The first written accounts of the canyon date back to the 1500’s when the Spaniards entered Arizona and New Mexico in search of treasure. Garcia Lopez de Càrdenas, with the help of Hopi guides from the nearby mesas, became the first European to see Grand Canyon. Unable to cross the impassable void, however, he left frustrated.
Native American tribes have long occupied the area in and around the canyon, including the Anasazi (the early ancestors of the Hopi), as well as the Hualapai and Havasupai tribes, which occupy reservations in the western canyon. On the North Rim Paiutes worked closely with the Mormons who colonized southern Utah and the Arizona Strip in the 1850’s. The last American Indians to arrive at Grand Canyon were the Navajo, or the Dine (Athabascan people related to the Apache), who moved there from the Northwest around 1400 A.D.
In 1869, Major John Wesley Powell, a Civil War veteran with only one arm, and nine companions became the first men to journey 1,000 miles on the Colorado River, part of it through Grand Canyon. They braved rapids, heat, plummeting morale, and the loss of three men. Powell’s account of this expedition, Exploration of the Colorado River of the West and Its Tributaries, made him a national hero as well as brought the canyon to the attention of the country. The Paiutes called the plateau that the canyon cuts through “Kaibab” or “Mountain Lying Down,” but it was Powell who first consistently used and published the name “Grand Canyon” in the 1870’s.
Kristy's latest book, THE SPARROW, takes place in the Grand Canyon in 1877. Texas Ranger Nathan Blackmore accompanies Emma Hart on a wooden dory down the Colorado River and they soon find themselves immersed in an ancient evil from Hopi folklore.
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