A popular hiking spot in the Grand Canyon is changing its racially offensive name after an agreement was reached with a local Native American tribe.
Indian Gardens – which is a location along the park’s Bright Angel Trail – will now be called Havasupai Gardens, the National Park Service said in a statement. It was previously known as Ha’a Gyoh in the Havasupai language.
The move reflects the fact that members of the Havasupai tribe were removed from the inner rim canyon area almost 100 years ago. The last Havasupai resident, known as Captain Burro, was forcibly removed in 1928.
“This renaming is long overdue. It is a measure of respect for the undue hardship imposed by the park on the Havasupai people,” said the park superintendent, Ed Keable.
Havasupai leaders welcomed the development.
“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,” said the Havusapai chairman, Thomas Siyuja Sr. “Every year, approximately 100,000 people visit the area while hiking the Bright Angel Trail, largely unaware of this history. The renaming of this sacred place to Havasupai Gardens will finally right that wrong.”
Across the US there is a widespread effort to rename places with names that often reflect historical mistreatment of Native Americans or Black Americans or celebrate Confederate history. They range from army bases to mountains to ski resorts. For example, in 2021 Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows resort, an Olympic skiing venue in California, changed its name to Palisades Tahoe.
The Havasupai and park service are now planning a rededication ceremony in the spring of 2023 for Havasupai Gardens.
“The people of the Havasupai Tribe have always called the vast Grand Canyon and the plateau lands south of it our homeland. The Creator made the Havasupai People the guardians of the Grand Canyon, and this is a role that we take very seriously. We are a small tribe. But our voices and our spirits are large,” Siyuja in a statement.