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Navajo Nation Argued Water Rights In Front Of The Supreme Court Monday

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in a water rights case brought by the Navajo Nation against the federal government and several states. The Navajo Nation says 150 years ago, the U.S. government signed treaties that promised them a “permanent home,” which is a promise the Navajo Nation says includes a sufficient supply of water. U.S. Attorney Frederick Liu says the government has no duty to provide water to the tribe, nor to investigate the tribe’s further needs around water. Justice Neil Gorsuch challenged Liu’s claim saying “there are provisions in the treaty, in respect to agriculture which is a promise that this will be a permanent home and there will be an opportunity to raise animals.” Liu agreed, the Gorsuch asks, “is it possible to have a permanent home, or farm, and raise animals without water?” Liu said, “No.” The federal government also says more water for the Navajo Nation would cut into already scarce supplies.

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