Hualapais,Tour Operators, Park Service Fight Over River
The Hualapais claim the federal government created a northern boundary for its reservation on the river with an executive order in 1883 signed by U.S. President Chester Arthur.
In 1999, a federal solicitor expressed the opinion during a water rights case the tribal boundary was actually at an undetermined high-water mark which would mean that during normal flow periods, the tribe would have no access to the River.
Every thing is coming to a head as the Park Service is trying to complete the Colorado River Management Plan that would regulate the number of people on river trips passing through the Grand Canyon.
The situation has reached the explosive stage. Angry tribal members have walked out of meetings attempting to negotiate a satisfactory agreement between the two groups. The tribe operates a five-hour $280 river trip over 36 miles of the best white water adjoining the reservation. About 12,000 tourists take the trip annually according to a tribal spokesman with none of the proceeds going to the Park Service.
According to Park service planning documents, the agency wants to cap the number of Hualapai river–runner pontoon passenger boats to 150 a day with the goal of protecting the river and keeping it ”in a wild and primitive condition”. The Hualapais want a cap of 960 a day.
In the midst of the controversy is the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association, a consortium of river tour operators located in Flagstaff. Its executive director, Mark Grisham said, This is a very explosive situation. The Park Service is trying to manage the resource and they don’t know where the boundary is for sure.”
Grisham doesn’t think the Park service will back away from trying to manage the entire river through the Grand Canyon. He asserted the river-group tours would likely take the tribe to court if they attempt to “assert management authority over us.”
He added the Hualapais won’t work directly with us as we are not a government but maintained it would be risky for the tribe to take this to court as they could end up as losers with no rights at all to the river.
Editor’s Note - I remember way back in the 1940’s at the U of A when I first began to take courses in the exciting field of anthropology, the Hualapais were the most depressed tribe in Arizona. But times have changed over the years and wait ‘til you learn about the forthcoming attraction they have in store for world-wide tourism that is slated to open on New Year’s Day, 2006.
This column has been edited for content and length from an article that appeared in the October 13th edition of The Arizona Republic bylined Mark Shaffer.
Native American Youth Council Launches Project
Submitted by Chantlaca@aol.com
October 12, 2005
PHOENIX, AZ -- The Native American Youth Council of North High School today launched an Indigenous Peoples Geography Project on their organization website, making history by presenting in an educational format the unique history and geography of the ancestral territories of the Native Nations.
"All Indigenous Peoples see the land as sacred, and the history of the land is the history of our Nations,” said Tupac Enrique who is the Native American Student Advisor for the Youth Council. “Our intent is to open the eyes of our Native Students and the community at large to the validity of the native systems of geography and cartography, systems of knowledge which we still hold as valid in spite of centuries of colonization.”
In honor of the ancestral settlements in the Valley of the Sun of the Odham Nations, the first presentation on the website is of a map of Phoenix which describes the location and extent of the ancient settlements of the HuHukam Peoples in the area. The Huhukam are known to have inhabited the territory continuously for over 1,500 years and are considered the ancestors of the Odham Nations of today.
"I believe this project will allow more people to gain an understanding of the importance of the land they walk upon each and everyday here in the valley,” said Brian Bex, North High School student and member of the Dine Nation who serves as webmaster for the Youth Council website located at http://www.northhighnatives.com/
One of the objectives of this educational initiative is to create recognition and respect for the Sacred Sites of the Native Nations in the territory, by validating the indigenous geographic identities of the traditional altars of the land. Among these are locations that include the mountain ranges of South Mountain, Baboquivari Mountain, Vianom Doag, and others among a vast family of Odham Nation altars that extend into Mexico.
Wilma Mankiller To Speak At Free Lecture
Wilma Mankiller, the first woman to serve as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation will speak on Wednesday Nov. 9th at 7 p.m. in the ballroom of the Erb Memorial Union at the University of Oregon. Her topic is "Context Is Everything: History and Culture in Contenporary Tribal Life."
On Thursday, Nov. 10th, Mankiller, the 2005-6 Wayne Morse Chair of Law and Politics, will join other tribal leaders and honored guests at a one-day symposium slated for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
University of Arizona legal scholar, Rebecca Tsosie will deliver the keynote address and Beverly Jacobs is to speak on "Aboriginal Women and Leadership.".
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