When you visit Grand Canyon West, you are entering the Hualapai Reservation, a federally recognized Indian Tribe located in northwestern Arizona called the “Hualapai” (pronounced Wal-lah-pie), meaning “People of the Tall Pines.” In 1883, an executive order established the Hualapai reservation, where the proud Indigenous people have lived since 1883.
Hualapai elder Paul Talieje narrated one account of the Pai origins.
“When time began, water flooded the earth and washed away the homes and gardens of the People. After the torrent subsided, one man remained atop a mountain called Wikahme’, or Spirit Mountain. The man grew old and believed his death was imminent until Dove brought instructions from Matavila, the Creator, to drain the ocean with the horn of a mountain sheep and then dig a hole in the ground. As the man did this the water drained away, and slowly the hills, plains, and deserts emerged into the sunlight.” *
*Shepherd, Jeffery P. We Are An Indian Nation. A History of the Hualapai People. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press 2010
Today, the Hualpai are thriving thanks in part to the travel and tourism industry. As a sovereign Indian nation, the Hualapai Tribe does not receive federal funding. Every purchase at Grand Canyon West helps to sustain Hualapai communities, which do not receive government assistance.
You can learn more about the Hualapai Tribe by exploring the exhibits found at the attractions at Grand Canyon West. Read more about the Hualapai Tribe in the book, “We Are An Indian Nation. A History of the Hualapai People” on sale at Grand Canyon West gift shops and national book resellers. All proceeds from this book go to a college fund for members of the Hualapai Tribe.