Nonprofits offer Native youth a Colorado River trip through Grand Canyon

By Ron Dungan
Published: Thursday, April 27, 2023 - 10:24am

Although the Grand Canyon was once home to a number of Arizona tribes, many Native Americans grow up without getting to experience it.

But a couple of nonprofits are trying to change that.

The Grand Canyon Trust wants to help young tribal members with ties to the region experience their homeland on a nine-day trip down the Colorado River.

To qualify, they must be 16 to 20 years old and apply for one of the 18 spots.

Those who are selected will learn about regional plants, ecology and stories, as well as environmental justice.

"I think of it as a returning home opportunity for them to understand that you know we’re making the space for them to learn from each other, to teach each other, and just kind of be in this sacred space that their ancestors have come from," said
Amber Benally of the Grand Canyon Trust.

The trip, which is in collaboration with the nonprofit Grand Canyon Youth, will take place in July and is free of charge.

Amber Benally
(From left), River Trip participants Shaileen Gonzalez (Hualapai), Phoebe John (Diné), Samuel Toledo (Diné), Autumn Gillard (Cedar Band of Paiutes) and Sequoyah Wakayuta (Hualapai and Hopi) converse during a stop at Stone Creek on the Colorado River.

Environment Native American Affairs