Federal Presidential Pardon

A Study of Noteworthy Presidential Pardons

Peter MacDonald

Posted on | January 1, 2010 | 1 Comment

MacDonald was chairman of the Navajo. He was convicted in both tribal court and US Federal court for different criminals offenses.

Most notable was a fraud conviction for his involvement in a deal for a piece of land known as the Big Boquillas ranch. Before the Boquillas transaction, the Navajo and the Hopi were disputing a piece of land in Arizona. Boquillas was huge. If MacDonald purchased Boquillas for the Navajo, he wouldn’t have to worry if he lost the fight with the Hopi over the disputed lands. The argument justified the transaction.

The dispute is how he purchased the lands. At 9:50 a.m. on July 15, 1989, Tom Tracy and Bud Brown bought Big Boquillas for $26.2 million. At 9:55 a.m., on the same day, MacDonald bought the same land from Tracy and Brown for $33.4 million.

Later that year, MacDonald, who made $55k a year, was seen driving a new beamer.

At MacDonald’s trial in federal court, Brown testified that MacDonald was in on the deal. MacDonald was accused of accepting bribes and kickbacks. MacDonald was convicted.

MacDonald was convicted in tribal court too. He was given a pardon under Navajo law under a theory of hozhonji, which means the Beauty Way; to forgive.

Clinton pardoned many folks on his last day in office–that day in American history is notable on its own. At the urging of U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, MacDonald was on Clinton’s last day list.

Peter MacDonald Navajo

Peter MacDonald - Chairman of the Navajo 1970, 1974, 1978, 1986


One Response to “Peter MacDonald”

  1. Milton Brock
    October 25th, 2010 @ 5:34 pm

    Peter MacDonald was indeed “THE MOST POERFUL INDIAN in AMERICA ” and I am certainly GLAD taht he was pardoned by then President Bill Clinton and I am still appalled by the Navajo peopel who claim Navajo traidition and yet cannot find PEACE in themselves by not forgetting all that is behind them !!!

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