The Hualapai Tribe is a federally recognized Indian Tribe located in northwestern Arizona. “Hualapai” (pronounced Wal-lah-pie) means “People of the Tall Pines.” In 1883, an executive order established the Hualapai reservation.
The reservation encompasses about one million acres along 108 miles of the Grand Canyon and Colorado River. Occupying part of three northern Arizona counties: Coconino, Yavapai, and Mohave , the reservation’s topography varies from rolling grassland, to thick forests, to rugged canyons. Elevations range from 1,500 feet at the Colorado River, to over 7,300 feet at the highest point of the Aubrey Cliffs.
The total population of the Hualapai Reservation is about 1,621 of whom 1,353 are tribal members (2000 U.S. Census). Total tribal membership, including members not residing on the reservation, is approximately 2,300. Most people who reside on the reservation live in the capitol town of Peach Springs, which owns its name to the peach trees that historically grew at nearby springs. The closest full-service community is Kingman, Arizona located 55 miles west of Peach Springs on historic Route 66 . Peach Springs was the inspiration for the fictional “Radiator Springs” in the animated Pixar movie “Cars.”
There is no casino gaming on the Hualapai Reservation. Tribal administration, public schools, and state/federal government provide the bulk of current full-time employment. The principal economic activities are tourism, cattle ranching, and arts and crafts.
An outdoorsman’s paradise, the reservation is rich in hunting, fishing, and river rafting opportunities. The tribe sells guided big-game hunting permits for desert bighorn sheep, trophy elk, antelope, and mountain lion. The Hualapai River Runners, the only Indian-owned and operated river rafting company on the Colorado River, offers one and two-day trips.
Another tribal enterprise is Grand Canyon West on the Hualapai reservation at the west rim of the Grand Canyon. Offering an alternative to the Grand Canyon National Park, the enterprise offers tour packages that can include spectacular views from the “Skywalk” (a glass bridge that enables visitors to walk beyond the rim of the Grand Canyon at 4,000 feet above the Colorado River), helicopter and boat tours, and other excursions on the reservation.
As a sovereign Indian nation, the Tribe is governed by an executive and judicial branch. The executive branch is composed of a nine-member Tribal Council, which includes a chairperson and vice-chairperson. Council members are elected to office by Tribal members and serve 4-year terms. The Council oversees twelve administrative departments. The judicial branch of government consists of a Tribal Court and a Court of Appeals. Judges are appointed by the Tribal Council for two-year terms. The Courts have jurisdiction over all cases and controversies within the jurisdiction of the Tribe by virtue of the Tribe’s inherent sovereignty or which may be vested in tribal courts by federal law.
The Hualapai Tribal Nation is a member tribe of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the Council of Energy Resource Tribes (CERT), the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA),and the Arizona Indian Gaming Association (AIGA).