Window Rock
Census-designated city
Navajo Nation Council Chamber
Location in Apache County and the state of Arizona
Location in Apache County and the state of Arizona
Window Rock is located in Arizona
Window Rock
Window Rock
Location in the United States
Window Rock is located in the United States
Window Rock
Window Rock
Window Rock (the United States)
Coordinates: 35°40′22″N 109°3′44″W / 35.67278°N 109.06222°W / 35.67278; -109.06222Coordinates: 35°40′22″N 109°3′44″W / 35.67278°N 109.06222°W / 35.67278; -109.06222
Country United States
State Arizona
Indian ReservationNavajo Nation
Navajo NationTsʼíhootso Navajo Chapter
 • TypeSt. Michaels Chapter Government
 • Chapter PresidentCurran Hannon
 • Census-designated city5.29 sq mi (13.70 km2)
 • Land5.29 sq mi (13.69 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
6,830 ft (2,082 m)
 • Census-designated city2,500
 • Density472.86/sq mi (182.56/km2)
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC-7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code
Area code928
FIPS code04-83720
GNIS feature ID0013908

Window Rock (Navajo: Tségháhoodzání) is a census-designated place that serves as the seat of government and capital of the Navajo Nation, the largest territory in North America of a sovereign Native American nation.[2] The capital lies within the boundaries of the St. Michaels Chapter, adjacent to the Arizona and New Mexico state line. Window Rock is the site of the Navajo Nation governmental campus, which contains the Navajo Nation Council, Navajo Nation Supreme Court, the offices of the Navajo Nation President and Vice President, and many Navajo government buildings.

Window Rock's population was 2,712 at the 2010 census.[3] It is estimated to reach around 20,000 during weekdays when tribal offices are open.[citation needed]

Window Rock's main natural attraction is the window formation of sandstone which the community is named after. The Navajo Nation Museum, the Navajo Nation Zoological and Botanical Park, and the Navajo Nation Code Talkers World War II memorial are tribal attractions located in Window Rock.

Origin of name

Tségháhoodzání, the "Window Rock"
Tségháhoodzání, the "Window Rock"

Until 1936, the area was sparsely populated and known by the Navajo only by its ceremonial name Niʼ Ałníiʼgi ("Center of the World"). John Collier, a reforming Commissioner of Indian Affairs, chose this site to establish the seat of the Navajo Central Agency, the Bureau of Indian Affairs official connection to the nation. His proposal to make the ceremonial name the official name met with resistance, and Navajos soon ridiculed it as "ni ałnííʼgóó" (~ "into your middle (parts)").

Due to this, the BIA chose the name of the major local landmark, the rock-with-hole-through-it (Navajo: tségháhoodzání) for this Indian agency site. It was rendered in English as "Window Rock".[4]

Tségháhoodzání, as the Navajo call it (meaning the Perforated Rock), is north of the Navajo governmental administration buildings. It is important in the traditional Navajo Water Way Ceremony (Tóee). It was one of the four places where Navajo medicine men go with their traditional woven water jugs to get water for the ceremony that is held to pray for an abundance of rainfall.[5]


Great Seal of The Navajo Nation
Great Seal of The Navajo Nation

Window Rock is the capital of the Navajo Nation government. Its complex houses the Navajo Nation President and Vice President, Navajo Nation Supreme Court, the 24-member Navajo Nation Council, and Navajo government administration buildings. As a district within the St. Michaels Chapter, Window Rock is served by a Navajo Council Delegate and Chapter President and Vice President.


Window Rock is located at 35°40′22″N 109°3′44″W / 35.67278°N 109.06222°W / 35.67278; -109.06222. The Arizona/New Mexico state line marks the town's eastern edge, and some of the town's buildings are located a few feet (meters) from the state line.[6] Immediately across the state line from Window Rock is the village of Tse Bonito, New Mexico.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Window Rock CDP (census designated place) has a total area of 5.3 square miles (13.7 km2), all land.[3] The area is atop and encompassed within the Defiance Plateau.


Window Rock is categorized as being within the 6a USDA hardiness zone, meaning the average annual extreme minimum temperature is between −10 and −5 °F (−23 and −21 °C).[7] The city is cooler than most of Arizona due to its high elevation.

Climate data for Window Rock (6,830 feet above sea level)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 66.0
Average high °F (°C) 43.0
Daily mean °F (°C) 28.5
Average low °F (°C) 14.0
Record low °F (°C) −29.0
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.74
Source: Weather Channel[8]


The greater Window Rock area comprises the Fort Defiance and St. Michaels chapters, and the hamlets of Hunter's Point and the Summit in Arizona, and Tse Bonito on the New Mexico side of the border.


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
Languages (2000)[10] Percent
Spoke Navajo at home 57%
Spoke English at home 43%
Navajo Nation World War II Memorial located next to the Window Rock
Navajo Nation World War II Memorial located next to the Window Rock

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 3,059 people, 876 households, and 713 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 589.3 people per square mile (227.6/km2). There were 998 housing units at an average density of 192.3/sq mi (74.2/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 95.5% Native American, 3.2% White, 0.4% Asian, 0.2% African American, <0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.1% from other races, and 0.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population.

There were 876 households, out of which 51.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.7% were married couples living together, 29.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.6% were non-families. 15.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 2.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.42 and the average family size was 3.81.

In the CDP, the age distribution of the population shows 36.3% under the age of 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 4.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.4 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $36,885, and the median income for a family was $36,500. Males had a median income of $27,266 versus $26,902 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $11,122. About 24.6% of families and 24.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.6% of those under age 18 and 6.8% of those age 65 or over.


Window Rock is a part of the Window Rock Unified School District,[12] which serves the greater Fort Defiance and St. Michaels chapters population center.

Window Rock is served by:

The community is also served by the private Saint Michael Indian School, a K-12 private, Catholic school established by Katharine Drexel in 1902. Saint Michael Indian School is a member of the National Catholic Education Association and the Diocese of Gallup Catholic School System.

The surrounding community is also served by Hilltop Christian School, operated by Across Nations offering pre-K through 6th grade learning curriculum.

In addition, the Saint Michaels Association for Special Education, Inc. (SMASE) school serves the greater Navajo Nation in Arizona and New Mexico. A non-profit school, founded by Sister Marijane Ryan in 1970 serves as an educational and residential center for individuals with disabilities of all ages.

Travel and tourism

Tourism is an integral part of the local economy. Window Rock attracts a large number of tourists and visitors due to its close proximity to many national parks and sites and Navajo government. The area is a popular base of commerce for the regional people as well.

Window Rock is near to:

Navajo Nation Museum

In the year of 1961 the Navajo Tribe established the first Navajo Tribal Museum in a small building on the Window Rock Tribal Fairgrounds. It was moved in 1982 to the back room of the Navajo Arts and Crafts Store. In 1997, a $7 million permanent home was built to store the Navajo artifacts in a museum specially built in a modern Navajo hogan style near the Navajo Nation Zoo.[13] The Navajo Nation Museum and its colocated Library offer many relics and artifacts of the Navajo people and Navajo Nation, many resources on the Navajo people, language and ceremonies are also offered in the Navajo Nation Library which is adjacent to the museum. The museum is open Monday through Friday and is free to the public. [14]

Navajo Nation Zoological and Botanical Park

The Navajo Tribal Zoo opened in Window Rock in 1963 featuring reservation animals such as bear, coyotes, snake, elk, and the golden eagle. The Navajo Nation Zoological and Botanical Park offers a wide variety of plants, animals, fishes, birds and insects native to the Four Corners area of the Navajo Nation such as elk, mule deer, Mexican gray wolf, black bear, cougar, golden eagle, bighorn sheep, lynx, Rio Grande wild turkey, raccoon, Canada goose, and fox. The Navajo Nation Zoo is open Monday through Saturday and is free to the public.[15]

Ch'ihootso Indian Market Place

The Ch'ihootso Market Place offers many vendors with Navajo arts and crafts along with Hopi, Zuni and local artists. The market place is open from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Sunday.



Window Rock is served by Arizona State Route 264, and Indian Route 12 .

Window Rock is served by a local regional airport : Window Rock Airport. Window Rock Airport is a public use airport located one nautical mile south of the central business district of Window Rock, in Apache County. It is owned by the Navajo Nation.

Local transportation is provided by the Navajo Transit System which operates from Window Rock. It provides several routes that serve the community, the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Nation, and San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe.


Window Rock is served by two regional shopping centers: Diné Bashas' and Lowe's Market. The Navajo Nation Shopping Center Enterprise also serves the area.


Numerous events are hosted throughout the year in the greater Window Rock area, which includes Fort Defiance and St. Michaels, such as:

Health care

Window Rock is served by the Tséhootsooí Medical Center.[16] Located in Fort Defiance, Arizona it also serves the Window Rock and the surrounding area.

See also


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  2. ^ "History". Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  3. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Window Rock CDP, Arizona". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
  4. ^ Linford, Laurent. Navajo Places. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 2000.
  5. ^ Archived 2021-04-25 at the Wayback Machine window_rock_capitol.cfm
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  7. ^ "USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map". United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Window Rock, AZ Monthly Weather Forecast". Weather Channel. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  10. ^ "Data Center Results".
  11. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  12. ^ "School District Reference (2010 Census): Apache County, AZ" (PDF). 2010 U.S. Census. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2020-04-08. – WRUSD is depicted on pages 1 and 2.
  13. ^ "Window Rock, Arizona – Navajo Nation".
  14. ^ "Navajo Nation Library Home".
  15. ^ "Navajo Zoo Home Page".
  16. ^ "Residency Program – Pharmacists".

Further reading