In April, 1974, the bodies of three Navajo men were found in separate locations in the rugged canyon country near Farmington, New Mexico, their bodies severely beaten, tortured, and burned. The slayings proved the catalyst for bringing the civil rights movement to Farmington.
An Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights (pusuant to section 105(c) of the Civil Rights Act of 1957) visited Farmington in the aftermath of the slayings, to hold hearings and conduct independent investigations of the social and economic relationships between Farmington and the Navajo people. The Committee filed its report to the Commission in July, 1975.
In his letter of transmittal, the chairperson of the Advisory Committee summarized the areas of concern and the central conclusion:
This report examines issues relating to community attitudes; the administration of justice; provisions of health and medical services; alcohol abuse and alcoholism; employment; and economic development on the Navajo Reservation and its real and potential impact on the city of Farmington and San Juan County. From testimony of participants during a 3-day open meeting in Farmington and from extensive field investigation, the Advisory Committee has concluded that Native Americans in almost every area suffer from injustice and maltreatment.
New Mexico Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, "The Farmington Report: A Conflict of Cultures" [ Washington, D.C.: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1975]