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Navajo Nation (Tsaile, AZ)

Update: May 6, 2024

We regret to share that due to recent information about facilities limitations in the Navajo Nation this summer, SSP has had to cancel our 2024 volunteer program at that site. SSP has a long history of partnership with the Navajo Nation, with Diné resident Silver Nez Perry (who supports this difficult decision) currently sitting on our board. We look forward to returning at some point, and will explore alternatives for housing for future summers.

Based in Tsaile, AZ, we have partnered with the Tsaile Wheatfields and Lukachukai Chapters of the Navajo Nation since 2013, and throughout the 2000s. Since 1994, SSP has partnered with various Diné (pronounced din-EH, meaning “the people”) communities.

With more than 399,494 enrolled tribal members as of 2021, the Navajo Nation is the largest federally recognized tribe in the United States; additionally, the Navajo Nation has the largest reservation in the country, 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. Explore Census data for Tsaile, AZ.

In the Navajo Nation, the majority of the work we do is high-impact home repair projects. The type of work includes roof replacements, building accessibility ramps, stairs, porches, awnings for snow protection, sheds for storing wood to heat homes, and other general home repairs.

2024 Dates

  • Canceled  

2024 Summer Participant Fees

  • $595 per person
    • Plus flat sign-up fee of $75 for 1-5 people, or $200 for 6+ people

About the Community

What are the prevailing needs in the Navajo Nation?

  • Weatherization home repairs for harsh winters
  • Accessibility repair projects for residents, including decks, stairs, and ramps
  • COVID-19 cautious visitors dedicated to safety – the Navajo Nation is one of the most medically underserved regions heavily impacted by the pandemic, and mask use is common throughout the community

What does the Navajo Nation have to offer?

  • Ample learning opportunities rooted in sacred Navajo traditions and history
  • Gorgeous natural landscapes at high elevation including Canyon de Chelly National Monument
  • Unique experience on a reservation not mixed with other communities

Who is a good fit to volunteer at this location?

  • Anyone is welcome!
  • Groups and individuals seeking hands-on construction and carpentry projects
  • Volunteers interested in Indigenous life on reservations, interaction with Navajo residents, and a strong connection between community and sacred spaces

Service Work in the Navajo Nation

In the Navajo Nation the majority of the projects SSP volunteers do are for elders in the Lukachukai and Tsaile Wheatfield Chapters. The type of work includes roof replacements, building accessibility ramps, stairs, porches, awnings for snow protection, sheds for storing wood to heat homes, and other general home repairs. Since 2019, SSP has also partnered with the Tsaile/Wheatfields Diné Water Users Association. Volunteers assist their staff throughout the community, with the goal of increasing productive farmlands and rangelands. We may also work on some small projects for our host facility, Diné College!

Most projects take longer to complete than one 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

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.

Location Details


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. See SSP’s downloads page for packing lists.

Staff Contact Info


We expect to return to the Diné College dorms, which is central to most project work sites. This school is the first tribal college, which was founded in 1968. This facility offers dorm rooms which usually house 4-6 volunteers each, some of which include beds (though most volunteers should bring air mattresses). Each room also has a single-user bathroom and shower shared with the neighboring room.


Diné College, 1 Circle Drive, Tsaile, AZ 86556

Use a navigation system to guide you to our host facility.

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 4 PM Mountain Time.