Slightly larger than West Virginia, Navajo country stretches across a vast swath of land made up of parts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. Get a taste of traditional Navajo food and discover rare souvenirs and rich history in Tuba City and Window Rock, Ariz.
Explore Navajo Interactive Museum in Tuba City, Ariz.
Zero in on Tuba City, Ariz., for an intimate glimpse into Navajo history and modern-day life.
Start at the Explore Navajo Interactive Museum where an introductory video gives you a foundation to begin perusing the museum. Originally created for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the exhibits feature kid-focused activities, plus a replica hogan
you can explore.
“You’ll see hogans at Canyon de Chelly National Monument from afar, but you can’t go inside,” says Donovan Hanley, sales director of the Navajo Nation Hospitality Enterprises. But in the museum you can go into a hogan, plus you get the benefit of a museum tour guide on hand to answer your questions.”
Next door is the historic Tuba City Trading Post, which was built in 1870 and sells authentic Native American jewelry, pottery and rugs. Don’t miss the exhibit on Navajo code talkers here. The U.S. Marines recruited Navajos to transmit messages in a secret code to defeat the Japanese during World War II.
Hungry? Eat at the Hogan Restaurant in the Quality Inn where you can sample traditional Navajo food like blue corn mush and mutton stew.
The museum and trading post are at 10 N. Main St. in Tuba City; 928-283-5441; discovernavajo.com.
Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock Ariz.
If you have time, make a trip to Window Rock, Ariz., headquarters of the Navajo Nation Council Chamber, housed in a beautiful large hogan built in the 1930s. If the doors are unlocked, you can quietly slip inside, sit in the chairs against the wall and observe policymakers in action.
Explore the Navajo Nation Museum, you will learn the Navajo history of the "Long Walk," which led to the signing of the historic Treaty of 1868, and visit the Navajo Veterans Memorial Park where a statue of a Navajo code talker has been constructed.
Afterwards, explore Navajo Arts and Crafts.
“You’ll get authentically made Navajo jewelry, but we also have little outdoor stands like a flea market where Navajos buy and sell their stuff,” says Corrine Jymm of the Navajo Tourism Department.
Corrine's photo tip: Never take a photo of a Native American without asking permission. Offering money in exchange for the opportunity to take a photo is fairly common.
The museum is at Highway 264 and Loop Road, Window Rock, Arizona 86515; 928-871-7941; www.navajonationmuseum.org
More to See and Experience on Navajo Land
1. Four Corners Monument
Four Corners Monument is the only place in the U.S. where the corners of four states converge. Stand in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona all at the same time.
2. Iconic Rocks
3. Lake Powell
Jump into Lake Powell with 186 miles of Navajoland shoreline.
4. Chocolate Falls
Splash at Grand Falls which looks like melted chocolate flowing over a mesa.
For more information:
Navajo Tourism Department
P.O. Box 663, Window Rock, AZ