Secretary Deb Haaland highest-ranking federal official to ever visit Havasupai Tribe
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press
The Havasupai Tribal Council and members of the Havasupai Tribe welcomed Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to Supai Village during her recent visit to Arizona.
The Secretary of the Interior is the highest-ranking federal official to ever visit the remote reservation, located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
Secretary Haaland hiked the eight miles into Supai Village to meet with members of the Havasupai Tribal Council. In addition to learning more about the federal investments being made to bring broadband to Indian Country, the council members shared their concerns about the ongoing threat of uranium mining on the tribe’s only water source, Havasu Creek.
Havasu Creek provides water to those who live in the canyon and also creates the world-renowned waterfalls that attracts thousands of visitors to the reservation each year, the lack of education services being offered to tribal youth, and the shortage of federal law enforcement officers serving the tribe.
During her visit, which included a tour of Havasupai Elementary School and other administrative buildings, Secretary Haaland viewed cultural dances and songs performed by the Guardians of the Grand Canyon and participated in cultural social dances with tribal members.
“The Havasupai Tribe was pleased to welcome Secretary Haaland to Supai Village and that she was able to fully experience our culture and homeland,” said Havasupai Tribal Chairman Thomas Siyuja, Sr. “She heard from us personally and saw with her own eyes the failures of the Bureau of Indian Education school system and Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement on our reservation.”
In addition to meeting with the council, she shared a meal with tribal members and had the opportunity to visit the sacred waterfalls during her stay.
Prior to her visit to Supai, the Secretary met with tribal leaders of the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition, local elected officials, and community members to learn about their vision for conserving the natural and cultural resources in the greater Grand Canyon watershed including the Havasupai Tribe’s aboriginal lands and traditional use areas.