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The land allocated to Navajos was initially not considered as part of the reservation.Further, the government determined that land "left over" after all members had received allotments was to be considered "surplus" and available for sale to non-Native Americans. Today, this patchwork of reservation and non-reservation land is called "the checkerboard" area.The original territory has been expanded several times since the 1800s.
This created an environment of misunderstanding, as its representatives did not consult sufficiently with the Navajo.
BIA Superintendent John Collier's attempt to reduce livestock herd size affected responses to his other efforts to improve conditions for Native Americans, as the herds were central to Navajo culture, and were a source of prestige.
This extends from before the Spanish colonial occupation of Dinetah, through to the July 25, 1868, Congressional ratification of the Navajo Treaty with President Andrew Johnson, signed by Barboncito, Armijo, and other chiefs and headmen present at Bosque Redondo.
The Navajo people have continued to transform their conceptual understandings of government since it joined the United States by the Treaty of 1868.
The eastern border was shaped primarily as a result of allotments of land to individual Navajo households under the Dawes Act of 1887.