National Park Service Officially Renames ‘Offensive’ Grand Canyon Locale

Anyone who has visited the Grand Canyon can attest to its awe-inspiring beauty.

While pictures can be nice for bragging rights about going there on an adventure, they definitely don’t do it justice.

The Grand Canyon, located in northern Arizona, originally was home to the Havasupai Tribe. Most of them were forced by the government to leave nearly 100 years ago as the Grand Canyon area was developed into a national park.

Now, the tribe has asked to have the name of an area called Indian Garden (along the Bright Angel Trail) changed because they say the name has been “offensive” to their tribe for many years.

In addition, they feel a name change will allow them to preserve their history and honor their ancestors.

When the tribe was still living in that area, they called it “Ha’a Gyoh.” The new name they have sought for the area is “Havasupai Gardens.”

A formal request for the name change was submitted to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names in November, and approval was granted unanimously (19-0), according to a news release on the Grand Canyon National Park Service website.

The timing of the approval seems fitting given that November is National Native American Heritage Month.

“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,” Chairman Thomas Siyuja Sr. said in the news release. “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.”

“The Grand Canyon National Park team was proud to work alongside the Havasupai Tribal Council in our joint effort to rename this culturally significant location at the Grand Canyon,” said Superintendent Ed Keable.

“The Havasupai people have actively occupied this area since time immemorial, before the land’s designation as a National Park and until the park forcibly removed them in 1926. This renaming is long overdue. It is a measure of respect for the undue hardship imposed by the park on the Havasupai people.”

Changes to signage, the website and other materials that reflect the new name already are taking place.

The Grand Canyon is a national park that can be visited year-round, though some roads leading to the North Rim close from mid-October through mid-May.

Some outdoor lovers, including hikers, enjoy visiting the Grand Canyon during Christmastime because it’s less crowded and is a  peaceful place to hike, relax and celebrate the holidays.

Details regarding spending Christmas at the Grand Canyon can be found here.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.