byLucille Mitchell-Gagnon


Barboncito stated, "My kinsman we lost everything, and now we promised peace. Tell that to your children. See that they do not fight. See that they work." 1 To the Dine people this was after the time in which the Treaty of 1868 was signed with the U.S. government, a day that changed the lives of all Dine people.

This unit will examine who has the power in government and how that power is acquired. Attention will be given to the development of the executive branch of the United States and the top leader of the Dine Nation. The history of both governments will be explained to show a parallel structure. The curriculum goal is to, encourage Dine youth to respect political authorities and to understand their role as a citizen of both governments. The executive branches will be compared and contrast for similarities and difference.

The idea behind the question relates to the history and politics of the American Presidency. Arguments during the Constitutional Convention in defining the executive duties were debated among early leaders, the Founding Fathers.


Government changes when people and their way of life change. Through the years Dine leaders have changed. Problems today are different from those of the past. Our Dine leaders and the presidents of the United States have changed to meet new problems. 2 Elders have stated the importance to learn how Dine government and the United States government worked in the past. By listening and learning about the past, we will know better how to solve problems.

Navo is a word given to the people (Dine) in the Pueblo language. Later the word Navajo was given to the Dine people by the Pueblo natives, Navajo meaning cultivators. The word Navajo was adopted soon after. Dine is what we call our self today. With deep meaning, we also recognize one another as, we who have five fingers.

Importance of a Government:

Why do we have a government? Imagine you are on a deserted island and are the only person. There are many kinds of plants and animals on the island and there are no people. You must find your own food, and build your own shelter. People came to the island one day. The people decide to stay and need food and shelter. They hunt for food in the same place you do. They build their house near a spring where you get water. They do not allow you to hunt near their house, or get water at the spring. What do you do? How might you and the new comers settle the dispute? How might you find a way to live and work together, peacefully? You might decide to fight for the land and water. Or, you might sit down and talk. You and the people may bring out possibilities to make up rules for using the land and water. The rules would be fair to everyone. To make sure everyone follows the rules, a leader could be chosen. The leader would be a person you and the people respect. The leader would listen to you and your neighbors. After listening, the leader would help you decide what to do. By making rules for everyone on the island, and by choosing a leader to help enforce the rules, you and your neighbors have created a representative government. Government is the way people try to see that everyone in a society follows the same basic rules to promote law and order. Governments take authority and direction to help people work together to solve common problems and this is why we have a government.

Learning Objectives:

The students will create their own interpretations of the past, as well as learn how to identify their own positions, interest, ideologies, and assumptions. They will relate these ideas to their learning about the Executive Branch of the United States.

Common Core/Crosswalk Reading strategies are now a part of the Social Studies Standards Curriculum. Teaching students various types of knowledge can help them to better understand the perspective of our ethnic Dine people and Dine government, to develop their own versions and interpretation of issues and events. Students will reconstruct knowledge applying the historical, cultural, political, and creative context and be responsive to cultural authority. Transformative typology is connecting the cultural background of the students to bring the learning into the hearts of the students.

Students will understand the foundations, principles, and institutional practice of the United States government. They will be able to compare and contrast it to the Dine Nation government as a representative democracy and constitutional republic. The hope is to bridge the gap between the worlds.


To the Dine, all life is lived in a sacred relationship to the land with healing ceremonies to bring the people back to harmony with each other. They sing of beauty and harmony perceived by visitors to Dine country.

"The Dine legend states that the Dine passed through three different worlds before emerging into the present world, the Fourth Glittering World. The Holy People put four sacred mountains in four cardinal directions. Mt. Blanca in the east. Mt. Taylor in the south. San Francisco Peaks in the west, and Mt. Hesperus in the north, thus creating the boundaries their homeland called, Dinetah. Today more than 300,000 Dine people live on 27,000,000 square miles of land." 3

The unit will begin by providing the students with background knowledge about the history of the first Navajo Tribe and United States Presidents. The unit on the "Naataanii", (Leader) will be designed for sixth grade Arizona Social Studies students. The majority of students are Native American students of the Dine Nation yet they reside in the state of Arizona and must follow regulations from both. This unit will be taught over three weeks approximately 55 minutes a day. The Common Core States Standards are being implemented in the 2012-2013 academic school year.

In our school district we ensure relevant learning for all students to be successful in a multicultural society; and to reflect the Dine values of lifelong learning. This is our school district mission and vision statement. We also uphold Arizona state standards for literacy and civics.

Chronological Culture:

Before the Emergence into the fourth world of the Dine, there were four Chiefs chosen by Old Man, who led the people and were the keepers of the land. Old Man made Great Wolf the Head Chief, Mountain Lion, Otter and Beaver other Chiefs. The Chiefs of four directions were Water Monster, Blue Heron, Frog and White Mountain Thunder. The Chiefs' job was to organize the world and make it good for all living things. "The Chiefs' told the people how to build hogans and sweathouses, to farm corn, wheat, melons, pumpkins, beans, and chile, and how to hunt. The first ranking Chief was called, "He Usually Rises With Orders" (who was also called, Chief in the Morning), he told the people when to go hunting in a sacred tradition. The second Chief's ranking was called, "He Arrives With Orders"; the third Chief was called, "He Usually Walks Along With Orders"; the fourth Chief was called, "He Walks with Orders". The Chiefs' spoke to their people every morning, making speeches about how to live in the right way." The Chiefs told the people how to work, and to begin work early. The people listened to the Chiefs', and lived under their direction peacefully in harmony and beauty, Hozhogo.

When the beings came to the fourth world, the Chiefs' held a council. They talked about how humans should be created. The Chiefs' prayed to the Wind to dry up the mud that was left from a Great Flood. They asked the Holy People to build new mountains for Dine. The Dine went about their living under the direction of the Chiefs'. The people became unhappy with their animal leaders. Great Snake began biting and killing people. Bear tore people with his great claws for they had stopped listening. Coyote was unhappy with the Chiefs'. Coyote and the people retaliated against the Chiefs'. The animal leaders found they could not keep peace. To this day, if a leader does something wrong or hurts people, he can be removed from office. Four human Chiefs' originated. Each leader came from one of the four original clans, the Towering House Clan; One Who Walks Around Clan; Bitter Water Clan; and the Big Water Clan. Since this early time, humans have been the only Chiefs or leaders. These leaders were called, Naat'aanii.

Kit Carson –Destroy and Conquer Campaign

"The "Destroy and Conquer" campaign was a tactic Kit Carson, Bi'ee'lchi'i and his Calvary used against the Dine people." The soldiers burned Navajo crops like corn, peach tree orchards, hogans, and killed livestock in order for the Dine people to surrender and be gathered for the Long Walk to Bosque Redondo.

With scarce food, Kiilchii's (Henry Chee Dodge) mother left him with his aunt in hopes to find food. She did not return. Due to the scarcity of food supply Chee's aunt left him behind with a family to care for him. He was soon abandoned and left to fend for himself. Months later he was found by a family on their way to surrender themselves to Kit Carson's soldiers in Fort Defiance to survive the hunger and cold of winter. Chee and his family were driven on the Long Walk among 8,000 Dine people. The walk was long and tiring. Some Dine never completed the walk to Fort Summer because of the harsh severity, harsh and grueling journey of more than 300 miles.

Navajos who stayed in Dine bikeyah during Hweeldi, (Long Walk), hid in rock shelters, arroyos, canyons, mountains or with other tribes to be safe from Kit Carson's soldiers. The Dine people went as far as the Grand Canyon, up to Ute country, Dinetah, Mount Taylor, south to the Apache tribe, San Francisco Peaks, Sedona area and other remote places within Dine bikeyah to remain hidden from the soldiers of Kit Carson.

The Dine people suffered from lack of food at Hweeldi, Bosque Redondo. They ate anything to survive, even dead animals. Eating crows or coyote meat tasted bitter. Skunk meat was good except for the fact of the stench. Navajos were also given food rations of flour infested with bugs, spoiled slab of bacon and green coffee beans. The Navajo people did not know of coffee beans. Dine people boiled coffee beans as a staple food. Unaware of what coffee really was, the coffee was poured out onto the ground and the beans were consumed, not to their liking. Many of the Dine people got sick eating foods they were unfamiliar with. Many captives died of dysentery during the first weeks in captivity. 4

Treaty of 1968:

When the Treaty 1868 concluded, the Dine people in captivity were finally free at Fort Summer June 1, 1868. The treaty agreement between Lieutenant General W.T. Sherman and Samuel F. Tappan, Commissioners, on behalf of the United States Barboncito, Armijo, and other Chiefs and Headsmen of the Navajo Tribe of Indians marked their "X" in agreement of thirteen Articles to the Treaty of 1868. The Treaty of 1868 was ratified and confirmed by the Senate on July 25, 1868 and proclaimed by President Andrew Johnson on August 12, 1868. This was an historic occasion for the Dine People and the United States government. For the Dine people, this meant they were finally free and able to write a new set of democratic laws. The Dine people fell to their knees with heartfelt sensation. Barboncito was made Head Chief by U.S. government officials at Fort Defiance and other Head Chief's followed. The Dine people had to adhere to new expectations. The history of the Dine government was regulated by the U. S. Federal government. Barboncito's residence was Canyon De Chelly, Arizona. Barboncito's was of the Coyote Pass-Jemez clan, the first signer of the Treaty, Head Chief at Fort Sumner, Youth Warrior, Peace Chief, Medicine Man died of illness in 1870 two years after returning from Fort Summer. Manuelito's residence was Manuelito Springs, New Mexico. Manuelito was of the Within His Cover clan. Manuelito the fourth signer of the Treaty, Head War Chief before 1864, Counselor after 1864, Peace Chief died in 1893 after contracting measles and pneumonia, this was his final battle. Manuelito is known for his famous words in the education of the Dine children, "My relatives, my people, each and everyone of you, wherever you go and wherever you may live, never forget our language, our prayers, our clan relationship, and our way of life, my children". 5 Other leaders who followed were Delgadito and Narbona. Narbono residence was Tohatchi, New Mexico. Narbono's clan was the Charcoal Streaked clan. Narbono the tenth signer of the Treaty, Head Chief and Sub War Chief, was killed in1949 by an American. Delgado's residence was Crownpoint, New Mexico. Delgado was of the Towering House clan. Delgado was the sixth signer of the Treaty. Before 1864, Delgado was an enemy to the Navajo; he saved Navajos from Kit Carson. Warrior Chief died in 1872. 6

These Naat'aanii's were respected leaders and their main job was to work with the government officials to promote unity. Recognition of treaties is the important part of Dine government in protection of Indian sovereign, individuality, and property rights.

"The Dine people agreed to be governed by the United States as their last authority. The Dine Nation became a sovereign but dependent nation upon the government. The Bureau of Indian Affairs helped governed the Dine. One of its jobs was to educate children in cities of great distance from the reservation. The schools became headquarters known as agencies in the 1880's. The North Agency was led by Chief Francisco Capitan. The East Agency was led by Chief Manuelito. The South Agency was led by Chief Mariano and Tsinaajini Biye. The West Agency was led by Chief Ganado Mucho. The agents were the superintendents who governed the Dine people within their area. Superintendents met with community members. The Dine people talked about problems and solutions for their community, chapters were created. At the chapter level, a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer were the first chapter leaders. Chapter meetings were held once a week to discuss projects such as irrigation, livestock, agriculture, roads, dams and other developments available from the federal government. This benefited and allowed the Dine people to prosper on the reservation.

Another kind of government began in Shiprock. Oil was discovered in the early1900's. Oil companies wanted to lease the land to drill for oil. Companies could not lease land without a three-fourths approval vote by the community. A General Council was set up in which the council did not include all Dine to make decisions. The council refused but later allowed oil companies to drill for oil and gas. The General Council met only when an oil or gas company wanted to lease land. A Business Council was formed in 1922 to represent all Dine. The leaders of the Business Council included Henry Chee Dodge, Charlie Mitchell and Dugal Chee Bikiss. 7 The Bureau of Indian Affairs set rules to begin a Navajo Tribal Council. Not all Dine people at this time may not have known of the forming of the Tribal Council. A Chairman, Vice Chairman, and one delegate from each agency were elected by Dine people. Henry Chee Dodge was the first Chairman.

Henry Chee Dodge, (Kiilchii) learned English from the soldiers and Presbyterian missionaries. Chee grew up to be a United States Government interpreter earning wage. Wage he saved to buy livestock and a ranch in Crystal, New Mexico. In 1884 Henry Chee Dodge was appointed "head chief" of the Navajos by Agent Riordan with approval from the U.S. Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Chee served as diplomat between the Dine people and the U.S. Government. Issues dealing with land, livestock, water, minerals and businesses were often concerns. Trips to Washington were often made. When Chee was not busy with government issues, he enjoyed being a stockman, farmer, storekeeper and a rancher. In 1922 Henry Chee Dodge was called upon to represent the Dine people. He would soon become an official of a Navajo self-government dealing with profits of oil and other mineral resources found on tribal lands. In 1923 Chee Dodge became Chairman of the first Navajo Tribal Council representing his people until 1928. With official matters that concerned the Dine people, Chee Dodge's work was never ending. Henry Chee Dodge died at age 87 on January 7, 1947." 8

Western Influence on the Dine:

The current Navajo government in Window Rock, Arizona is a fallacy and cannot be considered truly, Navajo. The government is a Western institution with traditional influences. These traditional influences seem to cover-up the true nature of Navajo politics. They also console to the Navajo people that their institution is original and unique. Dine Bizaad, the Navajo language is frequently used in committee and council meetings. Specific terms expressed in the Navajo Nation Code does not impend the Navajo's use of the Robert's Rules of Order of tradition, "talking things out" in formal meetings. The three branch presidential system has little resemblance to our traditional community centered local governments of the past. The Navajo Nation praises itself to be the most complicated tribal government in the United States, and the end result of 140 years of U.S. occupation.

The United States has historically demonstrated against indigenous people in America which shaped the social and political environment that the Navajo struggled against. In many ways the United States style of government was created in order to civilize the indigenous people. A government created without the consent of the Dine People.

Navajo Tribal Code vs. Navajo Constitution

Is there a Navajo Constitution? The Navajo Nation Council rejected a constitution for its government three times resulting in a Navajo Tribal Code. The Dine people voted against the Indian Reorganization Act believing that the Act would only result in stock reduction. No attempt to adopt a constitution has been pushed since 1968.

"In 1935, Navajos declined to accept the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 which would have allowed the Navajo Tribe the right to reorganize constitutional endeavors. In place of a tribal constitution, the Interior Secretary approved a limited set of self rules, an Indian Bill of Rights in 1938 for the Navajo Tribal Council written by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, John Collier. The rules still provide the framework of the Navajo Tribal government. Since its beginning, many new laws have been made by the tribal council and its advisory committee.

In 1962, the Navajo Tribal Code was combined with all the old tribal resolutions and federal laws and arranged into two volumes. The volumes increased with approved Navajo Tribal Council's resolution. They included the Navajo Bill of Rights, tribal governmental structure and powers, qualifications for tribal membership, election laws, fiscal matters, business and commercial activities, land use and natural resource matters, law and other official matters." 9

The Navajo people do not have authority over the Navajo Tribal Code since they did not establish self government. The unwritten Navajo customs and traditions play an important part in Navajo government. Restricting this role should be considered when interpreting the Navajo Tribal Code. The clause in "Rules", regarding no statement of powers which the Tribal Council was authorized to exercise on behalf of the Navajo people needs to be emphasized because it means the Navajo Tribal Council's powers are not defined and aren't limited, however, it's not entirely free from constraints.

Navajo Tribal Code vs. Constitution:

"Why is there a Navajo Tribal Code instead of a Constitution? When the Navajo people first voted against the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, they did so believing that it would end Collier's Livestock Reduction Program. Conflicting political reports from the government and tribal leaders confused the Navajos about establishing a tribal constitution. The issue was lost in the confusion. In 1950, the constitutional question arose a second time when the Navajo-Hopi Rehabilitation Act included a provision that the Navajo Tribe may adopt a constitution. A draft was written and sent to the Secretary of the Interior in 1953. During the same time, there was a debate between the Navajo Tribe and the Secretary of Interior regarding business partnerships with energy companies. The Navajo Tribe wanted to take advantage of oil and gas development on the reservation. They introduced a bill to allow the council to begin the process. Though the Federal Government strongly supported the end of a federal Indian policy, it refused to grant Navajos the freedom to develop their mineral resources. The Tribal Council deferred the constitution once again.

Raymond Nakai, Dine Tribal Chairman from 1963-1970 pledged to institute and adopt a constitution during his administration. A draft was made and submitted to the Dine Tribal Council on November 14, 1968. The Tribal Council had approved the constitution, but it was never put before the people for ratification.

"Section 6 of the Navajo-Hopi Rehabilitation Act authorized the Dine tribe to adopt a constitution. No further advisement to adopt a constitution has been made since 1968. Some of the reasons made by the Council are as follows:

1. They felt that the constitution would define some limit to their powers.

2. They may solely exercise all sovereign powers currently vested in them.

3. Constitutional provisions would require that some council actions be taken to the people for approval.

4. That it would be too time-consuming and expensive to involve the Navajo people in direct participation on certain tribal resolutions.

The Secretary of Interior must approve all tribal constitutions and can veto many tribal laws. This power of the Secretary is commonly referred to as "Secretarial Review". 10

In establishing the process of amending the Navajo Tribal Code, the Navajo Nation took steps to reorganize the Dine Nation government. The Dine people began to gradually take back their essential powers of self-government. The Tribal Code is now referred to as the Navajo Nation Code.

Limits to Dine Government Power:

There are four limitations of power in the Dine government. The first limitation limits tribal elections to be held every four years. The second limitation is the process of removal from office through recall of the president, vice president, and council delegates. Just cause legal sufficient reason is not limited to insanity, conviction, extortion, embezzlement, bribery, breach of trust duties to the Dine people. There is a two-thirds vote from the council to remove an elected official. The third limitation is the Dine Bill of Rights which was amended and reenacted in 1986. The fourth limitation is the use of veto power over specific resolutions. Congress and the Interior Department have not interfered with internal political affairs of the Nation. The federal government has plenary power over all indigenous nations. Tribes do not have the right of self-government. Congress has limited legal tribal powers. The restriction has not permitted jurisdiction over major crimes. If tribal sovereignty is to be a goal, it depends on the tribal community members to make it happen.

Executive Branch of Dine Nation:

The Executive Branch is lead by the President and the Vice-President of the Navajo Nation. The President takes initiative in reporting and recommending legislation to the Dine Nation. The President over sees all programs in the Executive Branch which includes administrative divisions. The President negotiates with other governments, represents the Nation regarding issues in state and federal governments and with other tribes. The Dine Nation President is responsible for financial management of tribal funds assuring accountability to the Dine people, and elected officials of the Navajo Council Delegates. The Vice-President assists the President in all direction of the government and at times acts in his capacity with his and the Dine Nation Council's approval during his absence. Executive power within power of the law enforcement applies or administers laws, agreements, or policies. The executive branch in a government with separation of powers, beginning with the chief executive officer and supporting officials carry out the Dine nation's or state's laws.

The Executive Branch is the largest of the three branches of the Dine Nation's Government. The President is the Chief Executive Officer of this branch. Twelve major divisions with the Executive branch are Education, Social Services, Health, Public Safety, Finance, General Services, Economic Development, Human Services, Natural Resources, and Community Development make up this branch. Additional executive offices include: The Office of the President and Vice President, Tax Commission, Navajo-Hopi Land Development, Management and Budget, Navajo Nation Washington, D.C. Office, and the Office of the Attorney General." 11

Rules Before the Constitution:

What rules did the thirteen states have before the Constitution? The thirteen states knew they couldn't fight a revolution without helping each other. Right in the middle of the Revolution they wrote a set of rules. These were the Article of Confederation. Under the Articles of Confederation the thirteen states elected a Congress, a group of people to make laws and each state had one vote. The Article could not be changed unless every state agreed.

The rebel government needed money to fight the war, but there was no way to make the states pay up. If the fighting was in New York, the states far away would not send money. General Washington had to go to Congress again and again to beg for bullets, food, and clothes for his rebel soldiers.

James Madison from Virginia was a young rebel congressman. He wanted to help Washington and his soldiers. He decided that the Articles of Confederation did not work, because Congress could not make the state's tax people to pay for the war. When the Revolutionary was won, the newly free states enjoyed making their own rules. England had lost the war, but refused to leave the forts in the West after the peace treaty was enacted. In 1886 Daniel Shays, a hero of the Revolution led a group of farmers in a revolt against the state of Massachusetts. They wanted to keep their farms and get help for their debts. Shays' Rebellion didn't get very far. Shays and his men were defeated. Four people were killed, and most of the rebel farmers fled into the woods. But news of Shays' Rebellion scared people. They were afraid the revolt of the farmers would spread. The new national government had not been able to help Massachusetts. Shays' Rebellion lead to the writing of the Constitution. George Washington and other leaders of the Revolution wanted to see a stronger united nation. They wanted this nation to have only one money system and a nation that would trade with other governments, there was a need for one nation.

The Founders and the United States Constitution:

The world knew only of monarchies and absolute rulers when courageous leaders such a Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and James Madison risked their lives and fortunes to lead the force for an independent United States. Jefferson was the chief author of the Declaration of Independence that the Continental Congress formally issued on July 4, 1776. George Washington led the new nation's army in the Revolution. George Washington, chairman of the Constitutional Convention became the first president under the Constitution. Madison was considered the influential mind of the Constitution and later served as president. The Founders who wrote the Constitution wanted their new nation to last. They knew how hard it was to create a government that could change with times. They had just fought and won a war against a government that had refused to change. That war was the American Revolution.

For over one hundred years, colonies belonged to England and ruled by the King. In 1763, King George III began to demand more taxes from the American colonies. People didn't like having to pay a tax on every little thing on paper, glass, and tea. But they had no one to speak for them in England. After a while, Americans wanted to rebel, to break away from England and become independent.

One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence was Benjamin Franklin. He begged the thirteen new states to work together. The King of England sent more than one hundred ships full of soldiers to fight the American rebels. General George Washington led the Revolution against England. During the long Revolutionary War, General Washington gathered around young men from all over the thirteen states. These young men thought of themselves as fighting for a nation, not for their own state back home. Washington treated them like the sons he never had. Six years after the Revolution, in 1787, several of these young men would go to Philadelphia with George Washington to help write the Constitution. The delegates to the Second Continental Congress were aware that they were committing treason by signing the Declaration of Independence. Declaring a rebellion on Britain they were signing their death warrants.

Like the rules of a game the Constitution of the United States is the basic law. These rules are for the United States government and all citizens. The Constitution sets up rules for how laws are made. The Constitution of the United States was written in 1787 and has lasted two hundred years, longer than any other written constitution.

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence officially declared the American colonies free and independent. It has become one of the most famous documents in the world. It declares that all men are created equal. It said that the thirteen colonies were now thirteen free states that were free from the King of England. The thirteen states were not united. The rebels didn't know if they could win their revolution. One third of the people in the colonies stayed loyal to the King of England.

A Call for a Convention:

James Madison called for a convention at Annapolis, Maryland, September 1786 to discuss the problem of trade between all the states. Five of the thirteen states sent delegates. Alexander Hamilton and James Madison decided to call for another conference to be held in Philadelphia on Monday of May 2, 1787. The constitution was written. When the Convention finally opened they met at the Pennsylvania State House, Independence Hall. There Thomas Jefferson had first read his Declaration of Independence. Finally Friday, May 25, 1787 there were enough delegates to begin.

The delegates were all white men, and they were far richer than the average person who lived at that time. Rhode Island refused to send anybody to the Convention. The other twelve states elected seventy-four delegates. Only fifty-five delegates showed up. On most days there were only thirty or forty delegates working. The youngest delegate was Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey who was twenty-seven. The oldest delegate was Ben Franklin who was eight-one. Most of the leaders were in their early thirties. Some served during the war, some were lawyers, and others were well known in their states.

Benjamin Franklin couldn't resist trying out new ideas. Many of his new ideas were about science. He invented the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove. He thought of new political ideas, helped write the Declaration of Independence and the peace treaty with England in 1783. By 1787 an old man in his eighties he got sick and was carried to the Convention in a first sedan chair.

George Washington was the most famous delegate at the Convention. He was a proud man respected by people and considered a national hero. He had a quick temper and was fearless. He loved horses. Having false teeth made it hard for him to speak in public. He shared his home with many people.

James Madison is often called the father of the Constitution. He was five feet six inches tall. Being wealthy he lived on a plantation and never had to work. He became a member of the Virginia government, congressman, secretary of state, and president.

The delegates had to elect a chairman and knew it would be Washington. Every single delegate voted for George Washington as chairman. After Washington took his seat, James Madison wrote all that was said and happened. Madison would not allow his notes to be published until the last delegate died. He died in 1836.

Success of the Convention:

The success of the Convention depended on two rules. The first rule was to keep everything a secret. The delegates were serious about keeping things secret. They put guards at the window and nailed windows shut. The second rule allowed the delegates to change their minds with votes. Whenever the delegates argued they were afraid of a division of members. They would take a vote, go on to something else knowing that they would come back to the problem and make a compromise.

Under the compromise, Congress had two houses. One house was based on population and this was the House of Representatives in which members are elected every two years. The other house is the Senate. Senators are elected every six years. Together both houses make up Congress.

The delegates wanted their new government to have different branches to include equal power a separation of powers and checks and balances. The delegates needed a government where there would be someone strong enough to check the House and Senate. They wanted someone who could lead the country in time of emergency and deal with high officials of other nations. They decided this person would be, president. The President could not make laws but would have warrant to carry out laws. The delegates made the President Commander in Chief, but cannot declare war, Congress declares war.

Commander in Chief:

The powers and duties of the president are stated in Article II of the Constitution. "Article II, Section 1, grants the executive power to the president, and Section 3, makes the president responsible for the enforcement of federal laws, to faithfully execute laws."12 The president is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces; has Power to Commission Officers; Calls Congress into special sessions; receives Ambassadors from other nations; faithfully executes laws; appoints officials; make treaties and appoint ambassadors, with consent of the Senate; and sign or veto legislation. Article II has made it possible for presidents to expand their authority greatly beyond what is listed in the Constitution.

In the past the electoral college, chose the president and vice president of the United States. The person who received the most electoral votes became president with the runner up as vice president. This caused some difficulties and urged Americans to adopt the Twelfth Amendment in 1804 separating the ballot to elect the president and vice president of the United States. With further objections to make changes, oppositions of the amendment argued under such a system, the qualification of the vice president would be questioned. 13 Changes to electing the president have been an on-going process in the United States history.

Collaborative Learning Activities:

Students will reenact the historical signing of the Treaty of 1868. The teacher will provide visuals and information of people who played key roles in the Dine and the United States history.

As an expository writing assignment, students will research key figures in history and present their writing in the class.

Students will describe the United States executive branch and make comparisons to the Dine Nation executive branch. (Significant historical events will guide the transformation typology in the lessons.)

After a week of studying key figures in the Dine and U.S. History, guest speakers (Charlene Kruger, a museum curator and a foster grandparent) will share information relating to the Long Walk of the Navajo. Students will write a reflection in regards to the proud hearted identity of being Dine.

Studying leadership styles and achievements of Henry Chee Dodge and George Washington students will compare and contrast between the first presidents.

Upon completing the unit, a guest speaker/representative of the Dine Nation government will further inform students of the operations of the largest, Native American Dine Nation government organizations. This will allow students to see how their immediate government functions so they can better participate in the community.

Native Americans endured years of injustice. The pride and determination remained strong. Read a poem and relate the reading to how the United States government treatment had effects on Native American tribes.

In pairs, the students will create a timeline for the Dine and United States history.

Finding rules as the delegates did would keep people talking until a compromise could be found. Write about a time when you had a disagreement with someone and then reached a compromise.

Write a letter to the President, (Dine or United States) telling him why the decisions he makes are so important to young people.

A revolution is a sudden change in government. Imagine that you became the decision-makers in our school. Describe some changes that might take place.

Essential Questions:

1. Why do you think the term democracy is an appropriate name for our system of government?

2. Describe example of times you have paid taxes on things you have bought. What do you think the government does with all of the tax money it collects? What do you think it should do with the money?

3. What do you believe the characteristics of a good president should be?

4. Political cartoons show the cartoonists' opinions about political issues or events. Draw a cartoon that shows your opinion about something.

5. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence officially declared the American colonies free and independent. It has become one of the most famous documents in the world. It declares that all men are created equal. In your own words, what does this statement mean to you?


  2. McCarty, T.L. Navajo Leadership and Government: A History. Navajo Curriculum Center (Flagstaff: Rough Rock Demonstration School, 1983) 1
  3. Ibid, 8
  4. Mitchell, Marie, The Navajo Peace Treaty 1868., Mason & Lipscomb: (New York 1973), 79
  7. Wilkins, David E., The Navajo Political Experience., Dine College Press: (Arizona 1999), 82
  8. Wilkins, David E., The Navajo Political Experience., Dine College Press: (Arizona 1999), 108
  9. Wilkins, David E., The Navajo Political Experience., Dine College press: (Arizona 1999), 106
  10. ttp://
  12. Monk, Linda R., The Words We Live By., A Stonesong Press Book Hyderion: (Yew York 2003), 202-203
  13. Ibid,202-203

Works Cited

1846, the time the Americans gained control of New Mexico Territory in. "Diné Biographies | Manuelito." Dine Education Web. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 July 2012. <>.

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