Some of the locals you’ll see on a Las Vegas Grand Canyon Tour are the Hualapai Native Americans. Also called Walapai, this tribe still occupies the areas that were traditional to them along the southern side of the Colorado River. Their tribal name, Hualapai, comes from their word for ponderosa pine, which adorns the south side of the Canyon.
The Local People of the Canyon Land
The Hualapai have 1,142 square miles on their reservation lands where approximately 1,400 of their tribe live. It would be impossible to take a Las Vegas Grand Canyon Tour without bumping into some of these long-time residents. Their chief income revolves around the tourist trade.
The tribal reservation has been in existence for approximately 130 years, created by executive order in 1883. Under national law, the Hualapai have their own government and complete control of the infrastructure of their land.
They have a police force and elected officials to deal with the business of the tribe, much like a small country residing within the U.S. Those who operate the Las Vegas Grand Canyon Tours are very appreciative of the contributions this small community furnishes to visitors.
Most tours and attractions on the rim and deep in the Canyon take place with Hualapai guides and assistants. Because they live in the area, they represent the most knowledgeable people available to deal with all issues concerning the outdoor Canyon activities.
Modern Accomplishments of the Hualapai
The Skywalk, which is one of the newer additions to the Canyon, was constructed with the aid of the Hualapai. This has proven to be one of the more popular parts of a Las Vegas Grand Canyon Tour since it was opened on the West Rim.
Not for the faint of heart, the Skywalk extends seventy feet from the wall’s edge of Eagle Point. The glass walk gives the impression of floating above the Canyon floor, which is over 4,000 feet below.
Through the years it has become more important for the Hualapai to speak the English language, and schools on the reservation teach the students quite admirably. Hualapai is still spoken by the elders and almost everyone over thirty.
In recent years, there have been many improvements on the Hualapai lands to modernize their society. This includes more than 300 street lights installed, improvements in the water supply and waste disposal, street upgrades, and over 200 new homes built. This is fitting for those who are such an integral part of the Grand Canyon experience and a Las Vegas Grand Canyon Tour.
Stephen Douglas is a freelance writer for various travel sites. He writes extensively about Las Vegas Grand Canyon Tours and other family fun activities.