Navajo Nation becomes largest tribe in US after pandemic saw climb in enrollment

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The Navajo Nation has become the largest tribe in the U.S., as its enrollment climbed during the coronavirus pandemic.

The tribe’s enrollment jumped from 306,268 to 399,494 in 2020, according to the Navajo Office of Vital Records and Identification, The New York Times reported.

The Navajo Nation, whose reservation is in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico, has surpassed the Cherokee Nation to become the biggest tribe in the U.S. The Cherokee Nation has an enrollment of around 392,000.

The Navajo Nation has some of the strictest requirements among tribes for joining, with official documentation showing a person is one-quarter Diné, the term many from the Navajo Nation prefer to call themselves, needed, NYT noted.

One reason enrollment has increased so much could be the tribe’s COVID-19 relief payments; those who wished to reenroll or enroll for the first time would get a $1,350 payment from the funds given to the tribe by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act if accepted, the Times reported.

The population of the Navajo Nation could be greater, as the Census Bureau has not released the 2020 population numbers for the tribe.

The Navajo Nation president in recent weeks has come out against Arizona’s new voting laws, saying they’re an “assault” on the tribe’s voting rights.

Tags Cherokee Nation COVID-19 pandemic in the Navajo Nation Native American tribes Navajo Nation

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