The Navajo Times (1959-1960)
The Navajo Times started in 1959 as a monthly newsletter published by the Education Committee of the Navajo Tribe in Window Rock, Arizona, capital of the Navajo Nation. Dillon Platero, chairman of the Tribal Council’s Education Committee, was the first editor and publisher. The inaugural issue stated: “The primary purpose of the newspaper is to serve the 6,000 Navajo children who are attending off-reservation schools. It is hoped that this newspaper will keep them informed about what is happening on their Reservation. It is also hoped that this is a step toward supplying the Navajo people with an ever-increasing flow of information.” In these early years, the paper reported frequently about education and was circulated to dozens of Bureau of Indian Affairs schools.
The publication suspended for a few months in 1960 before re-emerging in August of that year as the Navajo Times, a twice-monthly newspaper run by the Navajo Tribe, with “Voice of Scenic Navajoland” printed under its masthead. The paper reported news of interest to the Navajo community, with the slogan “Published for…owned by…The Navajo People” appearing for many years. It covered local news and events, from birth announcements to town meetings, elections, and happenings in other Native communities. The paper had a “My Opinion” section with photos and quotes of community members, as well as tribal news, editorials, letters to the editor, sports, and comics.
For many years, the slogan was “Official newspaper of the Navajo Tribe.” The Times became a weekly starting in April 1961, with the Navajo Tribe listed as publisher and the announcement on the front page: “Navajo Times Now Tribal Enterprise.” There were several editors over the years; some of the longer-serving included Chester A. MacRorie, who came and went from the paper multiple times; Marshall Tome; and Paul Natonabah, who was also a longtime photographer for the Times.
The newspaper’s relationship with the tribal government, which funded and oversaw it for many years, sometimes created tension between its editors and the council. As reported in the Arizona Republic [LCCN: sn 83045137], MacRorie was editor of the Times 1961-1964 before resigning because he felt that the Tribal Council was attempting to control the news. MacRorie was later rehired to the paper, and in a February 1966 issue, he reported that “with this issue of the Navajo Times the newspaper takes its first step as a free press by resolution of the Navajo Tribal Council.”
Dates of Publication1959-1960Frequency of PublicationMonthlyPlace of PublicationWindow Rock, ArizonaLanguageEnglishPermissions and ReuseThe contents of the Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) are available to the public by our partners for using in research, teaching, and private study. Please note that U.S. Copyright and intellectual property laws apply to the digital resources made available through this site.
The newspaper continued as a weekly until 1984, when its name changed to the Navajo Times Today [LCCN: sn 84002329] and was published daily. Three years later, the title changed back to Navajo Times, and since then has been published weekly. Tom Arviso, Jr., who had been at the Times for many years as a reporter and editor, became publisher in 1993 and CEO of Navajo Times Publishing Company in 2004. The Navajo Times is still published today, independent from the Tribal Council, and with the subheading “Diné Bi Naaltsoos” [“Newspaper of the Navajo People”].