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I'm editing points in the Navajo Nation, and many unincorporated towns and CDPs have Navajo Chapter Houses. These are "local government subdivisions" and "exercise varied delegated powers and governmental authority in accordance with Navajo statutory, regulatory, and common law." I want to make sure that these Chapter Houses should be listed as "Town Halls" since they fill that role in the Navajo Nation. In the "Structure Definitions" provided by the USGS, the entry on town halls says they are usually associated with incorporated places, which by virtue of being incorporated can legally be called town, village, etc. According to the strict definition in the "Structure Definitions" it does not appear that a location has to be incorporated to have a "town hall" marked. If somebody could please confirm that Navajo (and potentially other Tribal Government) chapter houses can be listed as "town halls," your help will be greatly appreciated.

asked 25 Apr '20, 01:38

awaters5's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Great question and we appreciate the input provided!

For the Navajo Nation, we will accept a Chapter House as a town hall because under the Navajo Nation Code: Title 26, Navajo National Local Governance Act, the Chapter House was recognized as an organized entity which makes local government decisions. They also hold regular meetings at a designated location.

According to the Act:

The purpose of the Local Governance Act is to recognize governance at the local level. Through adoption of this Act, the Navajo Nation Council delegates to Chapters governmental authority with respect to local matters consistent with Navajo law, including custom and tradition.

Based on the Navajo government website, there are 5 Navajo agency areas, each with multiple Chapter House locations, totaling over 120 possible locations. Some of these locations are only listed with PO Boxes, some have a road address, and some have a description of how to find the building. The building locations may be difficult to pinpoint. Any points created for a Chapter House need to be placed on the correct building, so if the location of a Chapter House can’t be determined, it is OK to leave the point off the map.

Also, the name of the Chapter House should match the name listed on the individual chapter house website. Most should have the words “Chapter House” in the name.

This guidance is specific to the Navajo Nation and may not be applicable to the governance structures of other Tribal Nations. If you encounter a similar situation in another part of the country, send us an email so we can investigate it. Additional examples will need to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.


answered 28 Apr '20, 12:01

East2West's gravatar image

East2West ♦♦
accept rate: 2%

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Asked: 25 Apr '20, 01:38

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Last updated: 28 Apr '20, 12:01

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