Engaging with Navajos

By Bill Donovan and George Joe

If you visit the reservation in the spring, summer or early fall and want to meet Navajos, go to a rodeo. There are usually two or three rodeos each weekend somewhere on the reservation, and most have vendors that serve Navajo food like mutton stew, fry bread, or Navajo tacos, which is not traditionally Navajo, but a modern food creation.

You could also attend a chapter meeting or a session of the Navajo Nation Council.

The Navajo Nation Fair is in early September each year and is the biggest tribal fair in the country, with a rodeo, arts and crafts exhibitions, Indian dances, and a Miss Navajo competition. There are also carnival rides and Navajo vendors.  There are also several other fairs and you can find more about them at our events page.

Gallup has its Inter-tribal Ceremonial in early August, and it also has a rodeo, arts and crafts exhibitions and Indian dances. Beginning in late August and continuing to early October, major communities on the reservation also have fairs.

You could also if there are any events at a school near your location. Just ask where the nearest school is located and call them up. A lot of schools on the reservation usually have some kind of public activity for students, such as, a Navajo play, traditional performances, dances, traditional Navajo storytelling, or an athletic event such as basketball. Schools usually charge a small fee.