Area reserved for occupation by American Indian people in northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, and northwestern New Mexico. Around 70% of the Navajo Nation are resident here. By far the largest American Indian reservation in the USA, it covers some 65,000 sq km/25,000 sq mi, and supports a total population (2000) of 180,500. The capital of the reservation is situated at Window Rock, Arizona.
The Navajo Indian Reservation extends southwest across Arizona's Black Mesa, entirely surrounding the Hopi Indian Reservation there; since the 1880s, parts of the Hopi reservation have been jointly inhabited, and a programme of relocating members of both groups to avoid tension has continued into the 1990s. The Navajo – Athabaskan-speaking nomads from western Canada – arrived in the area in the 17th century, and took up sheep-herding at around the same time. Their mobile lifestyle brought conflict with the Hopi and other sedentary local peoples. The reservation was created in 1868, and has since almost tripled in size. In the 1930s the US government restricted grazing rights for the Navajo's sheep, and promoted settled agriculture instead. More recently, oil, natural gas, uranium, and various minerals have been found on Navajo land, and are now exploited. Apart from Window Rock, the other main settlements in the reservation are Shiprock, New Mexico, and Kayenta, Arizona. In the west, the community of Tuba City, in Coconino County, Arizona (population 7,300) is a trade centre. Several notable sites of natural beauty are located within the reservation. In northeast Arizona lies the dramatic Canyon de Chelly (the Tsaile campus Navajo Community College is in neighbouring Chinle), while the spectacular landscape of Monument Valley is in the north. Immediately to the southwest of this, outside Kayenta, is the Navajo National Monument, which comprises three preserved Anasazi cliff dwellings (Betatakin, Keet Seal, and Inscription House).