Navajo education: Who’s in charge?

Navajo Times graph
The Navajo Nation has about six different types of schools, but it seems no one is in charge.

(Editor’s note: This is the second in a series about schools on the Navajo Nation.)


So, Navajo Nation has about six different types of schools, but who’s in charge?

That question leads to a complex structure of entities with authority over education on the Navajo Nation. These are rooted in Title 10 and Title 2 of the Navajo Code.

Title 10 of the Navajo Nation Code sets forth the laws pertaining to education on the Navajo Nation. It defines the right of Navajo governance to exercise authority on behalf of the Navajo people as pertains to education. The code recognizes the authority of education providers: state, federal, community, charter, or private. But Title 10 also commits the Navajo Nation to work in cooperation with those authorities wherever possible. It also establishes the role of internal structures that provide legal frameworks, policy oversight, and administrative authority.

Title 2 applies to Navajo education overall in that it establishes an education committee. In 2010 with the reduction of the number of council delegates, the education committee became part of Health, Education and Human Services.

Under Title 2, Navajo Nation Council committees have oversight powers limited to legislation and policy decisions. A committee does not involve itself directly in administration of the duties assigned to it, but it has the power to delegate through appointment. HEHS and the council delegated that authority with the enactment of the Navajo Sovereignty in Education Act of 2005.

The act established both the Navajo Nation Board of Education and the Department of Diné Education under the executive branch.

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Categories: Education

About Author

Christopher S. Pineo

Reporter Christopher S. Pineo's beats include education, construction, the executive branch, and pop culture. He also administers the Navajo Times Facebook page. In the diverse neighborhoods of Boston, Pineo worked, earned a master’s in journalism, and gained 10 years of newspaper experience. He can be reached at