In the Smithsonian June 2020, Prologue / American Icon by Rahawa Haile calls Navajo beliefs “mythology.” It seems disrespectful to me to call anyone’s belief system untrue without citing evidence to that effect.
The article assumes that public land is better cared for or preserved than land in private hands. This mythology can be debunked simply by looking at private yards and public thoroughfares. Do you see trash among the shrubs and lawns of private residences? Do you see litter lining the streets?
On a scale more relevant to the article, managed grazing has been proven to be beneficial to open spaces on private land where the owner has a stake in preserving value. Grazing on leased government land has shown devastation because the responsible parties are just doing a job, rather than caring for something that is theirs.
As someone who has logged public land in the past and farms private land today, I see preservation through public ownership as more of a myth than the Navajo religion.