marshall trimble navajos arizona true west magazine

When did Navajos arrive in Arizona?

Dr. James Collins
Portland, Oregon

In July 1960, scientists tested tree rings on a Navajo three-fork dwelling and found it dated to 1389 C.E. That’s the earliest confirmed arrival in Arizona, in the Four Corners area, to date.

Navajos and Apaches are the only Arizona Indians to be classified in the Athabaskan linguistic group. Archaeologists and anthropologists theorize this group began migrating south from Canada and Alaska around 1100 C.E.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen; The History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or email him at

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