In the Navajo Nation, Anarchism Has Indigenous Roots

One point that I have consistently tried to make is that “anarchism” is not merely something that was dreamed up by Enlightenment philosophers or 19th-century radicals. While it wasn’t until Proudhon that people started calling themselves “anarchist” (Joseph Dejacque was the first to use the term “libertarian”), there are many philosophical, cultural, ethical, religious, and ethnic traditions extending all the way back to antiquity or to the earliest human cultures that are solidly anarchist in content if not in name.

By Cecilia Howell

The Nation

About an hour west of the New Mexico–Arizona border, an expanse of highway, sky, and sagebrush-spotted terrain ends in sandstone cliffs. The red-orange walls drop down into Canyon de Chelly, the only national park operated on land still owned by the Navajo Nation. This summer, as the per capita rate of coronavirus cases in the Navajo Nation surpassed New York state’s, Kauy Bahe, 19, found himself standing on the canyon’s edge as he delivered food to a Navajo elder and her family as part of a mutual aid effort.


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