Robert Yazzie is a citizen of and Chief Justice Emeritus of the Navajo Nation. He served as Chief Justice from 1992 through 2003. He practiced law in the Navajo Nation for sixteen years and was a district judge for eight years. He was formerly the director of the Diné Policy Institute of Diné College (Navajo Nation) developing policy using authentic Navajo thinking. He is a visiting professor at the University of New Mexico School of Law, an adjunct professor of the Department of Criminal Justice of Northern Arizona University, and a visiting member of the faculty of the National Judicial College. He recently taught Navajo law at the Crownpoint Institute of Technology.
Justice Yazzie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin College of Ohio, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law. He is a member of the Navajo Nation Bar Association. He is the author of articles and book chapters on many subjects, Navajo peacemaking, traditional Indian law, and international human rights law. His seminal article, “Life Comes From It,” is a classic in restorative justice literature.
Justice Yazzie continues a career devoted to education in formal participation in faculties, lectures, and discussions of traditional Indigenous law at various venues throughout the world. He has a global audience and has frequently visited foreign lands to share his wisdom about traditional Indigenous justice and governance.