The Navajo Nation comprises 110 local communities spread over 16 million acres and linked under a highly centralized system of tribal government. Since the creation of the Navajo chapter system, which facilitates local governance for the Navajo Nation, there have been growing tensions between some of these local communities and the central government in Window Rock. In the 1990s and early 2000s, several of these communities moved to claim greater decision-making authority as an assertion of local empowerment. This dissertation examines three such communities and their empowerment strategies: a grassroots secession movement at Tohajiilee, Shonto's use of the Navajo Nation's Local Governance Act (LGA), and the establishment of the Kayenta Township. This comparative study examines these strategies and considers their significance for the future of Navajo leadership and self-government.