Grand Canyon hiking area name changed to honor Native Americans who had been forced from land

The National Park Service has agreed to a request to change the name of a popular Grand Canyon hiking area.

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The area had been called Indian Garden but is now named Havasupai Gardens, the NPS said in a news release.

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names unanimously agreed to accept the name change after the Havasupai Tribe requested the NPS to change the name of the land.

“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 a 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 area had been named Ha’a Gyoh but when the NPS forced the Havasupai people from the land and forcibly removed the last resident in the 1920s. The Havasupai people, however, still live and work in the Grand Canyon National Park.

The trail that the last resident had used daily became most of the Bright Angel Trail, Ophelia Watahomigie-Corliss, a member of the tribe, said.

“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,” park Superintendent Ed Keable said in the news release.

A rededication ceremony is planned for the spring.