Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Thu, Oct. 28

Indian Garden in Grand Canyon to be renamed Havasupai Garden

Indian Garden Campground on the Bright Angel Trail. Grand Canyon National Park is working to change the name from Indian Garden to Havasupai Garden. The area is considered sacred to the Havasupai people, who were forcibly relocated from the area. (Photo/NPS, Mike Quinn)

Indian Garden Campground on the Bright Angel Trail. Grand Canyon National Park is working to change the name from Indian Garden to Havasupai Garden. The area is considered sacred to the Havasupai people, who were forcibly relocated from the area. (Photo/NPS, Mike Quinn)

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — At a Sept. 15 stakeholder meeting, National Park Service (NPS) Deputy Superintendent Brian Drapeaux announced that Grand Canyon National Park is in the process of pursuing changing the name of Indian Garden to Havasupai Garden.

The Havasupai (People of the Blue Green Waters) have lived in the Grand Canyon for more than 1,000 years, and are currently considered the most remote tribe in Arizona, living eight miles below Grand Canyon's south rim in an area called Supai. The reservation is only accessible by foot, mule or ....

When Grand Canyon National Park was established in 1919, the Havasupai were forcibly evicted from their homes, which included the area referred to as Indian Garden, and were restricted to an area called Supai Camp.

The soon-to-be Havasupai Garden, which is accessible from Bright Angel Trail on the South Rim, was, and still is, considered sacred to the Havasupai, and was traditionally used as farmland before the tribe’s forced relocation.

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Supai Village is located in Grand Canyon, west of Grand Canyon National Park. (Loretta McKenney/NHO)

During a discussion in 2019 between NPS and local Indigenous tribes known as the Intertribal Grand Canyon Centennial Conversations, it was suggested that changing the name would prove the park is an ethical partner to the surrounding tribes and acknowledge their history and presence, according to an article written in 2019 by Havasupai Tribal Member and Museum Educator Ophelia Watahomigie-Corliss.

Two years later, the results of that discussion are beginning to take root.

"The park has initiated a process to work collaboratively with the Havasupai on renaming the site to Havasupai Garden, and to develop new interpretive information focused on the tribe's unique and important connection to that place," Drapeaux said.

Additionally, Drapeaux said the name change and new interpretation are a step toward repairing (NPS's) relationship with the Havasupai community, who, according to NPS, are still impacted by past park service policies and actions.

Grand Canyon National Park will be working through the Board of Geographic Names on an official name change, and Drapeaux said other federally-recognized tribes have expressed their support and appreciation.

Havasupai Tribe today

Known for their blue/green waterfalls, the Havasuapi Tribe relies heavily on tourism to stimulate its economy.

During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the tribe decided to suspend tourism to its remote reservation. The decision was extend several times and now goes through February 2022.

Currently, the Havasupai Reservation and Supai Village remain on lockdown and are closed to all tourists. The tribe has advised visitors not to travel to the reservation or village, as all tourists are prohibited from entering.

Additionally, no new reservations are available for purchase while tourism is suspended.

More information is available at www.havasupaireservations.com or by emailing info@havasupaireservations.com.

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