The Navajo language has been taught at the University of New Mexico since the 1970’s. In April 2020, the Navajo Program marked its 50th anniversary.
From the first 40 students enrolled for Beginning Navajo, the program has grown to offer a minor in Navajo and advanced language studies with a concentration in Native Languages of the Southwest in the Linguistics master’s degree program. Housed in the Department of Linguistics and supported through the years by the New Mexico state legislature and various grants, the Navajo (Diné) Program has made major contributions to the study of Navajo, bilingual teacher training and the publication linguistics materials. The five decades of dedicated effort have enabled the successes of generations of students, many of whom come to the program from the historic Navajo colleges to continue work on their four-year degrees.