Navajo Nation Reverses Position and Now is Against Horse Slaughtering


September 18, 2013 – Press Release

images-11Black Mesa, AZ  (September 16, 2013) – The Nohooká Dine’, Elders and Medicine People of the Dine’, unanimously approved a Resolution opposing any and all action that leads to the slaughter of horses. The Horse is sacred to the Dine’ and is a central part of our culture and tradition. The Resolution, approved on August 26th, states in part that “The Great Horse Nation is a part of the Great Covenant, as a supernatural being, it possesses incredible power, it is inextricably tied to our spiritual way of life and our cultural traditions, when our children are born our families look to the horse spirit to see what they have delivered to us, if we fail to honor the place of the horse in our spiritual way of life and in our cultural traditions, then we jeopardize the very cycle that renews the life of our people. The Horse must be given respect and honored for their sacred place within the Creation, as they possess the same fundamental right to Life as we, Five Finger Ones, do.”

This past week, a spokesman for the Navajo Nation administration affirmed this position. During an interview on the radio program Native American Calling, Communication Director, Erny Zah stated that: “Slaughtering is not a solution…As the Navajo Nation we are against slaughtering of these horses”(airdate -Thursday, September 12, 2013.) 

“This statement from the Navajo Nation administration is more aligned with who we are as Dine’ people” stated Leland Grass of the Dine’ for Wild Horses. “We urge the Navajo Nation to formally adopt a moratorium on horse slaughtering and to only legally contract with horse buyers that agree not to sell horses for slaughter or not to slaughter the horses themselves.” The people of the Navajo Nation were encouraged by Zah’s statement. There has been great concern over past comments that have been made by Navajo Nation President, Ben Shelly. He once voiced concern that the horses were causing environmental damage. These claims appear to have been based on misinformation. We are encouraged to see a shift toward conscious resource management. The amount of money that is currently being spent to round up the wild horses for slaughter is capable of feeding and watering those animals for years. Grass believes that the Navajo Nation “could use these animals to teach our children, we can care for them, we can sell them to people and organizations that don’t want to torture them.”

The Nohooká Dine resolution urges the Navajo Nation to be mindful of the foundations of their cultural and spiritual way of life. It concludes by stating: “The Nohooká Dine’ strongly urges Navajo Nation President, Ben Shelly, The Navajo Nation Council, The Navajo Nation Judicial Branch, US Department of Interior and US Department of Agriculture to stop the desecration and destruction of the Dine’ Way of Life and Spiritual Foundation by recklessly promoting and supporting the round-up and mass execution of our spiritual relative the Horse.” 

“We are sending the Resolution to all legislators in Washington, DC to show our support for the Horse and to urge them to pass the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, currently pending before Congress,” said Grass. “While it is important for protecting the Horse within the Navajo Nation, a national bill is critical to ensure there is no incentive for horses to be taken from our lands or elsewhere in the United States for slaughter.”


For More Information Contact:
Leland Grass,

(I can’t let this pass without commenting that while on the surface this is great news, it doesn’t change anything. The American people as a whole have made it known by resolution, petition and demonstration that 80% of us are AGAINST horse slaughter. The will of the people mean nothing to those who gain power, then corrupt it for their selfish benefit. Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly is no different than our own elected officials. –  Jerry)

AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • Jan Schultz

    It does change everything. This news will ripple through the tribes, whose lands hold the horses worth millions of dollars to the slaughterers who shored up their “need” for slaughterhouses by tempting them with money and power. Think what this news does to the Yakama group in Washington. Of course, Shelly is corrupt – he has finally been called out for the empty suit he is. I am proud of the Navajo and grateful.

    September 18, 2013
  • sherriey

    i agree, Jerry….but for the majority of the ‘Navajo people’ to speak up against slaughter, publicly, is a right and just step forward. i commend them for doing so. its good to see that those with sense are on the right track.
    the corrupted ones will never be!!!!

    September 18, 2013
  • Nancy Albin

    In Northern Nevada 2 wild horses have been murdered 1 by a gun & 1 shot with bow & arrow 2 stallions. Which leaves 2 herds without a leader?

    September 18, 2013
  • does ANYBODY friggin get it-this America as it’s called BELONGS to the tribes, and NOT NOT to the self-righteous, arrogant, and wrongly indignant white European descendants of the invading violators…this is an OCCUPIED territory, and only the Tribal Elders should have any say in who stays here and who needs to GO!!!!!!

    September 18, 2013
  • Anne-Marie

    This is about the horses, let’s not get into other issues. We need to stand UNITED in this fight to save the horses. I agree the Natives were here first and now is the time where they can take the “lead” in showing us “ignorant invading violators” the way to save Mother Earth and all our Animal brothers!

    September 22, 2013
  • Carol

    Thankyou for declaring your stance on NO HORSE SLAUGHTER. The horses need the 80% of ALL Americans to stand up for them. This is important – make your views know to Washington.

    October 1, 2013