What is the need for a human rights commission on the Navajo Nation?

Recent events that have occurred in border town communities involving the abuse and death of members of the Navajo Nation led the Navajo Nation Council to establish the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission ("NNHRC"). In addition, NNHRC is taking an active role in advancing the recognition of indigenous rights in global forums by attending working groups for the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Organization of American States draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. NNHRC exists to address and investigate instances in which such basic human rights are violated.

What does NNHRC advocate for?

NNHRCs advocates for the recognition of Navajo human rights for Navajo citizens in governmental local, national and international forums and through the media and public interactions at public forums.

How does NNHRC work?

NNHRC opens its doors to Navajo citizens who have exhausted all remedies without a satisfactory resolution and still feel they have been discriminated against. NNHRC urges these individuals to file a charge. Once the individual completes a complaint form, NNHRC staff members investigate the charge and recommendations are made to the NNHRC Attorney and NNHRC Executive Director. If an alleged charge is founded to be discriminatory, the NNHRC attorney recommends action(s) to take by engaging the memorandum of understandings with border towns, and/or invoking the trust responsibility with the federal government. In matters where the trust responsibility has failed NNHRC advocates for the rights of Navajo people in global forums. NNHRC also seeks to establish relationships with other organizations which support the mission of protecting and fighting for the rights of individuals experiencing discrimination.

Why does NNHRC hold public hearings?

With staff support, Commissioners hold public hearings to obtain a citizen’s testimony. These testimonies help assess the state-of-affairs between Navajos and non-Navajos and the state-of-affairs on Navajo fundamental issues. NNHRC staff members compile the findings and issue a report with recommendations following a public hearing.

Who can file a charge at NNHRC?

Any citizen of the Navajo Nation who feels they've been discriminated against due to their race may file a charge with NNHRC. NNHRC encourages all individuals to know their rights and to report any incidences of discrimination to NNHRC and/or proper authorities. Please visit our section on how to fill out a complaint form.

What is the organizational make up of NNHRC?

NNHRC has five commissioners and a staff of seven professionals.

Who are the Commissioners?

NNHRC is directed by five commissioners, each appointed a four year term by the Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council and confirmed by the Naabik’iyati’ Committee of the Navajo Nation Council. They represent diverse professional vocations from the education, business, social services and law enforcement sectors, with one at-large member. The Commissioners are to conduct themselves as fiduciaries while promoting and protecting the human rights of the Navajo people. To learn who the commissioners are, navigate to the home page.

How long has NNHRC been in place?

The 20th Navajo Nation Council enacted the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission Act (2 N.N.C. §920 to 924) in October 2006. The 21st Navajo Nation Council adopted the Commissions' Plan of Operation in July 2008, which allowed for the selection of the Commissioners, staff and office site.

Which Branch of the Navajo Nation government is NNHRC under?

NNHRC resides in the legislative branch of the Navajo Nation, the Navajo Nation Council.

What subcommittee of the Navajo Nation Council is NNHRCs oversight committee?

NNHRC oversight committee is the Naabik’iyati’ Committee.

Where is the NNHRC office located?

The Office of NNHRC is located at Hwy 264, 100 Taylor Road, Karigan Professional Building, Suite 111 in St. Michaels, Navajo Nation (AZ). If you’re familiar with the St. Michaels area, NNHRC office is located in the Karigan Professional building, which is next to the new KTNN building in St. Michaels, AZ. If you require a map for directions go to the map link on the homepage. The hours of operation are Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To request more information about the NNHRC, call (928) 871-7436.

What is the significance of the NNHRC logo?

Arrowheads … are symbols of protection

Feathers … represent the Navajo Twins

Inner Circle …represents the Navajo Nation and also signifies the sun, where the Navajo Twins traveled while defeating monsters to visit their father Sun and bringing order to a world of chaos.

Outer Rings … represents the state, national, international governments.

Outer Colors … represents the cosmos, where the holy people live, and show the sacred colors of the four worlds from which Diné emerged.

Open top … represents an outlet in avoidance of total enclosure

Four white lines … indicate influential pathways NNHRC strives to create to prompt recognition of Navajo human rights from the Navajo Nation outward through the state, national and international governments.