t require the U.S. to take affirmative steps when it comes to securing water for the tribe. Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren said in a statement: “Today’s ruling is disappointing and I am encouraged that the ruling was 5-4. It is reassuring that four justices understood our case and our arguments. I remain undeterred. As President of the Navajo Nation, I represent and protect the Navajo people, our land, and our future.” A federal trial court initially dismissed the lawsuit, but an appeals court allowed it to go forward. Today’s decision by the Supreme Court reverses the appeals court’s decision.

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