Navajo National Monument preserves three large pueblos dating to the 13th century C.E., as well as the archaeological evidence that documents human use in the region over the past several thousand years.
Betatakin, Keet Seel, and Inscription House were all built in large, natural alcoves formed in the towering Navajo Sandstone Formation, offering villagers shelter from the elements as well as natural spring water. The Ancestral Puebloan people hunted wild game and farmed corn, beans, and squash in the canyon’s steambeds, enabling them to flourish in this high desert environment. Descendants of the Hopi people who built these places are called Hisatsinom. Zuni, also pueblo builders, know that several of their clans began in this area. Later, San Juan Southern Paiute, famous for their baskets, moved into this area and lived near the cliff dwellings. Today, the park is surrounded by the Navajo Nation, as it has been for hundreds of years.