Window Rock, Arizona

Window Rock is in the heart of the Navajo Nation. If you plan a visit to Arizona you'll want to pass through and spend a day in this area.

Window Rock is the capital of the Navajo Nation. The previous name of Window Rock was Nee Alneegn. The ceremonial name is Ni''Alnii'gi meaning Earth's Center. The current name is Tseghahoodzani that means Perforated Rock. The Commissioner of Indian Affairs choose Window Rock in l936 to be the designated town for the Navajo Central Agency. Today Window Rock is the center of all offices of the capital of the Navajo Nation. The buildings for this Central Agency were made of sandstone obtained locally. In later years the Navajo Tribal Council House was built in the town. Window Rock is located just 27 miles northwesterly from Gallup, New Mexico. Window Rock is located in Apache County and is very close to the Arizona and New Mexico state lines.

In Window Rock there is a hole in a 200 foot high sandstone hill and it is called the Window Rock. The hole was caused over many years from a spring under the rock and was one of the four places that the Najavo medicine men used for water for their offerings and ceremonies. These ceremonies were performed in hopes of curing illness and wanting rainfall. The offerings are directed towards the water or the rain way ceremony. The Haystacks are called Tsetacheechih (Wind Going Through the Rocks) and are rounded sandstone monoliths that look like haystacks. These are located about l mile from Window Rock. In an area south of these Haystacks the Tseyaato (Spring Under the Rock) is located in a formation of rock. This was where the 4,000 Navajos stopped for water on their walk from Fort Defiance to the "Long Walk" to Fort Sumner in New Mexico in 1864.

The Navajo tribal Museum and Arts and Craft Center is located in Window on Highway 264. You will find displays of modern and ancient Navajo arts and crafts and also fine silver work. You will be able to buy many native items such as blankets, sand paintings, turquoise and silver crafts. You can also learn much about the history of the Navajo people.

In the Window Rock area there will be Navajo rugs for sale as well as in other areas on the reservation. These rugs are made in certain areas on the reservation such as Two Gray Hills. This rug is made in natural colors or natural wool containing colors of white, black and gray. These rugs have intricate designs. In the Tes-Nos-Pas (cottonwoods in a circle) you will find it to be similar to the Two Gray Hills rug pattern. There is a little green in the Tes-Nos-Pas rug. The Wide Ruins-Pine Springs rugs are rugs that are thinner than most and they are fine-spun and woven very tightly and the colors are derived from vegetable dyes. Be sure when you are buying a rug to make sure it is authentic and not from Mexico. It is wise to check the application of design, uniformity of thread, cleanness and character of the wool. The edges and the packing of the weave as well as the warp structure should be checked before buying a rug.

There are places in the area to enjoy fine meals and accommodations for staying in Window Rock. There are picnic and camping grounds nearby and you are free to camp on the reservation while you are in the area except in the Navajo hogans or at the waterholes. Some of the campgrounds have modern improvement and water and other do not.

In September each year the Navajo Nation Fair is held. This is a 4-day tribal fair that has a rodeo. There are many ceremonial dances, and booths of Navajo arts and crafts for sale. There is also a "midway" amusement area with rides and fun for the entire family.

You might want to drive Tuba City and to Moenkopi, a Hopi Indian community with irrigated fields. From Moenkopi you can drive over to Third Mes, then to Hotevilla, passing near Bakabi and onward to Old Oraibi. This is the oldest continuously inhabited village in the Village States. The village of Shungopovi is located at Second Mesa and you can visit nearby Shiplovi and Mishongnovi. To the east just a few miles First Mesa has very old pueblos of Walpi and Hano on the narrow sheer-sided tongue of rock. This is a very narrow and steep road to these pueblos. In this area you will find beautiful kachinas, that are doll-like effigies of the Hopis mythical messengers to the gods. The Hopi administrative center is located at Keams Canyon.

The Navajo National Monument is in the northern area of the reservation by Kayenta and Tonalea. The most extensive pueblo ruins are located at Keet Seel. From Tonalea you can hike to the Betatakin and Inscription House. There is a very rough trail that is ll miles in distance to Keet Seel. The Elephant's feet is located two miles northeast of Tonalea, where you will find two hug stone columns that are shaped like elephant's feet. These huge rocks are in a rolling, treeless mesa on the westward side of the road.

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site is located in nearby Ganado. This is still a trading post and you may even see a Navajo woman weaving the traditional rug while you are visiting this older trading post. This is a historic landmark. At one time these posts were very important to the Navajo as they sold and traded their crafts, pawned artifacts and obtained canned goods and necessary supplies. The white man provided a social outlet for the Navajo and thus they were tied economically and culturally.

You will very much enjoy your visit to Window Rock and the surrounding area. You will leave Navajo country with a respect for the Navajo Indians and their arts, crafts and traditions and will want to return for many years.

© High Speed Ventures 2011