The Tribal Park was a milestone in Indigenous history. Monument Valley was the first of its kind thanks to the forward thinking of the Navajo Nation tribal Council. Monument Valley was established in 1958. It was the first Tribal park of its kind and has since paved the way for other tribes to create protected zones.

The Monument Valley region, where Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico meet, is one of the driest and most sparsely populated corners of the Southwest. The first non-Indians to stumble upon the valley were probably Mexican soldiers under Col. José Antonio Vizcarra. In 1863, after U.S. troops and Anglo settlers had skirmished with the Navajo, many fled the valley to hide out near Navajo Mountain in southern Utah. The Navajo returned in 1868 when the federal government reversed it's relocation policy of moving every Navajo man, woman and child to a reservation.

Early visitors to Monument Valley:

Author Zane Grey visited Monument Valley in 1913 and described it as a "strange world of colossal shafts and buttes of rock" President Theodore Roosevelt visited the valley en route to nearby Rainbow Bridge in Utah in 1916. The second director of the National Park Service, Horace Albright, thought the area was a possible candidate for federal protection.