SSP has a long history of working with partners in the Navajo Nation. Since 1994, SSP has partnered with various Diné (pronounced din-EH, meaning “the people”) communities. Since 2013 SSP has partnered with the Tsaile Wheatfields and Lukachukai Chapters.
The Navajo Nation today is the largest Indian Tribe in the US with 17.5 million acres of reservation land across portions of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Within the reservation, there are 110 chapters which are the local form of government. Based on the 2010 census, 1205 people live in Tsaile. Over 63% of the population lives below the poverty line.
Our partners from the Lukachukai Chapter of the Navajo Nation invite you to support 300 students who are going to school remotely with limited access to supplies during distance learning. Contribute to the effort throughout March by purchasing from the list of requested items or by simply making a donation to the Lukachukai School Supplies Fund.
At the SSP office we’ll assemble requested items into backpacks, and deliver to our partners. SSP has partnered since 2005 with the Lukachukai community, just north of Tsaile, AZ where our site and volunteers have been hosted. We encourage you to share this list with others who are looking for opportunities to serve remotely.
If you would like to financially support ongoing local efforts to fight the spread of the virus, donate directly to the Navajo Nation Department of Health’s Official COVID-19 Relief Fund.
Online Summer 2020 & 2021
In order to protect the safety of our partner communities, staff, and volunteers, we have paused in-person volunteer programs. Registration for our 4 week online program is open. We will virtually connect with our community partners in Tsaile Wheatfields and Lukachukai again this summer.
2021 Online Summer Dates
- Week 1: Jue 28 – July 2
- Week 2: July 5 – July 9
- Week 3: June 12 – July 16
- Week 4: July 19 – July 23
Learn About the Navajo Nation
Download the detailed SSP Navajo Nation Study Guide and Understanding Reservations Guide to learn about the community and get more out of your SSP experience. We suggest that you download the study guide, share with your group and discuss the materials during a planning meeting.
Service Work in the Navajo Nation
In the Navajo Nation the majority of the work we do is for elders in the Lukachukai and Tsaile Wheatfield Chapters. The type of work includes roofing, building wheelchair ramps, stairs, awnings, porches, wood sheds, and other general home repairs. We will also be working on some small projects for our host facility, Diné College, which is providing our housing free of charge! Most projects take longer to complete than your week at SSP so you may see the beginning, middle, or end of a project.
In 2019, volunteers completed 11 projects:
- 1 awning
- 1 deck
- 2 sets of stairs
- 6 wood sheds
- 1 painting project at Diné College
Diné College Host Facility
We stay at the Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona who is generously donating the facilities to SSP in exchange for some service work done around the campus. This school is the first tribal college, which was founded in 1968. This is our least rustic site in the Navajo Nation.
Sleeping rooms (5 to 7 people in each) open up to a common space where we eat and hang out. Bathrooms with showers are attached, as well as kitchens where we prepare meals. There is a basketball court where we hold program time in the evening (weather permitting).
Work sites range from 10 minutes to 45 minutes away from Diné College, some with access only by dirt or gravel roads.
Directions to Diné College
To get to the Navajo Nation, consult Google maps or a similar mapping service to find the best route for your group.
Please remember that most groups have a long way to travel to get to this site; allow for plenty of time to reach the site no later than 4PM Mountain Time.
1 Circle Drive
Tsaile, AZ 86556
Navajo Nation Climate
The average high during the summer is 87°F and low is 57°F with possible afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Monsoon season is from July through September, so work days can be interrupted or delayed due to rain, muddy roads, and lightning. This is the reality of living in the high desert with unpaved roads during the summer. Our staff plans for these delays with extra activities in the case of down time. The elevation of the area is over 7,000 feet.