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Armed Forces

Navajo Nation


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The present state of Arizona is a part of the former territory of the Navajo-tribe. The history of Arizona as recorded by Europeans began in 1539 with the first documented exploration of the area by Marcos de Niza. The following year Francisco Vásquez de Coronado entered the area as well. Arizona was part of New Spain and of the Government of New Mexico of the empire and republic of Mexico from 1822, but the settled white population was small. In that era the state-symbols of the Spanish Indies and of Mexico were officially valid in the territory. In 1848, the United States took possession of most of it after the Mexican-American War, starting a tough campaign to drive the local population from its lands. The Gadsden Purchase secured the Tucson area in 1853. In 1863, Arizona was split off from the Territory of New Mexico into its own entity. Arizona became the 48th state of the United States on 4 February 1912.




The state of Arizona, according to the U.S. tradition, has no proper coat of arms but a seal used for administrative purposes. A quasi coat of arms is on the present great seal.

The seal is on the coat of arms, in the sense of an emblem of armed forces, of the Department of Public Safety, which is a service of the administration.

A coat of arms was adopted starting in 1922 followed by other military emblems in 1928 and 1956. This, it may be clear, is only used for military purposes.


The Seal



The original seal of Arizona is thus described: “The territorial seal is two and one-fourth inches in diameter, surrounded by the legend, ‘SEAL OF THE TERRITORY OF ARIZONA, “1863.”’ The device is a miner, dressed in a miner’s shirt and trousers and broad-leaved hat, leaning on his pick and spade. In the distance mountains; and below his feet the motto ‘Ditat Deus’ in Roman capitals.



Members of the First Territorial Legislative Assembly approved an act, in the fall of 1864, creating a new seal. It is described as follows:

“The seal of this Territory shall be of the size of two and one quarter inches in diameter, and of the following design: A view of San Francisco mountain in the distance, with a deer, pine trees, and columnar cactus in the foreground: the motto to be ‘Ditat Deus’. The date on said seal to be 1863, the year of the organization of the Territory. [1]



Article 22, § 20 of the Constitution of 1912, describes the present seal:


Art 22. Section 20. The seal of the State shall be of the following design: In the background shall be a range of mountains, with the sun rising behind the peaks thereof, and at the right side of the range of mountains there shall be a storage reservoir and a dam, below which in the middle distance are irrigated fields and orchards reaching into the foreground, at the right of which are cattle grazing. To the left in the middle distance on a mountain side is a quartz mill in front of which and in the foreground is a miner standing with pick and shovel. Above this device shall be the motto: "Ditat Deus." In a circular band surrounding the whole device shall be inscribed: "Great Seal of The State of Arizona", with the year of admission of the State into the Union.


Nowadays the seal is often represented full color.


Æ See illustration in the head of this essay


The state seal is representative of the most important elements of the Arizona economy: cattle, cotton, copper, citrus, and climate, which are all visible on the seal. The "Five Cs", as they are commonly known, appear as follows: Cattle are represented by the cow in the right-hand lower corner. Citrus is represented by the irrigated orchard slightly left of the middle. Cotton is represented by the irrigated fields slightly right of the midline. Copper is represented by the miner on the left. Climate, as expressed and exported in the flora and fauna, is represented by the sun and clouds.


Department of Public Safety





A seven-pointed star charged with the national seal, surrounded by a ring inscribed DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY. On a scroll in base: ARIZONA

In the empty space of the outer ring the name of the service


Sleeve patch

The national flag in the shape of the map of the state, inscribed  DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY in yellow lettering; and on a blue chief the name ARIZONA in yellow lettering.


Arizona State Area Command [2]




That for regiments and separate battalions of the Arizona Army National Guard:  From a wreath of colors, a giant cactus Proper.


The cactus appears on the Seal of the State.


The crest was approved for the color bearing organizations of the State of Arizona on 14 October 1922.


Distinctive Unit Insignia



A Gold color metal and enamel device 13/32 inches (2.78 cm) in height overall consisting of a White shield charged with the State crest of Arizona Proper (on a wreath Or and Gules a giant cactus Vert) all within a diminished Green border, and below a Gold scroll bearing the State motto "DITAT DEUS" (God Enriches) in Black letters.


The cactus appears on the Seal of the State.  As the original settlement within the State was of Spanish origin, the twists of the wreath are yellow and red.


The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the State Staff of Arizona on 26 July 1928.  It was amended to correct the wording of the description of the insignia on 20 October 1928.  The insignia was redesignated with description updated for Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment and noncolor bearing units of the Arizona Army National Guard on 6 January 1969.  The insignia was redesignated effective 30 December 1983, for Headquarters, State Area Command, Arizona Army National Guard.


Shoulder Sleeve Insignia



On a seven-sided shield with a 1/8 inch (.32 cm) white border 33/8 inches (8.57 cm) in width and 3½ inches (8.89 cm) in height overall, the background divided horizontally yellow above blue, three red rays issuing upward from center point, overall two arrows crossed diagonally and a bayonet, point up, all white.


The background of the shield alludes to the State flag of Arizona and the unit's location. The white crossed arrows are an Indian symbol of peace and reflect the unit's home area and heritage. The bayonet symbolizes the unit's commitment and readiness to fight to defend the nation.


The first design of the shoulder sleeve insignia was approved for the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Arizona National Guard on 17 February 1956.  It was redesignated with description amended effective 30 December 1983, for Headquarters, State Area Command, Arizona Army National Guard.  This insignia was cancelled and a new design of the shoulder sleeve insignia was approved for Headquarters, State Area Command, Arizona Army National Guard on 5 August 1988. (TIOH Dwg. No. A-1-751)


Navajo Nation




The Navajo Nation extends into the states of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Its capital is Window Rock (Arizona).

The Spanish first used the term Apachu de Nabajo in the 1620s to refer to the people in the Chama Valley region east of the San Juan River and northwest of present-day Santa Fe, New Mexico. By the 1640s, the Spanish began using the term "Navajo" to refer to the Diné. During the 1670s the Spanish wrote that the Diné lived in a region known as Dinétah, about sixty miles (100 km) west of the Rio Chama valley region. In the 1780s, the Spanish sent military expeditions against the Navajo in the Mount Taylor and Chuska Mountain regions of New Mexico.

The Navajo came into official contact with the United States of America in 1846, when Santa Fe was invaded during the Mexican American War. In 1849, the military governor of New Mexico, led a force of 400 soldiers into Navajo country, penetrating Canyon de Chelly, and signed a treaty with two Navajo leaders who presented themselves as "Head Chief" and "Second Chief." While en route to this treaty signing, Narbona, a prominent Navajo peace leader, was killed resulting in hostility between the treaty parties.

During the next ten years, the U.S. established forts on traditional Navajo territory. In 1861, the Commander of the Federal District of New Mexico initiated a series of military actions against the Navajo. As a result the Navajo surrendered at Canyon de Chelly and were taken to Fort Defiance for internment on July 20, 1863.

Beginning in the spring of 1864, around 9,000 Navajo men, women and children were forced to embark on the Long Walk of the Navajo of over 480 km to Fort Sumner, New Mexico for internment at Bosque Redondo. In 1868, a treaty was negotiated between Navajo leaders and the Federal government allowing the surviving Navajo to return to a reservation on a portion of their former homeland.

The United States military continued to maintain forts on the Navajo reservation in the years following the Long Walk. A group of Navajo known as “Indian Scouts” were employed by the military as civilian police through 1895. During this period, Chief Manuelito founded the Navajo Tribal Police, which operated between 1872 and 1875 as an anti-raid task force working to maintain the peaceful terms of the 1868 Navajo treaty.

By treaty, the Navajo were allowed to leave the reservation for trade. Eventually, the arrangement led to an increase of the size of livestock and crops. In addition, the tribe was able to increase the size of the Navajo reservation from 14,000 km² to the 65,000 km² as it stands today. However, economic conflicts with non-Navajo continued for many years as american civilians and companies exploited resources assigned to the Navajo. The US government itself made leases for livestock grazing, took land for railroad development, and permitted mining on Navajo land without consultation with the tribe.

The discovery of oil on Navajoland in the early 1920's promoted the need for a more systematic form of government.

In 1923, a tribal government was established to help meet the increasing desires of American oil companies to lease Navajoland for exploration. Navajo government has evolved into the largest and most sophisticated form of American Indian government


The Great Seal of the Navajo Nation was designed by Mr. John Claw, Jr., of Many Farms, Arizona, and was officially adopted by the Navajo Tribal Council on January 18, 1952, by resolution CJ-9-52. It is representative of the spirit and history of the Navajo Nation. 



The first Great Seal had forty eight projectile points or arrowheads symbolizing the Navajo Nations protection within the forty eight states (as of 1952). Since then, two points have been added to represent the entire fifty states of the United States. The opening at the top of the three concentric lines is considered the East. The lines represent the rainbow and sovereignty of the Navajo Nation. The rainbow never closes on the Nation's sovereignty. The outside line is red, the middle line is yellow and the inside line, blue. The yellow sun shines from the east on the four sacred mountains, Sisnaajinii, (White Shell Woman), Tsoodzi[ (Turquoise Woman), Dook'o'osl77d (Abalone Woman), and Dib4 Ntsaa (Jet Woman). Yoo[gaii, Doot['izhii, Diichi[i, and Baashzhinii are the sacred mountain ceremonial stones.

Two cornstalks with pollen symbolizes the sustainer of Navajo life. A horse, cow, and sheep, located in the center, symbolizes the Navajo livestock.[3]



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© Hubert de Vries 2013-11-23


[1] Zieber, Eugene: Heraldry in America. Published by the Department of Heraldry of the Bailey, Banks and Biddle Company. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1895.

[2] Retrieved from the site of the American Institute of Heraldry

[3] From: “Navajo Nation Government, Fourth Edition”, Office of Navajo Government Development, Window Rock, Navajo Nation.


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