The Window Rock/Fort Defiance area is in the southeast corner of the Navajo Reservation, which extends into portions of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.
In the early 1930s, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, John
Collier, declared that Tseghahodzani, “the rock with the hole in it,”
should be the center of administration for the Navajo Tribe. In
1966, the Bureau of Indian Affairs established an area office in
Six miles north of Window Rock, at the junction of Navajo
Routes 12 and 110, is Fort Defiance. Early Navajo settlers were
attracted to Tsehotsoi meaning “meadow between the rocks.”
Then, in the summer of 1851, Colonel Edwin Sumner selected the
site as a military outpost and named it Fort Defiance. The fort was
used as headquarters for Colonel Kit Carson's Navajo Campaign in
the summer of 1863.
Today the Window Rock/Fort Defiance area is a bustling commercial
and administrative growth center on the Navajo Nation. As
the capital of the Navajo Nation, Window Rock boasts many facilities
such as the Navajo Tribal Fairgrounds and the Tribal Museum
As the capital of the Nation, the administrative services provided
through the Tribal Administration Complex assure government of a
key role in the economy. Plans for additional administrative offices
are pending. Pittsburg and Midway Coal Mining Company, located
approximately four miles from Window Rock, is a major employer.
Fort Defiance has one of the seven industrial parks in the Navajo
Nation. Tenants include Packard Hughes Interconnect Wiring
Systems, Navajo Housing Authority, and True Value Lumber.
Two shopping centers serve the community. The 78,000-
square foot Window Rock Shopping Center’s tenants include a theater,
general store, coffee shop, video rental store, chiropractic and
optical offices, tax service, auto parts, and Norwest Bank. The
50,950-square-foot St. Michaels Shopping center includes
Bashas’, a tire center, Church’s Chicken and McDonald’s.
Window Rock, the capital of the Navajo Nation, has a 70-acre
fairgrounds site, which hosts the Annual Navajo Tribal Fair. The
Navajo Tribal Museum features exhibits on the history of the
Navajo Nation, examples of Navajo handicrafts and artifacts,
and a tribal zoo that has animals indigenous to the region.
The “Window Rock” itself, carved by centuries of wind,
sand and water, is 47 feet in diameter and is a major tourist
attraction. The Navajo Nation is a varied land of mountains and
desert. Many of the scenic wonders of the Southwest lie within
the reservation boundaries. These include Monument Valley,
Canyon de Chelly, Grand Falls and the Rainbow Bridge on the
southern shore of Lake Powell.