history of hualapai tribe

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saintfester | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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There isn't a lot about this tribe, but here are some historical facts you could include in your assignment.

The Hualapai tribe is a Southwestern Indian tribe who traditionally inhabited the Western rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona’s northern mountains. They get their name from the trees that grow there, their tribal name meaning, “people of the ponderosa”

From oral records, we know that the tribe was semi-nomadic, moving back and forth between the Grand Canyon rim and the plateau seasonally. We also know that they harvested cactus fruit and processed grasses into food, but did not adopt agriculture like some of the tribes in the Southwest.

Tribal history is spotty at best, but the Hualapai people first came into the historical record during the brief 1865 Hualapai War. Hualapai Indians were friendly with whites and even helped the U.S. Army during the Apache Wars. This changes due to increased traffic along the Mojave-Prescott Toll Road, and eventually fighting broke out between whites and the tribe. To keep this important route open, the U.S. Army and its Mojave Indian allies attacked the Hualapai tribe’s homes until they finally surrendered in 1870. 1/3 of their estimated numbers were killed in this conflict while the rest were relegated to reservation life. Eventually, they were allowed to return to their traditional homeland along the canyon rim and maintained good relations with whites and their Indian neighbors.

Today, the tribe is federally recognized and have even opened their tribal lands to tourism.


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