In the 1950s, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) managed the Navajo Reservation's feral dog population by scheduling semi-annual “dog shoots.” After one gruesome dog shoot resulted in seventeen slaughtered dogs in Chinle, Arizona, community members pressed local BIA authorities to reform reservation dog control, an effort that pitted the interethnic community against an authoritarian form of settler-colonial governance. Because citizenship on the reservation—for Navajo and non-Navajo alike—was effectively rendered inferior to that of citizens outside the reservation, substantive changes to local BIA policies required an alliance with a constituency beyond the reservation’s borders, one with full access to state power—in this case, the National Dog Welfare Guild. This article thus demonstrates Native American grass-roots activism and boundary politics against oppressive federal authority.

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