ARIZONA NEWS

Project aims to preserve an Arizona tribe’s cultural history

Oct 17, 2021, 2:00 PM
This undated file photo shows the petroglyphs of Grapevine Canyon just outside of Laughlin, Nev., n...

This undated file photo shows the petroglyphs of Grapevine Canyon just outside of Laughlin, Nev., near the Arizona state line. The Fort Mojave Indian Tribe is working to establish the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument to protect thousands of acres of land that include petroglyphs. (Julie Fairman/Mohave Valley Daily News via AP)

(Julie Fairman/Mohave Valley Daily News via AP)

MOHAVE VALLEY, Ariz. (AP) — Hidden away in Christmas Tree Pass near the Arizona-Nevada border, more than 700 petroglyphs can be found at Grapevine Canyon.

The petroglyphs, which were carved into the canyon rocks sometime between 1100 and 1900 AD, are a reminder that the history of the Colorado River extends long before Davis Dam made its mark on the landscape.

The Pipa Aha Macav, or “The People By the River,” once occupied lands stretching from Utah to Mexico, and east to west from modern-day Santa Barbara to Prescott.

Now known as the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, the group’s land was reduced by settlers and now stretches from Mojave City to Topock, and straddles the Nevada, California and Arizona borders.

Fort Mojave was established as a United States military outpost in 1859 to give safe passage to American immigrants.

Ruins of Fort Mojave still exist on a bluff overlooking the Colorado River, just south of the boundary of present-day Bullhead City.

The reservation follows alongside the Colorado River, as the Fort Mojave tribe holds the river sacred to its traditions.

“The whole world was formed here, according to our creation story,” said Nora McDowell, former chairwoman of the Fort Mohave Indian Tribe.

McDowell is the manager of the Topock Remediation Project, which is cleaning chromium contamination in the groundwater near Topock Maze.

The Topock Maze is a more than 600-year-old geoglyph that is spiritually important to the Mojave, as it is a place where spirits transition to their next life.

Also sacred to the Mojave are the Avi Kwa Ame and Avi Vas Qui (Boundary Cone).

According to tribal tradition, the world was created at just below modern day Hoover Dam, at Avi Kwa Ame, the highest point in the Newberry Mountains.

Today, the peak is known as Spirit Mountain.

Many Bullhead City and Mohave Valley locals likely see the words “Avi” and “Spirit Mountain” every day without realizing their significance, as two tribal casinos in the area share the names.

The tribe is working to establish the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument, which will protect 380,000 acres of public land in southern Nevada if the proposal is granted.

Nine other tribes — Hualapai, Yavapai, Havasupai, Quechan, Maricopa, Pai Pai, Halchidhoma, Cocopah and Kumeyaay — also hold the area sacred.

“This is our home, and there are a lot of cultural resources we have to look after, even if we no longer own the land,” McDowell said.

On Oct. 11, President Joe Biden officially recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day to celebrate and honor Native American peoples. It is celebrated on the second Monday of October, falling on the same calendar day as Columbus Day.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Arizona State Courts Building (Arizona Governor's Office Photo)...
Associated Press

Arizona Senate’s privilege argument rejected by appeals court

A state appeals court says legislative privilege does not broadly protect the Arizona Senate from having to release hundreds of public records related to the review of the 2020 election.
1 day ago
A child swabs their nose under the direction of the Ector County Health Department as they go throu...
Associated Press

Large drive-thru COVID testing site opens in Pima County

Its testing capacity stretched by the increase in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron wave, Pima County is opening a large new drive-thru testing site with help from the federal government.
1 day ago
This undated photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office shows Charles Eugene Robbins of...
Associated Press

Man gets 9 years in prison for helping move body in 2014 ax killing

A judge gave a nine-year prison sentence Friday to a man for convictions for helping move a dead body in the 2014 death of an Arizona man.
1 day ago
(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Police investigate fatal vehicle collision with pedestrian in Phoenix

A vehicle collided with a pedestrian leaving one man dead on Friday in Phoenix, authorities said. .
1 day ago
(Facebook photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Phoenix police involved in fatal shooting Saturday morning

A man is dead after a police officers were involved in a shooting in Phoenix Saturday morning, authorities said.
1 day ago
Dan McFadden...
KTAR.com

Silver Alert cancelled for 89-year-old man last seen in Surprise

A Silver Alert was cancelled Saturday for a man who was last seen in Surprise, authorities said. 
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

HVAC upkeep in Arizona saves money, keeps families prepared in the long run

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 27: Wide receivers John Brown #12 and Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona C...
Arizona Department of Gaming

The most memorable games in Arizona sports history every fan needs to know

Sports teams in Arizona have seen their fair share of instant classic games, but there's a few that every fan needs to know.
(Facebook Photo/NHTSA)...
Sweet James

Upcoming holiday season is peak time for DUI arrests

The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most dangerous time of the year to be driving. That’s why it’s important to remember to call Sweet James Accident Attorneys if you’re injured or arrested because of a DUI accident.
Project aims to preserve an Arizona tribe’s cultural history