Phoenix’s Pueblo Grande Museum changing name to reflect Indigenous heritage

Mar 25, 2023, 10:36 AM

(Facebook Photo/Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park)...

(Facebook Photo/Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park)

(Facebook Photo/Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park)

PHOENIX — The Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park in Phoenix is changing its name to reflect the site’s Indigenous history.

The new name will be S’edav Va’aki (suh-UH-dahf VAH-ah-kee) Museum, an O’Odham name with an English translation to Central Vahki.

It is a reference to the platform mound preserved at the museum and its central location in the Salt River Valley.

“Words and titles matter. This name change will help to have a greater and more direct impact on how this significant ancestral site is interpreted,” Shane Anton, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Tribal historic preservation officer, said in a press release.

The change was voted unanimously by the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board this week, as was the tagline, “Gateway to Phoenix Heritage.”

The museum will begin transitioning signage onsite and online throughout the summer and fall, while a new logo will be revealed at a reopening event in the fall.

“The name change reflects our commitment to honoring the Indigenous people who helped build our community thousands of years ago. I look forward to the continued educational impact this museum will have on all Phoenicians,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said in the release.

The board saw changing the name as a way to connect to the local O’Odham (descendants of the Hohokom) and Piipaash communities.

The museum first opened in 1929 and includes two interpretive trails around a Hohokam ballcourt, platform mound and irrigation canals, as well as galleries with artifacts.

Excavations at the 1,500-year-old archaeological site date back to the 1800s, and it is listed as a National Historic Landmark.

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Phoenix’s Pueblo Grande Museum changing name to reflect Indigenous heritage