Native Americans, Grand Canyon National Park
Many visitors to the Grand Canyon NP do not know about a special oasis at the bottom of the Grand Canyon west of the Grand Canyon Village.
Here, there is a small tribe of Havasupai Indians who live year round near some beautiful waterfalls fed by a turquoise coloured creek. The village of Supai is only accessible by foot, mule or helicopter and you will need reservations well ahead of time to stay overnight at the campground or lodge there. See my Supai pages for more photos and info.
A visit to Tusayan Museum will provide a glimpse of Pueblo Indian life at Grand Canyon some 800 years ago, admission is free. A self-guiding trail leads through the adjacent 800-year-old ruin. Ranger-led ruin tours are offered daily. Educational materials about the park and region are sold in the non-profit bookstore.
Located 3 miles west of Desert View and 22 miles east of Grand Canyon Village on Desert View Drive. Open daily year-round (but may be closed due to inclement weather), 9am to 5pm; free admission
Grand Canyon West (located on the south side of the Colorado River) is managed by the Hualapai Tribe. The Hualapai Indian Reservation is located on the south side of the Colorado River. This land lies outside the boundary and jurisdiction of the National Park Service and is administered by the Hualapai Indian Tribe. Inquiries should be directed to Hualapai Tribe, P.O. Box 538, Peach Springs, Arizona, 86434, (928) 769-2216. They can provide you with driving directions, as well as a rate structure for access to their lands along the rim.
The Havasupai Indian Reservation is in a large tributary canyon on the south side of the Colorado River. This land lies outside the boundary and jurisdiction of the National Park Service and is administered by the Havasupai Indian Tribe. The village of Supai is accessible only by foot (an 8-mile hike) or horseback. Hiking is by tribal permit only. Inquiries should be directed to Havasupai Tourist Enterprises, P.O. Box 160, Supai, AZ 86435. (928) 448-2121 or (928) 448-2141 for the tourist office, (928) 448-2111 for lodging.
The old bright angel trail is no longer maintained and requires a bit of route finding. But it is a shortcut to Indian Gardens which will cut about a mile out of your hike. Plus the views are great and you can see some Indian ruins in the caves along the way.
At 157 miles, Havasu Creek enters from the south with its turquoise waters quickly being defiled by the muddy Colorado. The creek comes down from an area under the South Rim that is farmed by the Havasupai Indians living around Supai. These people are one of the Pai tribes who had moved into the canyon following the departure of the Anasazi.
Going up the creek you can come to several glorious waterfalls - Mooney, Havasu, Supai, Navajo - but the closest, Mooney, is 5.5 miles away. Closer at hand are some nice pools a short ways up the creek. Bathing in the warm turquoise waters is a real pleasure after days of the cold Colorado. The Colorado waters used to get to 86F in the summer, but that was before Glen Canyon was built. Now, the water of Lake Powell is released from the lake's bottom and a more or less constant 50 F temperature is maintained - which has also caused the near extinction of most of the native fish population within the Canyon.
People have been living in and around the Grand Canyon for thousands of years. After the development of fast-growing corn and agricultural innovations, these peoples, the Anasazi, developed small pueblos from which they lived and went out to farm from. Evidence of their presence is found throughout the canyon in dwellings, pottery and petroglyphs. Climatic changes are thought to be the main reason the Anasazi abandoned the Canyon. Dry and hotter conditions sent them south and east where with descendants of the Sinagua peoples who were living to thesouth (Wupatiki, Tuzigoot, Montezuma Castle, Walnut Creek were settled by the Sinagua), came up onto the mesas southeast of the Park and became the Hopi of today. In the western end of the canyon, different tribes of the Pai Indians moved up from the lower areas of the Colorado - the Hualapai and the Havasupai - after the Anasazi left. Paiutes and Navajo came into the region still later.