Tuba City is in the western portion of the Navajo
Reservation. The written history of the town goes back more
than 200 years. When Father Francisco Garcés visited the area
in 1776, he recorded that the Indians were cultivating crops.
The town was settled by Mormons in the late 1870s, but in
1903 it was discovered that the town was built on Indian land,
and the U.S. government bought out the improvements. Tuba
City was made the headquarters of the western Navajo
Agency. The first boarding school was built in the community
at that time.
Tuba City is at the junction of state Highway 264 and U.S.
160, about 80 miles northeast of Flagstaff, at an elevation of
approximately 5,000 feet.
Today, the community is an urban center within the Tuba
City Chapter, a local government unit of the reservation. As an
administrative and educational center, Tuba City has developed
rapidly and has been designated a major “growth center” on
the Navajo Reservation by the tribal government.
There are various theories about who chose the name
“Tuba,ª” but most agree it came from the Hopi word “Toova.”
The Navajo name for Tuba City, “Tonanesdizi” or “tangled
waters,” probably refers to the many springs below the surface
of the ground which are the source of several reservoirs. The
springs of Tuba City have made it the oasis of the surrounding
Services, mining and public administration are the largest economic
sectors. Public Health, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the
public schools are the principal employers in the Tuba City
Tuba City is diversifying its economic activities. The Tuba
City Shopping Center project, consisting of 48,000 square
feet, is occupied by Bashas' Supermarket, Silver Screen
Theater, The General Store, Waldo’s Pizza, Video Unlimited,
and Super K Exxon Station.
There are numerous Navajo Tribal and National Parks in the
vicinity of Tuba City. These include Grand Canyon National
Park, Navajo National Park, Sunset Crater National Monument,
Wupatki National Monument, Glen Canyon National
Recreation Area, Monument Valley Tribal Park, and Rainbow
Bridge National Monument.
There are also three overnight camping areas in the community
with hook-ups for campers. Pasture Canyon Reservoir
and Mohave Reservoir offer good fishing. The Navajo Western
Fair is held annually in late October.