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NPR: Grand Canyon developer says plan won't harm sacred sites






Artist's rendering of a tram to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Image from Grand Canyon Escalade

NPR reports on a controversial Navajo Nation tourism project at the bottom of the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona:
About 100 miles north of Flagstaff, Ariz., a long dirt road ends at a precipice. Thirty-five-hundred feet below, the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers meet at the floor of the Grand Canyon.

Developers are trying to broker a deal with the Navajo Nation to build on the eastern edge of the Grand Canyon. But many Hopi, Zuni and Navajo people consider the Navajo land sacred. Navajo leaders are divided over whether to allow desperately needed economic development on a place they believe to be holy.

The Grand Canyon Escalade proposal promises the tribe 3,200 jobs, a road, infrastructure and at least 8 percent of gross revenues. The trade-off: 420 acres of land considered holy by many tribal members.


The proposed project site. Photo from Grand Canyon Escalade
But Whitmer says it is not a documented sacred site.

"Navajo and the Hopi, in their litigation with the federal government, have spent significant time — 50, 60 years — cataloging significant sacred sites. There are no significant sacred sites within the 420 acres," says Whitmer.

Get the Story:
Proposed Gondola For Grand Canyon's Rim Has Community On Edge (NPR 8/4)

Related Stories:
NPS worried about Navajo Nation's Grand Canyon tourism plans (07/07)
Native Sun News: Opposition to Grand Canyon tourist project (06/10)
Navajo community divided on Grand Canyon tourist attractionm (11/29)
Hopi Tribe passes resolution opposing Navajo Nation business (10/10)
Navajo Nation sees opposition to Grand Canyon tourism project (7/31)