Building Communities

Ft. Defiance, Arizona

Through the mists of our troubled and sometimes painful history there is an enduring quality that continues to permeate the community of Ft. Defiance. That quality is hope. From the alluring glimpses of partially hidden landscapes lining the Arizona Scenic Byway that leads to Tsehootsooi, through the traditional hogans nestled beside modern homes and into the hearts of the welcoming and lovable people of Ft. Defiance, the promise of the future electrifies the air- with hope.

We are the community that has been home to the Dine since their return from Ft. Sumner in the late 1860s.While our struggles and challenges have been as monumental as the landscape that surrounds us, the community of Ft. Defiance has persevered. Standing as majestically as the pillars of rock that identify us as Tsehootsooi- the green meadow coming out of  the rock- we as community leaders and advocates stand ready to work and lead our community into the realization of our tremendous potential!

Our mission statement “Tsehootsooi- walking in beauty toward a compassionate, healthy and vibrant community” expresses our desire to create anew the “green meadow” of peace and prosperity “that emerges from the rock.” To carry out this mission statement we are creating our “family plan.” A community centered economic development plan that incorporates both our Economic Development strategies and our Quality of Life initiatives. We have named our Steering Committee OUR Tse Ho Tso, which is a shortened name for Tsehootsooi.

We are concerned with the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health of our community. Central to our family plan is the restoration and renovation of the old Fort Defiance hospital campus built in the 1930s. This effort will provide space for our future endeavors. We will create a safe, secure environment for healing that encompasses our quality of life objectives of a clean, trash-free community with a park and walkable pathways and neighborhoods. We will attract compassionate and devoted healthcare professionals that understand the concept of safe healing.

We are proud of our history and the story of our people. We plan to share that history and the traditional Dine culture through a well-planned strategic effort to bring engaging cultural tourism into Ft. Defiance. Our environmental restoration strategy will create a meeting place for the community and provide us with a recognizable downtown area. The old hospital and other historical buildings will provide space to house the artifacts and history of the fort along with a celebration of our veterans. Our Education Development strategy will enhance our objectives to provide cultural experiences for our visitors and protect our unique heritage.

Our family plan will also include a Value-added Agriculture strategy, not in an attempt to produce great quantities of commodities, but in an attempt to capitalize on the existing entrepreneurial spirit that has been a long tradition in our community of supplementing our incomes with agricultural endeavors. This will also help us to learn and educate ourselves about conservation, the latest agricultural technologies, create community gardens and greenhouses and a food sovereignty plan as part of our Quality of Life initiatives.

Through these planning efforts we will literally see Tsehootsooi become the “green meadow coming out of the blue canyon” again in the heart of Ft. Defiance.

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