Phoenix Pueblo Grande Museum renamed S’edav Va’aki Museum

By Matthew Casey
Published: Friday, March 24, 2023 - 3:58pm
Updated: Saturday, March 25, 2023 - 8:33am

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Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park
City of Phoenix
The entry to the S'edav Va'aki Museum, formerly called Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park, in Phoenix in 2016.

Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park, a city-owned museum marking where Hohokam people settled, ran their irrigation system, and lived for more than a thousand years, has been renamed in Native language.

The new name of the museum near 44th and Washington streets, S’edav Va’aki, is O’odham.

Phoenix officials say the words refer to the large platform mound nearby, the central location of the ancestral village within the Salt River Valley and the extensive canal system built by Hohokam people.

S’edav Va’aki also once had a key gate for controlling water flow to other settlements downstream.

Phoenix Parks and Recreation officials now plan to market the repository as the “gateway to Phoenix heritage.” The change was announced Friday, following a Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board vote on Thursday.

“Renaming the Pueblo Grande Museum to the S’edav Va’aki Museum could not come at a better time as our city celebrates Phoenix History Month. The name change reflects our commitment to honoring the Indigenous people who helped build our community thousands of years ago. I look forward to the continued educational impact this museum will have on all Phoenicians,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego in a statement.

City officials say the museum’s old name had Spanish words, which do not accurately interpret how O’odham people describe their villages.

“Words and titles matter. This name change will help to have a greater and more direct impact on how this significant ancestral site is interpreted,” said Shane Anton, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community tribal historic preservation officer, said in a statement.

Signage transition is scheduled to start this summer and a reopening is planned for the fall.