Zilnez chapter house, Tsé Al Náoztii, New Mexico

Encyclopedia Article


Perhaps a reference to the Tsé Al Náoztii chapter house southwest of the city of Shiprock in western New Mexico.

A chapter house is a meeting place for Navajo people where they can publicly discuss their opinions about the goings on of the Navajo Nation and its governance. Implemented by Leupp Agency Superintendent John G. Hunter in 1922, the chapter house system quickly transcended the politics of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and gained a communal and cultural relevance of its own. Today, even though chapters are still identified by BIA agency, they have gained and grown at the grassroots level to function as community centers as well as political hubs around the broad territory of the Navajo Nation.

Photo Credit: 

"Chancelane Begay, 16, a participant in the Summer Youth Employment Program, paints a welcome sign in front of the Tsé Al Náozt’í Chapter House" by Cindy Yurth. All rights reserved. Use with permission only.

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