The Navajo Nation is located on the Colorado Plateau and covers over 25,000 square miles in northeast Arizona, northwest New Mexico, and southeast Utah. This represents approximately 1/3 of the entire Colorado Plateau. Historically, plants of the Navajo Nation have been largely underrepresented in national as well as regional herbaria, creating a large data gap in our knowledge of the unique Colorado Plateau flora. However, over the past 20 years botanists of the Navajo Natural Heritage Program have been building a regional herbarium for the Navajo Nation by collecting specimens from throughout the reservation and by encouraging other collectors to deposit duplicate specimens of their collections with the Navajo Nation Herbarium.

The Navajo Nation Herbarium has been listed with the Index Herbariorum since 2003 and is the first and only tribal herbarium listed with this internationally recognized Index. It contains over 10,000 accessioned specimens, mostly specimens from Navajo Nation lands, with special emphasis on rare and endemic plants. The herbarium collection is used by staff and visiting scientists as an aid in floristic and taxonomic work. In addition, specimens are loaned to researchers at botanical gardens and universities throughout the United States.

NAVA began to catalog its specimens in a collections database in 1997. This database now contains over 10,000 entries, with additions made daily. Data basing our herbarium has brought our collections and knowledge of the regional flora out of obscurity. We can now easily access all the label information from our collections. This is especially useful for status and distribution reports on rare plant occurrences on Navajo, data requests for species lists for specific geographic locations, as well as occurrence oversight.

The herbarium is currently located at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff , AZ , where it is open to visitation by appointment only.