Hualapi Spirits

Grand Canyon, 1996
by Robin van Tine

The Grand Canyon.
Powerful Young Hualapi Braves
with Long Shining Black Hair guide us.

Majestic colors.
Surging Rapids.
Ancient Rock.

Blue Sky a mile straight up beyond the rim.

Screams of excitement as we surge down into the rapids yet again,
Walls of Frigid Water Crashing over us on our rubber zodiac filled with supplies and tourists.
The Noise and Smell of the throbbing, noxious twin outboards -- hundreds of horsepower -- as our Powerful Young Native guides fight the mighty Colorado, water streaking down their muscular brown bodies and soaking their colorful braids.

Scorn from the White guides and their passengers in the many other White-Water Rafts that we pass as they glide and surge with The River, armed only with paddles.

Native Peoples on their Ancestral Lands.


The People of the Tall Pines, on their squalid arid grassland and desert reservation given to them on the Rim of the Grand Canyon, rich with bitter history and rocks.

No Tall Pines here as there are just a bit further North in rich and lush Grand Canyon National Park.

I ask one young warrior about the ancient spirits of the canyon. He looks startled and intense as his dark eyes stare deeply into my blue eyes. "We can't speak of such things in the Summer", he responds and changes the subject uncomfortably. "Would you like to go back and do that last rapid again", he says, grinning as he guns the engines and turns the raft for a second approach to this class five rapid.

My camera jams. My film is destroyed.

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