The Navajo Nation extends into the states of Utah , Arizona and New Mexico, covering over 27,000 square miles of unparalleled beauty. Diné Bikéyah, or Navajoland, is larger than 10 of the 50 states in America.
Visitors from around the world are intrigued and mystified when they hear the Navajo language - so, too, were the enemy during World War II. Unknown to many, the Navajo language was used to create a secret code to battle the Japanese. Navajo men were selected to create codes and serve on the front line to overcome and deceive those on the other side of the battlefield. Today, these men are recognized as the famous Navajo Code Talkers, who exemplify the unequaled bravery and patriotism of the Navajo people.
Today, the Navajo Nation is striving to sustain a viable economy
for an ever increasing population that now surpasses 250,000. In years
past, Navajoland often appeared to be little more than a desolate
section of the Southwest, but it was only a matter of time before
the Navajo Nation became known as a wealthy nation in a world of its
own. The discovery of oil on Navajoland in the early 1920's promoted
the need for a more systematic form of government.
In 1923, a tribal government was established to help meet the increasing
desires of American oil companies to lease Navajoland for exploration.
Navajo government has evolved into the largest and most sophisticated
form of American Indian government. The Navajo Nation Council Chambers
hosts 88 council delegates representing 110 Navajo Nation chapters.
Navajo Code Talkers At Iwo Jima, Major Howard Connor, 5th Marine
Division signal officer, declared, "Were it not for the Navajos,
the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima." Connor had six
Navajo code talkers working around the clock during the first two
days of the battle. Those six sent and received over 800 messages,
all without error.
Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Peleliu, Iwo Jima : the Navajo code talkers
took part in every assault the U.S. Marines conducted in the Pacific
from 1942 to 1945. They served in all six Marine divisions, Marine
Raider battalions and Marine parachute units, transmitting messages
by telephone and radio in their native language -- a code that the
Japanese never broke. Long unrecognized because of the continued value
of their language as a security classified code, the Navajo code talkers
of World War II were honored for their contributions to defense on
Sept. 17, 1992, at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Excerpts taken from
a Fact Sheet prepared by the Navy & Marine Corps WWII Commemorative
The Navajo Nation Flag, designed by Jay R. Degroat, a Navajo from Mariano Lake, New Mexico, was selected from 140 entries, and was officially adopted by the Navajo Nation Council on May 21, 1968 by Resolution CMY-55-68.
On a tan background, the outline of the present Nation is shown in
copper color with the original 1868 Treaty Reservation in Dark Brown.
At the cardinal points in the tan field are the four sacred mountains.
A rainbow symbolizing Navajo sovereignty arches over the Nation and
the sacred mountains. In the center of the Nation, a circular symbol
depicts the sun above two green stalks of corn, which surrounds three
animals representing the Navajo livestock economy, and a traditional
hogan and modern home. Between the hogan and the house is an oil derrick
symbolizing the resource potential of the Tribe, and above this are
representations of the wild fauna of the Nation. At the top near the
sun, the modern sawmill symbolizes the progress and industry characteristic
of the Navajo Nation's economic development.
More recently, the Navajos have built a Veteran's Memorial at the base of Window Rock to honor the many Navajos who served in the U.S. military. Many Navajo soldiers are recognized in the annals of history for their role as Code Talkers, whereby they used the native language to create a code that was never broken by the enemy. Historians credit the Navajo Code Talkers for helping to win World War II. The park has many symbolic structures: a circular path outlining the four cardinal directions, 16 angled steel pillars with the names of war veterans, and a healing sanctuary that is used for reflection and solitude that features a fountain made of sandstone. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more info call 928-871-6647 or write to Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation Dept., P.O. Box 9000 , Window Rock, AZ 86515
The modern Navajo Museum is dedicated to
preserving and interpreting the rich and unique culture of the Navajo
Nation. Native displays, a book and gift shop, snack bar, auditorium,
outdoor amphitheater, information kiosk, library and on-site authentic
Navajo hogan complete the center. The Museum is open from 8am to 8pm
Tuesday through Friday, and 8am to 5pm on Monday and Saturday. For
more info call 928-871-7941, or write the museum at: P.O. Box 1840
, Window Rock, AZ 86515
Fishing in Navajo Land