Navajo Times

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Navajo Times
Type weekly newspaper
Owner(s) Navajo Times Publishing Co., Inc.
Editor-in-chief Candace Begody
Founded 1959
Language English
rarely Navajo
Headquarters Highway 264 & Route 12
PO Box 310
Window Rock, Arizona
 Navajo Nation
ISSN 0470-5106
OCLC number 16464595

The Navajo Times – known during the early 1980s as Navajo Times Today – is a newspaper created by the Navajo Tribal Council in 1959; in 1982 it was the first daily newspaper owned and published by a Native American Indian Nation. Now financially independent, it is published in English; its headquarters is located in Window Rock, Arizona.

Over the past half century, its editorial staff has continually faced challenges for editorial control from political leaders and opponents. In 1987 the tribal government shut down the publication and fired its entire staff. Under the leadership of Tom Arviso, Jr. as editor since 1988, and publisher since 1993, the newspaper has worked to maintain and promote freedom of the press.

In 2004 the newspaper established financial independence from the tribal council. It is published by the Navajo Times Publishing Company; Arviso is CEO. The newspaper is exploring the use of more Navajo language in its publications, including online. The current editor-in-chief is Candace Begody.


The first issue was published on August 4, 1960, and sold for 10 cents each, and the newspaper's slogan was "Voice of Scenic Navajoland."[1] Unlike its predecessor Ádahooníłígíí of the 1940s,[2] the Times is published in English, rarely and infrequently printing an insert or extra in Navajo.

Originally created as a monthly newsletter and mouthpiece of the Tribal Council, the paper had become a weekly publication by the early 1960s. Unlike most other newspapers under the control of Native American governments, its editorial staff increasingly asserted its right to freedom of the press, guaranteed in the Navajo Nation's 4th Amendment to the Bill of Rights.[3]

In the late 1970s, the paper had its first confrontations with then–Tribal Chairman Peter MacDonald, who fired and re-hired its general manager several times related to the publication's editorials critical of the tribal government.[4] In 1982, with its format changed to that of a daily newspaper and its circulation increasing from 4,000 to 8,000, editor Mark Trahant changed its name to Navajo Times Today..[3] It was the first daily newspaper published by a Native American Nation in the United States.[4][5] During the 1980s, its editorial staff enjoyed a period of journalistic freedom. Its reporters often criticized the Navajo government in their coverage.[4]


After the 1987 election, the paper – still funded by the Navajo Nation government – was shut down by the president Peter MacDonald. The editorial board of the paper had endorsed MacDonald's opponent, Peterson Zah, during the campaign and continued to criticize the government in its editorials. The government laid off the entire staff. MacDonald claimed the shutdown was due to the paper's losing money and being financially unstable.[3] When the government resumed publication of the newspaper four months later, the Navajo Times returned as a weekly.[3]

Navajo Times headquarters in Window Rock, Arizona.

Under the leadership of Tom Arviso, Jr., who became editor in 1988, the paper in 2004 achieved financial independence of the tribal government.[6] In 1993 Arviso became publisher, and is now the CEO of the Navajo Times Publishing Company.[7] Arviso has been recognized for his contributions to journalism:

  • 1997, he was awarded the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA)'s Wassaja Award for "extraordinary service to Native journalism." [7]
  • 1998, Freedom of Information Award by the Arizona Newspapers Association[7]
  • 2000-2001, the first and so far only full-blood Native American to win a John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University[7]
  • 2009, he received the John Peter and Anna Catherine Zenger Award, given jointly by The University of Arizona School of Journalism and the Arizona Newspapers Foundation, for his promotion of freedom of the press at the Navajo Times and other Native American newspapers.[8]


  1. ^ Arviso, Tom Jr., "Pages of the Times reflect future impacts", Navajo Times,. Accessed 2011-01-13.
  2. ^ Adahooniłigii (Library of Congress record) Accessed 2011-01-13
  3. ^ a b c d Wilkins, David E. The Navajo Political Experience, Tsaile/Tséhílį́, AZ: Diné College Press, 1999. p 173f.
  4. ^ a b c Iverson, Peter & Monty Roessel. Diné: A History of the Navajos, Albuquerque, New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press, 2002. p288f.
  5. ^ Staff. "Navajo Times suspends publication for 2 weeks", Mohave Daily Miner, April 26, 1984. Accessed January 13, 2011.
  6. ^ "The Navajo Times", Who Needs Newspapers Website, accessed 5 December 2011
  7. ^ a b c d "Fellows: Tom Arviso, Jr.", Knight Digital Media Center, 2011, accessed 5 December 2011
  8. ^ "Journalism Students to Honor Zenger Award Winner: Tom Arviso", UANews, 13 October 2009, accessed 5 December 2011

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