Popular Grand Canyon Stop Renamed to Reflect Indigenous Heritage

The National Park Service made the change after the Havasupai Tribe submitted a formal request earlier this year

Blue skies over Grand Canyon national park
"The renaming of this sacred place to Havasupai Gardens will finally right that wrong."
Getty Images/iStockphoto

In a positive advancement for Indigenous representation and a push to educate visitors on Native history, Grand Canyon National Park has officially renamed a popular hiking stop along its Bright Angel Trail. What was once called “Indian Garden” has been officially renamed “Havasupai Gardens” after the people who farmed the land long before it was a national park.

“The eviction of Havasupai residents from Ha’a Gyoh coupled with the offensive name, Indian Garden, has had detrimental and lasting impacts on the Havasupai families that lived there and their descendants,” Thomas Siyuja, Sr., chairman of the Havasupai Tribe, said in a statement. “The renaming of this sacred place to Havasupai Gardens will finally right that wrong.” 

Similar to far too many stories of Inidgenous Americans, the Havasupai people were kicked out of their home, located 3,000 feet below the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. The last resident, Captain Billy Burro, was forcibly removed by the Park Service in 1928. For almost 100 years, the Havasupai name was invisible to the 100,000 people that visit the lush area every year. But with the unanimous vote to accept the name change, park goers will have the opportunity to learn a more honest history.

“As a descendent of the Burro-Tilousi family I am glad to see that we will always remember and honor the true history of my family’s forced relocation due to the development of the Grand Canyon National Park,” Carletta Tilousi, a member of the Havasupai Tribe and former Tribal Council member, said. “I hope this historic action will help other Tribes take similar steps and reclaim lands back by changing place names for historic and cultural preservation purposes.”

The name change obviously can’t reverse the horrible things that white people did to this Indigenous population, but at least visitors from all over the world can educate themselves on the true heritage of the area.


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