Churro sheep, a variety noted for its hardiness and multi-colored fleece, was brought by the Spaniards to Mexico in 1540. The breed adapted well to the arid plateaus and canyons of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado, but by the 1970s it risked extinction, with fewer than 400 Navajo-Churro sheep in existence.
In the 1980s, an effort to restore the breed was started, and by 2005, the Navajo-Churro Sheep Association had registered more than 5000 individuals.
Then in 2006 several non-profits joined forces with Slow Food USA to form a Presidium to protect and promote Navajo-Churro sheep, and to foster sustainable production of lamb. The Presidium was initially organized to benefit Diné sheepherders, hand-spinners, and weavers on the Navajo Indian reservation. The sheep is central not only to Diné sustenance but to spirituality and religious ceremonies as well. The carpet-quality wool has been used to produce ceremonial goods, as well as saddle blankets, coats, and vests. And now, the lamb meat is featured in regional restaurants.
Presidium leaders are among the founders and leaders of Slow Food Turtle Island Association and participate in Indigenous Terra Madre, Terra Madre, Slow Food Nations, and Slow Fish programs.
Those efforts continue and require supportive funding.