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 Window Rock. 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 and Zoo. As the capital of the Nation, the administrative services provided through the Tribal Administration Complex assure government of a key role in the economy.
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.