Hwal'bay means People of the Tall Pines. These members
of the Hualapai Tribe live on a reservation encompassing a
million acres along 108 miles of the Colorado River and the
Grand Canyon. The reservation is mostly rolling hills, rugged
mesas, forests, breathtaking cliffs and deep gorges. An
Executive Order created the reservation in 1883. Peach Springs,
the Tribal Capital, 50 miles east of Kingman on Historic
Highway 66, owes its name to peach trees growing at springs
nearby. The railroad established a water station in the early
1880s and called it Peach Springs. Valentine, another community
on the reservation named after the Commissioner of
Indian Affairs in 1910, is nearby.
Rapid economic, social and governmental progress characterizes
the reservation's recent history. More than 200 new
homes have been built recently. About 14 miles of town streets
have been paved and curbed. An improved community water
and sewer system provides infrastructure for future growth.
The Hualapai Tribe has community-wide anti-drug and
anti-alcohol efforts and a yearly Sobriety Festival in June.
The tribal economy is based on tourism, river rafting, cattle
ranching, hunting expeditions, and timber cutting, as well as
crafting of traditional and modern folk arts.
The progressive tribal government is showing off the treasures
of the Hualapai half of Grand Canyon to admirers worldwide.
Grand Canyon West attracts more than 3,000 guests
each month. Business matters are guided by the Hualapai
Enterprise Board, a committee of independent, business-mind-ed
tribal members and non-members. Tribal, public school,
state and federal governmental services provide the bulk of
full-time employment. Hualapai River Running is the only
Indian-owned and operated river rafting company on the
Colorado River. It offers one- and two-day Indian-guided trips
for tourists of all ages. Hualapai Wildlife Conservation sells big game
hunting permits for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, trophy
elk, antelope and mountain lion.
Hualapai Folk Arts offers a variety of other traditional and
modern arts for sale. A store, gas station and deli, along Historic
Route 66, serve tribal and travelers' needs. Peach Springs Canyon
offers the only road into the Grand Canyon: Diamond Creek Road.
The tribe maintains the road allowing conditional access by car or truck and issues sightseeing permits. Historic Route 66, America's “Mother Road,” goes through
the center of Peach Springs. Grand Canyon Caverns, just east of
Peach Springs, offers guided tours through chambers 21 stories
underground. Food and lodging are available.