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Shonto, sunshine springs

shahh toh hih

Shonto is a Chapter of the Navajo Nation located towards the Utah border in Arizona. It’s Navajo name is shą́ą́’tóhí (sháá’tóhí, sháátóhí).

The first part of the word, shą́ą́-, is similar to the particles found in the words shádí’ááh (south, in the sun’s direction, on the side of the sun – at it’s highest point) and sháńdíín (shandiin – sunlight, sunshine).

The next part, -tóhí, is a word derived from (water).

Together, they are translated as “sunshine springs.”

The terrain supported a steady spring that sustained early sheep and livestock camps and farming. It would later be a crucial location for Navajo people pursued by the U.S. Federal Government for relocation to Fort Sumner (Hwééldi). Today, Shonto and the surrounding Chapters see an average 3 million tourists annually. As with nearly all Navajo Chapters, economic development while maintaining the cultural heritage of the people is a major community focus.

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