How legal and cultural barriers keep Indigenous people from protecting sacred spaces off tribal land

August 17, 2021

Tourists speeding toward Grand Canyon National Park rarely notice the rocky protuberance that juts above the flat expanse of Arizona's Coconino Plateau.

But to the Havasu 'Baaja, known to the world as the Havasupai Tribe or "People of the Blue-Green Water," the isolated hill forms the center of their lands and spiritual life.

Red Butte (Wii'I Gdwiisa or "Clenched Fist Mountain") is the abdomen of Mother Earth. Mat Taav Tiivjunmdva, a meadow about 3 miles north of the distinctive mountain close to the Canyon's South Rim, is her navel.

Source: How legal and cultural barriers keep Indigenous peoples from protecting sacred spaces off tribal land