The Hualapai Tribe


   We all know they charge us to take-out at Diamond Creek. But what else is there to the Hualapai Tribe? For one thing Hualapai tribal lands bound 107 miles on the south side of the Colorado River from just above National Canyon (mile 165) to near Emery Falls (mile 272.5). The entire Hualapai reservation encompasses almost one million acres. Hot dry desert near the river to tall Ponderosa pine forest provide habitats for the healthiest bighorn sheep and elk herds in the West. The Hualapai culture has called the Canyon their home for thousands of years and still consider it sacred. And, after many years of being the quiet Hualapai, their voice is being heard.

   In Washington D.C., Salt Lake City and Phoenix, the federal and state management agencies know the Hualapai Tribe. The tribe is managing and researching its own resources and taking an active role in the current Glen Canyon Dam Environmental Impact Statement.

   Ongoing projects along the river corridor include fishery and riparian vegetation studies from Diamond Creek to Pearce Ferry which the tribe has contracted to private consultants. The Hualapai Wildlife Management Department, under the direction of Clay Bravo, oversees these projects as well as performing their own cultural and recreation studies. The Department has also built two small ponds stocked with sportfish to encourage angling on tribal lands.

   With the increasing commercial use of the Lower Gorge by Grand Canyon outfitters and Hualapai River Runners below Diamond Creek, we all need to be even more aware of Hualapai natural, cultural and recreational resources. Camping beaches are rare and as we do in the upper Canyon we must communicate and be courteous. We should encourage Hualapai boatmen to join GCRG and begin to develop a working relationship with them.

   This is the first in a series of articles on the Hualapai Tribe. Future articles will focus on specific issues unique to the Hualapai Tribal lands in the Grand Canyon.

Bill Leibfried