Navajo Gaming to open Navajo Blue Travel Plaza, promoted as new Gateway to Navajo Nation
Travel Plaza creates jobs, celebrates Navajo culture, cuisine and architecture
TWIN ARROWS, Ariz. — Individuals driving through the Navajo Nation on Interstate 40 will soon see billboards advertising Navajo Blue. But what is Navajo Blue?
The Navajo Blue Travel Plaza, located adjacent to the award-winning Four-Diamond Twin Arrows Casino Resort, is the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise’s (Navajo Gaming) latest business venture. Set to open late fall 2019, the Navajo Blue Travel Plaza is much more than the Southwest gateway to the Navajo Nation.
Navajo Blue creates new opportunities to showcase Navajo architecture, cuisine, popular monuments and culture from within the Navajo Nation to regional, national and international guest eager to learn more about the world’s largest Native American tribe. Most importantly for Navajo Gaming, Navajo Blue creates jobs, employing nearly 200 people during construction and an anticipated 43 full-time employees.
“We’re eager to unveil this premier travel plaza for travelers along I-40 as an introduction to all the Navajo Nation has to offer,” said Navajo Gaming interim CEO Brian Parrish. “In addition to creating valuable jobs, Navajo Blue will allow guests of the Nation to experience certified Navajo arts and crafts as well as authentic Navajo food and beverage items.”
The design and architecture of Navajo Blue creates another outstanding tribute from the Navajo Gaming team as it embraces and maintains Navajo culture while showcasing local Navajo Artisans ‘talents. The travel plaza will also carry exclusive lines of Navajo products including Navajo Beef JerkyÔ, Navajo FizzÔ (soda), Navajo Blue Corn tamales, Navajo Coffee and more.
Navajo Blue is slated for completion in late fall of 2019. It will serve all vehicles including semi tractor-trailer trucks. The travel plaza will be open 24/7 featuring premium restrooms, showers and laundry services for the traveling public, a wide variety of food and beverage selections and healthy food options, fresh bean-to-cup ground coffee and specialty desserts.
Navajo Blue incorporates a fire pit to slow-roast premium-grade Navajo beef for a variety of fresh-cooked meals, fresh jerky and brisket for guest. The plaza will showcase a wide variety of certified Navajo arts and crafts providing economic opportunities for Navajo tribal members. Navajo Blue is part of the larger Twin Arrows master plan.
An additional space within the plaza will be dedicated to highlight tourist attractions within the Navajo Nation – sights like Window Rock, capital of the Navajo Nation, Veterans Memorial park with special Navajo Nation Code Talker’s monument, Canyon De Chelly, Monument Valley, Ship Rock and many more beautiful scenic sights of the Navajo Nation.
“Let’s Build a Business” Navajo job training program
In conjunction with the grand opening, Navajo Gaming will celebrate the successful completion of its first large-scale training project under the “Let’s Build a Business” program. Through this innovative program 20 Navajo students are learning what it takes to build a successful business from the ground up on the Navajo Nation.
“The ‘Let’s Build a Business’ project allows graduating students from educational institutions in the Four Corners region to learn business theory, with practical application, while contributing to the design, construction and startup operations of the travel plaza — depending on their areas of study,” Parrish said. “They gain invaluable hands-on experience through both individual and team assignments. This program is ultimately structured to augment the professional development of the interns and position them for success early in their careers. Hopefully, many of the program graduates choose to return to Navajo and put their educations and experiences to work at home.”
Managed by Navajo Gaming and approved by Navajo Nation leadership, the pioneering internship program provides Navajo students from Diné College, Navajo Technical University, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, University of Arizona and other nearby colleges an unparalleled opportunity.
“We’re grateful to the Navajo Nation Council, the Office of the Navajo President and Vice President and to the Leupp Chapter for moving this economic development project forward as together we create more opportunities for Navajo people,” added Quincy Natay, chairman of the Board of Directors for Navajo Gaming.
Information provided by the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise