Native American Indian Sacred Quest

Aisv Nv Wa do hi ya do
Walk in Peace

There is an awakening among all people.
The spiritual energy truth is upon earth.
We are spiritual beings in earth bodies
who need to recognize
the spiritual principals within ourselves.
We can't hide behind race,
gender or institutions anymore.
We must come in tune
with the physicalness of what is around us
 so we can walk a balanced life.
Then we will know
the creator is present everywhere.
~ Gene Thin Elk  (Isna Icaga)

"The Warrior"
Artist: Jim TwoFeathers


In September of 1999, after seventeen years of dreaming about it, I was finally able to journey to a hidden shangrila. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth, one of the most sacred and fortunately, really challenging to travel to. If it was more axcessable, the beauty and magic would be destroyed, eroded into the steep red canyon walls and lost forever.

The Havasupai Indians have lived here for over 800 years, prior to which it was
inhabited by prehistoric people. Havasupai means people of the blue-green waters, ha for water, vasu for blue-green and pai for people.

The color comes from the limestone that is highly concentrated in the rushing waters of three magnificent, breathtaking waterfalls and the perennial Supai creek. The water flows at about 28,000 gallons per minute, lining the river bed and reflecting back the striking blue-green deposit as it tumbles 400 feet toward the "big water", the Colorado River, about 10 miles away. Each of the three waterfalls are spectacular, enticing you into their icy cold depths to cleanse your spirit and play like a child.

 Navajo Falls comes first, cascading 75 feet down the side of fern glistening canyon walls, named after a famous Havasupai chief who negotiated the first treaty with the army. It is followed further down, by Havasu Falls, which drops 100 feet into crystal gleaming, delicate, travertine ledges of shining cicular pools, gently lapping onto a soft red sand beach. The third fall Is Mooney Waterfall which rises 190 feet, above an isolated valley, taller than Niagra and extremely dangerous to transcend as it roars out its powerful sacred song which echoes the ancient history of The Havasupai Tribe.

It is a place of enchantment and intimate beauty. Seducing the soul, healing the heart and permeating  every cell in your body with a magical energy I have only experienced  once before, on the island of Maui.

Between Havasu and Mooney falls are the permitted campgrounds.
Weary backpackers, after five hours of a2,000 feet descending trail hike, under a blazing 100 degree sun, may setup their tents beneath400-foot towering red rock canyon walls, alongside the cool blue-green waters. Once nightime comes, it is easy to fall into a soft and peaceful, deep, sweet sleep. The healing that takes placeis far deeper than the physical body. When you return home, the stunning natural visual beauty remains in your eyes and the sacred energy remains locked in your heart and soul forever.

~ With respect and eternal gratitude to The Havasupai, Sydney.

havasu falls
Havasu Falls.
Sydney 1999

"The Havasupai tribe is the smallest Indian Nation in America with 639 enrolled
members and a medianage of 24.8 years. The Havasuw Baaja draw their strength from the land which is sacred. They are the traditional guardians of the Grand Canyon and are related to the Yuman in dialect.Before the arrival of Europeans, they farmed the land where the canyon widened and the plentiful waters of Havasu Creek allowed them to create an emerald haven in a sun scorched land.

In the summertime, they grew corn, squash, melons and beans and after harvesting their crops in the fall they moved to winter settlements on the rim of the canyon where men hunted deer, antelope and small game and women made beautiful baskets. They traded with the Zuni and Hopi Indians exchanging buck skins and red ocher for pottery and turquoise. The Havasupai were renowned for fine quality buck skins and powdered red ocher, obtained from a secret place, was particularly prized by other tribes for painting their faces.

This idyllic lifestyle was interrupted by the arrival of miners and ranchers who
siezed their lands on the plateau, restricting them to a small reservation in the
canyon. Almost a century passed before their winter homelands were restored
by Congress in 1975.Today, they continue to cultivate their crops but their
tanning and basket weaving skills are known mainly to the older people.

walathomawal***brush dwelling
Walathomawal.      Early brush dwelling.
Father Francisco Garces, a Spanish missionary priest was the first European
to visit the Havasupai in their canyon in 1776. He found 34 families whom
he described as happy and hard working. Among some of the first prospectors
to visit the Havasupai in 1879 was an ex-sailor named Mooney who fell to his
death descending the waterfall that carries his name. There was also a young
prospector named Dahoney who noticed some unusual pictographs on the
canyon walls and the remains of an ancient megalithic fortress perched on the
rim of a sheer cliff.

Dahoney's observations are supported by Frank H. Cushing's description
of his encounter with the Havasupai in 1882. He too, noted red and white
pictographs as well as cliff dwellings and masonry storehouses in the cliffs.
Authorities believe that the cliff dwellings and storehouses were built by a
prehistoric people unrelated to the Havasupai. In 1924, Dahoney sponsored
and participated in a scientific expedition to explore the evidence of
prehistoric manin the area. Their findings generated more questions than
those answered.

Apparently, the red sandstone contains iron that forms a thin black film
on the surface of the rock. By cutting through the black film with a sharp
instrument, the red sandstone underneath is exposed creating the pictograph.
The expedition identified controversial wall drawings of a dinosaur and
several ibex. Dinosaur tracks have been found in the area but it is generally
held that dinosaurs were extinct for millions of years before the appearance
of man!

This painting suggests that Paleo-Indians were either much older than
originally thought or some dinosaurs became extinct more recently. Also,
ibex have never been found in America! These paintings imply otherwise
and even today, they remain an enigma to palaeontologists. The ancient
fortress, cliff dwellings and wall paintingsare located in other areas of the
Havasupai Reservation that are not accessible to visitors."

~ Unknown source

The Wigleeva overlooking the village.
Sydney 1999

Life In Supai
All of The Havasupai live on the reservation in Supai Village, 300 feet deep in Havasu Canyon, 8 miles from Hulapai Hilltop, 117 miles from Kingman, Arizona. Members of the tribe rarely leave permanently other than the children to mandatorily attend high school from which they always return to the isolated, simple and peaceful life in the canyon. All the children are raised to speak fluently in their native language and become involved with their only industry, tourism, to generate the income needed to maintain their lifestyle.

The men work with the pack mule trains which travel back and forth every day.
The women work in the tourism office,the visitors lodge, the local cafe and the
only post office in America which runs the mail via mule train. All supplys are
packed in and out by mule and on  horseback which means everyday items are
very expensive and limited. Familys keep trucks at the parking lot at Hulapai 
Hilltop, 4-6 hours away, so they can drive to Kingman two hours further and
buy whatever they need from there. The villagers have satellite dishes which
allow them axcess to the events of the world but for the most part, the people
remain shy, reserved, gentle and quiet. They have no paved roads and farm corn,
squash and melons. There is an abundance of dogs which run wild keeping company with the visitors  (but must not be petted), and corrals of horses throughout the valley floor.

The Havasupai consider the source of the river to be a sacred place that is part of
the legend of their origin. They believe that the Wigleeva, two stone pillars that
stand high above the village, are guardian spirits which watch over them and the
safety and future of their people living on the 188,077 acres of homeland. They
do not want their life disrupted or changed, yet they are challenged to adapt 
and compromise to the ways of the outside world by allowing visitors, so as
to ultimately preserve their unique cultral heritage and natural beauty.

Mule Train.
Sydney 1999
The principals which guide the Havasupai as a people
* To preserve the magnificence of their homeland. The Havasupai people
and the homeland are inseparable. Preserving the land is a sacred responsibility.
* To protect their natural resources, both animal and plant life, that contribute
to their healing and spiritual direction.
* To preserve their cultural identity in every possible way. The land that gives
them birth defines their identity.The land helps to preserve their cultural identity
by separating and insulating them from those influences they do not wish to
incorporate into Havasupai life.
* To use their homeland to provide sustenance for themselves and to return to
a self-sustaining life.
* To provide their children with more alternatives than their parents had. (Such
alternatives can only come with better education and increased employment
opportunities on the reservation).
* To provide the people with the best health and sanitation facilities.
* To provide housing for all the Havasupai people; housing that will utilize as
much as possible the natural materials of the land and have the feeling of the
outdoors, yet protect and give warmth to the inhabitants.
* To make the most efficient use of the water available to them.
* To make the least wasteful use of the energy resources available to them.
* To carefully control the influences that could destroy their privacy and sense
of tribal community.
mooney falls
Mooney Falls.
The Uranium Mining Battle
The Grand Canyon is where America's largest deposits of uranium can be found.
The Havasupai have long been  battling with the Supreme Court to prevent mining taking place. The money hungry uranium corporations and their nuclear power consumers, care nothing for the Havasupai and their territorial and religious rights. Commercial interests have so far taken priority. If anyone reading this can make a difference and protect the Havasupai, please take action. One person CAN make a difference and maybe it is you! Ironically, The Aborigines, in Australia, another sacred culture, are battling the same issue.

The Legend Of The White Buffalo Calf

"We Lakota people have a prophecy about the white buffalo calf.
How that prophecy originated was that we have a sacred bundle,
a sacred peace pipe, that was brought to us about 2,000 years ago
by what we know as the White Buffalo Calf Woman.

The story goes that she appeared to two warriors at that time.
These two warriors were out hunting buffalo, hunting for food in
the sacred Black Hills of South Dakota, and they saw a big body
coming toward them. And they saw that it wasa white buffalo calf.
As it came closer to them, it turned into a beautiful young Indian girl.
That time one of the warriors thought bad in his mind, and so the young
girl told him to step forward. And when he did step forward, a black cloud
came over his body, and when the black cloud  disappeared, the warrior
who had bad thoughts was left with no flesh or blood on his bones.
The other warrior kneeled and began to pray. And when he prayed,
the white buffalo calf who was now an Indian girl told him to go back
to his people and warn them that in four days she was going to
bring a sacred bundle.


So the warrior did as he was told. He went back to his people and he gathered
all the elders and all the leaders and all the people in a circle and told them
what she had instructed him to do. And sure enough, just as she said she would,
on the fourth day she came. They say a cloud came down from the sky, and off
of the cloud stepped the white buffalo calf. As it rolled onto the earth,
the calf stoodup and became this beautiful young woman who was carrying
the sacred bundle in her hand.As she entered into the circle of the nation, 
she sang a sacred song and took the sacred bundle to the people who
were there to take of her. She spent four days among our people and
taught them about the sacred bundle, the meaning of it.

She taught them seven sacred ceremonies.

    • One of them was the sweat lodge, or the purification ceremony.
    • One of them was the naming ceremony, child naming.
    • The third was the healing ceremony.
    • The fourth one was the making of relatives or the adoption ceremony.
    • The fifth one was the marriage ceremony.
    • The sixth was the vision quest.
    • And the seventh was the sundance ceremony, the people's ceremony for all of the nation.
Buffalo Headdress.

She brought us these seven sacred ceremonies and taught our people the songs and the
traditional ways. She instructed our people that as long as we performed these ceremonies we would always remain caretakers and guardians of sacred land.When she was done teaching all our people, she left the way she came. She went out of the circle, and as she was leaving she turned and told our people that she would return one day for the sacred bundle. And she left the sacred bundle, which we still have to this very day.

The sacred bundle is known as the White Buffalo Calf Pipe because it was brought by
the White Buffalo Calf Woman. It is kept in a sacred place, by a man who is known as 
the keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe ...

Arvol Looking Horse.

When White Buffalo Calf Woman promised to return again, she made some prophecies at that time. One of those prophesies was that the birth of a white buffalo calf would be a sign that it would be near the time when she would return again to purify the world. What she meant by that was that  she would bring back harmony again and balance, spiritually."  - Traditional Story © Joseph Chasing Horse, 1995

"Mention that we are praying, many of the medicine people, the spiritual leaders, the elders, are praying for the world. We are praying that mankind does wake up and think about the future, for we havn't just inherited this earth from our ancestors, but we are borrowing it from our  unborn children." ~ Joseph Chasing Horse


          "Miracle", The White Buffalo Calf, was born on the morning of August 20, 1994.
          She is considered to be the first white buffalo calf born since 1933.


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My thanks to: 
 The Havasupai Tribe - Adventures Great & Small for the history of Havasupai.
Edward Curtis for Havasupai brush dwelling photo.
Paula Giese who passed on summer 1997
Photo of Arvol Looking Horse from the Book of the Elders.
Sam Silverhawk for the stunning graphics.


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