Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

Indian People

The American Indian communities surrounding Grand Canyon actively maintain their ancient cultures and traditions. They have long been associated with exquisite but functional crafts which reflect their close ties with nature. Fine collectibles created by native artisans began to be marketed to outsiders in the 1880s through places such as Hubbell Trading Post on the Navajo Reservation (still an active trading post that is famous for its Ganado red chief blankets). 

The American Indian communities surrounding Grand Canyon actively maintain their ancient cultures and traditions. They have long been associated with exquisite but functional crafts which reflect their close ties with nature. Fine collectibles created by native artisans began to be marketed to outsiders in the 1880s through places such as Hubbell Trading Post on the Navajo Reservation (still an active trading post that is famous for its Ganado red chief blankets). 

Any of the five reservations close to Grand Canyon make a fascinating day trip for adventurous travelers. Most reservations welcome visitors who are interested in learning about their culture and who show respect for privacy and property. 

HAVASUPAI

The "People of the Blue-Green Waters" live in Havasu Canyon in the middle of Grand Canyon. They continue to farm as they have for centuries, but also work in the cattle, forestry and tourist industries. They are well-known for their basketry and beadwork, the waterfalls on their reservation and their annual Peach Festival in August. Contact Havasupai Tourist Enterprise, Supai, AZ 86435; please call (928) 448-2141 (tourist office/campground) or (928) 448-2111 (lodge) for more information. Supai is accessible on foot, on horseback, or via helicopter.

HOPI

The Hopi are peaceful farmers directly descended from the ancestral Puebloans (Anasazi). Their lifestyle on the mesas is typical of Pueblos. Considered the most adept dryland-farmers in the world, they grow corn in mostly non-irrigated plots (depending on the summer rains) at the base of the mesas. The small Hopi Reservation is concentrated in Pueblos on three mesas in northeastern Arizona and is completely surrounded by the Navajo Reservation. 

Old Oraibi has been occupied since A.D. 1150, making it one of America's oldest continuously inhabited villages. The Hopi are renowned for their silverwork, elaborately designed pottery and kachinas, which are wooden ceremonial spirit dolls. Note: Photography is not allowed on the reservation. Contact the Hopi Tribal Council, P.O. Box 123, Kykotsmovi, AZ 86039; (928) 734-2441 for more information.

HUALAPAI

The Hualapai live just south of the western portion of the national park. Farming, cattle-raising, forestry and tourism are their primary occupations. Their celebrated basketry has evolved from their hunter-gatherer tradition. They are also known for their exquisite dolls. Contact Hualapai Tribal Council, P.O. Box 179, Peach Springs, AZ 86434 or call (928) 769-2216 for more information. 

KAIBAB-PAIUTE 

The Kaibab-Paiutes live north of Grand Canyon on the Arizona Strip. Their reservation lies adjacent to Pipe Spring National Monument, a historic western ranching operation built up around an 1870 fortified dwelling. The hunter-gatherer origins of the Paiutes are most evident in their prized "wedding baskets" and other basketry. Contact the Kaibab-Paiute Tribal Council, Tribal Affairs Building, HC 65 Box 2, Fredonia, AZ 86022, or call (928) 643-7245 for more information. 

NAVAJO 

Some Navajo continue to live in traditional six- or eight-sided houses, known as hogans, and raise sheep, goats and corn. The 16-million-acre Navajo Reservation, located near the East Entrance of the park, is the largest of any southwestern tribe. Some of the numerous scenic and historic attractions are Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, Little Colorado River Gorge, Rainbow Bridge in Glen Canyon, dinosaur tracks near Moenave, Grand Falls and Window Rock (Navajo Tribal Headquarters). The Navajo are famous for their finely woven rugs, silver and turquoise jewelry, and sand paintings. Contact Navajo Nation Historic Preservation Department, P.O. Box 4950, Window Rock, AZ 86515; (928) 871-7145 for more information.