Culture, history, and beauty all in one tourist attraction: The Hualapai Nation of Grand Canyon National Park
by L. Shannon
(Travel Time! )
I just want to start out by saying that my wife and I had been to the Grand Canyon once when we visited Las Vegas, but seeing it from a whole different view and perspective can only be described as unbelievable.
We have traveled many places all over the nation, and this was the one place that really sticks out in my mind. To just give a brief background, the Hualapai (meaning “People of the Tall Pines.”) are a native American Indian tribe of the Southwest.
They have done everything in their power over time to preserve the natural beauty and untouched splendor of the canyon and all it has to offer. The Hualapai Indians still show enormous respect for the canyon and its surroundings since it is part of their culture and heritage, and protecting it and appreciating it has become a way of life for them.
In writing this, my goal is to give the reader a little insight into why this attraction is so different from all the other guided tours and opportunities available in Arizona to view the Canyon. One reason why we loved it so much was that we could talk to the tribe and ask them questions about their land.
It was also very intriguing to find out that the tribe actually owns Grand Canyon West, and that they take such pride in being able to actually say that it is truly “their land.” When we visited, our main draw to the attraction was the one day white-water rafting adventure that is owned and operated by the tribe.
Some friends of ours had gone on a much longer rafting tour and told us it was the most astounding outdoor adventure they had when they visited Arizona. We were so excited because it was the only one day trip available (we were told by our tourist guide that most rafting trips go on for days, and we had both of our nephews with us so that was NOT an option for us.)
The views and panoramas on this trip were absolutely unbelievable, and we also got to see several other areas of the Canyon along the way, including some really beautiful waterfalls. Just when we thought things couldn’t get any more fun, we learned that nothing brings the day to an end like taking an active part in the rich history rooted in the Hualapai tribe.
We rented one of the smaller cabins facing the Canyon instead of staying at the Hualapai Lodge since it was more expensive, but the cabins were still very clean and comfortable. They were all located inside the Hualapai Ranch area, where we saw several life-like western performances and the boys had a blast when the real “cowboys” showed them the ropes and how to saddle a horse.
We also took a few pictures with some members of the tribe, and got to see them make some really neat crafts and baskets. Also, the cost of our pass included the Eagle Point Skywalk, which is a glass bridge suspended about 4000 feet above the Canyon and the Colorado River. Granted, the pass that we purchased wasn’t cheap, but it was more than worth it because of everything it included, and it’s a once in a lifetime experience that the whole family will have a blast with!!
For us, it was very personal; We felt blessed and enlightened as a result of this encounter and we almost didn’t want to leave! I have honestly never seen people who appreciate their surroundings as much as the Hualapai people do.
This tribe sees the canyon as their home, and it is sacred to them because Native Americans are historically known for protecting the land that allowed them to survive for centuries. They believe that if you take care of your surroundings, then nature will take it’s course and your surroundings will also take care of you. They can tell you every crevice, every trail, and every last detail of the actual rock formations of the canyon, including what the vast pastel of colors in the formations mean to the tribe culturally.
Any possible questions you might have, these native people can answer! So, pack up your bags and get ready to experience the wonder and grace of the Grand Canyon first hand from the people who know it the best: The Hualapai Tribe! Here is the actual website to the attraction: