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)
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
~ With respect and eternal gratitude to The Havasupai, Sydney.
The Havasupai Indians have lived here for over 800 years, prior to which
inhabited by prehistoric people. Havasupai means people of the blue-green
ha for water, vasu for blue-green and pai for people.
The color comes from the limestone that is highly concentrated in the
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,
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
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
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
your eyes and the sacred energy remains locked in your heart and soul
"The Havasupai tribe is the smallest Indian Nation in America with
members and a medianage of 24.8 years. The Havasuw Baaja draw their
from the land which is sacred. They are the traditional guardians of
Canyon and are related to the Yuman in dialect.Before the arrival of
they farmed the land where the canyon widened and the plentiful waters
Havasu Creek allowed them to create an emerald haven in a sun scorched
In the summertime, they grew corn, squash, melons and beans and after
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
They traded with the Zuni and Hopi Indians exchanging buck skins and
for pottery and turquoise. The Havasupai were renowned for fine quality
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
siezed their lands on the plateau, restricting them to a small reservation
canyon. Almost a century passed before their winter homelands were
by Congress in 1975.Today, they continue to cultivate their crops but
tanning and basket weaving skills are known mainly to the older people.
Father Francisco Garces, a Spanish missionary priest was the
~ Unknown source
to visit the Havasupai in their canyon in 1776. He found 34 families
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
death descending the waterfall that carries his name. There was also
prospector named Dahoney who noticed some unusual pictographs on the
canyon walls and the remains of an ancient megalithic fortress perched
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
pictographs as well as cliff dwellings and masonry storehouses in the
Authorities believe that the cliff dwellings and storehouses were built
prehistoric people unrelated to the Havasupai. In 1924, Dahoney sponsored
and participated in a scientific expedition to explore the evidence
prehistoric manin the area. Their findings generated more questions
Apparently, the red sandstone contains iron that forms a thin black
on the surface of the rock. By cutting through the black film with
instrument, the red sandstone underneath is exposed creating the pictograph.
The expedition identified controversial wall drawings of a dinosaur
several ibex. Dinosaur tracks have been found in the area but it is
held that dinosaurs were extinct for millions of years before the appearance
This painting suggests that Paleo-Indians were either much older than
originally thought or some dinosaurs became extinct more recently.
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
Havasupai Reservation that are not accessible to visitors."
The Wigleeva overlooking the village.
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.
of the tribe rarely leave permanently other than the children to mandatorily
high school from which they always return to the isolated, simple and
in the canyon. All the children are raised to speak fluently in their
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
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
packed in and out by mule and on horseback which means everyday
very expensive and limited. Familys keep trucks at the parking lot
Hilltop, 4-6 hours away, so they can drive to Kingman two hours further
buy whatever they need from there. The villagers have satellite dishes
allow them axcess to the events of the world but for the most part,
remain shy, reserved, gentle and quiet. They have no paved roads and
squash and melons. There is an abundance of dogs which run wild keeping
with the visitors (but must not be petted), and corrals of horses
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
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.
do not want their life disrupted or changed, yet they are challenged
and compromise to the ways of the outside world by allowing visitors,
to ultimately preserve their unique cultral heritage and natural beauty.
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
to their healing and spiritual direction.
* To preserve their cultural identity in every possible way. The land
them birth defines their identity.The land helps to preserve their
by separating and insulating them from those influences they do not
incorporate into Havasupai life.
* To use their homeland to provide sustenance for themselves and to
a self-sustaining life.
* To provide their children with more alternatives than their parents
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
much as possible the natural materials of the land and have the feeling
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
* To carefully control the influences that could destroy their privacy
of tribal community.
The Uranium Mining Battle
The Grand Canyon is where America's largest deposits of uranium can
The Havasupai have long been battling with the Supreme Court
to prevent mining
taking place. The money hungry uranium corporations and their nuclear
consumers, care nothing for the Havasupai and their territorial and
Commercial interests have so far taken priority. If anyone reading
this can make a
difference and protect the Havasupai, please take action. One person
make a difference and maybe it is you! Ironically, The Aborigines,
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
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
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
came over his body, and when the black cloud disappeared, the
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
all the elders and all the leaders and all the people in a circle and
what she had instructed him to do. And sure enough, just as she said
on the fourth day she came. They say a cloud came down from the sky,
of the cloud stepped the white buffalo calf. As it rolled onto the
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
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.
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
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
~ Joseph Chasing Horse
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.
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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