Implementation of Indigenous Food Tax Policies in Stores on Navajo Nation

Etsitty O. Sean, Brianna John, Alex Greenfeld, Robert Alsburg, Malyssa Egge, Sharon Sandman, Carmen George, Cameron Curley, Caleigh Curley, Hendrik D. de Heer, Gloria Begay, Shirleen Jumbo-Rintila, Martin E. Ashley, Del Yazzie, Ramona Antone-Nez, Sonya Sunhi Shin, Carolyn Bancroft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 2014, the Navajo Nation Healthy Diné Nation Act (HDNA) was enacted and permanently approved in 2020; HDNA places a 2% surtax on unhealthy foods and beverages, while other 2014 legislation exempted healthy food items from the 6% regular sales tax. Little is known about Navajo Nation store manager/owner perspectives toward the HDNA and how best to support stores to implement the legislation. Purposive sampling was used to ensure a balanced sample of correct HDNA implementers, incorrect HDNA implementers, and stores which made healthy store changes over the past 6 years. Three community-based interviewers collected surveys by phone or in-person. Frequency of closed-ended questions was quantified, and open-ended responses were coded using thematic analysis. Of 29 identified sample stores, 20 were interviewed to reach saturation. Eleven of 20 stores made changes improving their healthy food environments. Barriers included lack of equipment (6/20) and low consumer demand (5/20). Facilitators included consumer awareness and increased produce supply options (5/20). Sixteen of 20 stores supported HDNA continuation. Facilitators to HDNA implementation included orientation and informational materials (6/20) and promotion of tax-free items (5/20). Barriers included confusion about the tax (6/20) and tax exemption (5/20). Suggestions for support included printed materials (6/20) and store training (5/20). HDNA benefits included greater awareness of healthy choices among staff (7/20) and customer-community members (2/20). Most managers and owners expressed receiving support for healthy store changes and HDNA, but also identified a need for added resources and support. Findings inform legislative action to promote timely and appropriate uptake of HDNA, and support equitable, healthy food systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76S-85S
JournalHealth Promotion Practice
Issue number1_suppl
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • American Indian
  • HDNA
  • Navajo Nation
  • Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health
  • Sovereignty
  • community-based participatory research
  • food equity
  • food insecurity
  • food tax-policy
  • junk food tax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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