Navajo Nation Sales Tax


Challenges facing sovereign nations include how to support themselves financially, run their governments, and meet the needs of their peoples. In 1974, the Navajo Nation established a Navajo Tax Commission. Following a US Supreme Court decision affirming the Nation’s right to impose taxes, the Commission began to collect specific taxes. In 2002, the Nation instituted a tribal sales tax as a strategy for decreasing tribal government dependence on revenue from federal and state grants and from the sale of non-renewable resources. Relying on the traditional concept Beenahaz’aanii Nahat’a (an act of gathering individuals to reach group understanding), the tribal government consulted citizens before introducing the policy, generating a buy-in for an initiative that has already raised $43 million for the Nation. Among other things, sales tax revenues fund local government, giving financial teeth to a major effort by the Nation to put more decision-making power in the hands of local Navajo communities.


Native Nations
Resource Type

"Navajo Nation Sales Tax". Honoring Nations: 2005 Honoree. The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2006. Report. 


This Honoring Nations report is featured on the Indigenous Governance Database with the permission of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. 

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