Navajo drops appeal in religious sites access case

FLAGSTAFF, AZ - The Navajo Nation has dropped its appeal in a federal case involving property rights and access to religious sites.

The Navajo and Hopi tribes instead will let a commission hear their disagreements.

The neighboring tribes had agreed not to interfere with each other's religious practices when they ended a decades-long land dispute.

The Hopis alleged a breach of that compact after one of its religious practitioners was cited by Navajo police for trespassing last May.

The Navajo Nation argued that it couldn't grant access to allotted land.

The commission set up to hear disputes said it lacked jurisdiction over the allotment holders. But a federal judge ruled the commission must decide the meaning of the compact.

The Navajo Nation appealed to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals but dropped the challenge this month.

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