'Long Overdue' Name Change Coming to Grand Canyon

Popular Indian Garden campground to become Havasupai Gardens in honor of tribe
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2022 10:30 AM CST
Grand Canyon Highlight to Ditch Its 'Offensive' Name
Cottonwood trees are shown along Bright Angel Trail at Indian Garden, to be renamed Havasupai Gardens.   (Wikimedia Commons/Grand Canyon National Park)

A popular camping spot at Grand Canyon National Park is shedding its "offensive" name. Indian Garden, a camping and rest area reached from the South Rim via the Bright Angel Trail, is to be renamed Havasupai Gardens in honor of the Native American tribe that was forcibly removed from the area a century ago, the National Park Service said Monday. The US Board on Geographic Names voted 19-0 to approve a request submitted this year by the Havasupai tribe, reports the Centre Daily Times. Havasupai Chairman Thomas Siyuja Sr. said the eviction, "coupled with the offensive name, Indian Garden, has had detrimental and lasting impacts on the Havasupai families that lived there and their descendants."

Siyuja said 100,000 annual visitors to the site, originally named Ha'a Gyoh, are "largely unaware of this history" but the "renaming of this sacred place ... will finally right that wrong," per CNN. Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Ed Keable said the "long overdue" renaming is "a measure of respect for the undue hardship imposed by the park on the Havasupai people." They're believed to have lived in the canyon for at least 800 years before their forced removal, completed in 1928, per the Arizona Republic. The tribe regained about 185,000 acres of ancestral land, including Havasu Falls, and access to another 95,000 acres managed by the park via the Grand Canyon National Park Enlargement Act of 1975.

The tribe now counts 639 members, many of whom are employed in tourism. "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 descendant of the last tribal resident of Ha'a Gyoh, tells CNN. "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." Officials are working to change signs around the site, which features bathrooms and a ranger station, ahead of a rededication ceremony to take place in the spring. (More Havasupai stories.)

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