Stories From the Navajo Nation: Tuba City
About Tuba City, Arizona
The Navajo who’ve lived in the area since around 1892, refer to it as To’Nanees Dizi, which means “tangled, scattered or braided water” – a reference to the many springs below the surface. Tuba City is the most populous community within the Navajo Nation, just slightly larger than Shiprock, New Mexico, and happens to be the headquarters of the Western Navajo Agency.
The historic Tuba City Trading Post, which dates to 1905, sells authentic American Indian sandpaintings, rugs, jewelry, and pottery for the serious collector and the souvenir shopper. The Navajo Interactive Museum is an excellent introduction to the land, language, history, cultural, and ceremonial life of the Navajo people, as well as the patriotism of the tribe’s World War II Code Talkers. And while in town, don’t pass up the chance to try traditional dishes like mutton stew and fry bread.
Tuba City is in the Navajo Nation, the largest Sovereign Nation in the United States. To learn more about this community, we interviewed Otto Tso, a Council Delegate from the Western Agency. In fact, we were lucky enough to catch up with him to ask a few questions about his work as a legislator for the Navajo people.
Interview with Otto Tso
CLN: Where do you reside?
Otto: I live in Tuba City, Arizona.
CLN: What do you like to do in your free time?
Otto: I like to spend time with family and I love to Ranch.
CLN: What are causes do you support? What are you passionate about?
Otto: I am passionate about advocating for the housing and infrastructure needs of my Navajo People.
CLN: What are the major issues in the community(s) you represent?
Otto: The major issues that I represent in my community are housing, infrastructure, community development, education, and health needs.
CLN: What would you like to accomplish before the end of your term?
Otto: I would like to try to get as much of the community needs legislated to improve the livelihood of my community.
CLN: Are there any areas in your region that you want people to learn more about?
Otto: I come from the Former Bennett Freeze Area that needs much-needed attention from the Navajo Nation and our Federal Government to improve the livelihood of my people who are directly affected by the Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act.
CLN: Is the anything else you want the world to know about you?
Otto: As a Navajo Tribal member, I would like to say that the American Indian communities need much more support from our trustees and the Federal government to make sure they do fulfill their Treaty Obligation.
About the Western Navajo Agency
The Western Navajo Agency (WNA) has 18 chapter governments and a total population of 36,737 (Census 2021). With a total of 2,359,122 acres and 1,160 grazing permittees, the western region encompasses Utah and Arizona. The chapter that Otto Tso represents is To’Nanees Dizi.
To learn more about the 24thNavajo Nation Council and the work of its lawmakers, please visit NavajoNationCouncil.org.