We spent two weeks in the bottom of the Grand Canyon last September, in a campsite surrounded by blue green water, waterfalls, and crystal clear pools that we immersed in daily. My five year old daughter hiked barefeet down the trail, 13 miles, age four, Erwan my husband carried Eagle our one year old at the time on back, and I carried our newborn baby Sky a month old in the organic ergobaby carrier, we were ALL barefeet. We carried our supplies on Donkeys, we had plenty of water and snacks. The trail is something extrordinary, earth so red my feet were stained for weeks, the smells of the flora, the smell of the water that springs directly from the earth, redtail hawks, nine condors, crane, deer, the bats that dance on the creek at twilight, the smell of vibrant trees, giant boulders, ravens, and the color of the luminous water. The name “Havasupai” means “people of the blue-green water,” a reference to the exquisite color of the creek slicing through Havasu Canyon.
The 600-member tribe first came here about 1,000 years ago. Nomadic, they lived on the canyon floor during the spring and summer, tending crops, then moved back up top during the fall and winter to hunt and gather. In 1882, the U.S. government snatched about 500,000 acres of their ancestral land, relegating them to a 518-acre plot on the canyon floor. The tribe acclimated to year-round life inside the canyon, and chose to remain there even after the government returned 185,000 acres of their lost land in 1975. It was a gutsy decision. When you start getting closer to the village the beauty overwhelmes and you see why they chose to stay. Life is ALL around, red earth, blue sky, green grass, vines, trees, everything is so vibrant, protected, and thriving.
How do the Havasupai make a living? Tourism. The tribe operates a lodge in Supai, plus the campground where we we’re headed. They also offer horseback rides in and out of the canyon in which we decided to ride on our way out at the end of our stay, and luggage-toting services... mules.
The gratitude that we felt the gift of letting us into their home, isn't something we took lightly, GREAT respect to the peoples, and their land in which we became VERY close with many of them, they accepted us right away, we stayed for free as the kids and I are Native American, Cherokee.
Rising Sun a lovely memeber of the tribe started coming to our campsite early in the morning i'd make tea as he (Rising Sun) would sing Indain songs and drum as the sun would rise, songs about the water, mother earth, and his people, Erwan would play his flute in harmony with his songs and i'd dance. At the end of our stay he brought us a flacon feather in which we put with leather on Erwan's flute. We made him food, coffee, herbal tonics, i'd put my Beauty oils in his palms so he could smell and dab on his face, and Erwan practiced Natural Movement with him, reminding him of his people his cellular memory of how healthy and strong they once were. Rising Sun held Erwan's hands and they MOVED in the canyon, tears fell from my eyes as I watched two men become brothers sharing movement and songs together. The sky blessed us with rain, sunshine, and connection. Rising Sun we will soon see you again this October, we can hardly wait!
There are these waterfalls "New” Navajo Falls. Floods regularly sweep through the canyon during monsoon season, and sometimes change the size, shape and even location of the waterfalls -- as was the case with Navajo Falls after a major flood in 2008 that changed the course of Havasu Creek. This was one of my favorite spots hard to get to and no one around, I meditated for hours perched among the rocks, the waterfalls rushed all around my body and the clear warm waters brought clarity to my soul. It was DIVINE! Soon I will be at this place and the blue green waters will once again... repair repair repair my mind, body, and spirit. BLESSED!