A collaboration between National Park Service staff and Tribal colleagues to introduce park visitors to the Indigenous communities who call Grand Canyon home.
The Tribal Medallion, a collaboration between National Park Service staff and Tribal colleagues, was developed with the artistry of Andy Dufford, Chevo Studios, as a way to introduce park visitors to the Indigenous cultures that maintain strong cultural and spiritual ties to the canyon.
The beautiful medallion is carved into the stone walkway that leads to the rim and Mather Point. A large circular shape, the medallion contains the name and symbols that represent each tribe and was designed with input from tribal members. The medallion was embedded as a landmark at the Mather Point area as a part of the 2010 Mather Point and Grand Canyon Visitor Center Improvements project.
The landmark is an interpretive stone and paving feature that serves as a passageway or threshold between the Grand Canyon Visitor Center and the canyon rim. Because the canyon is not visible from the Visitor Center, the landmark provides a memorable location, helpful for pedestrian wayfinding. In addition, it serves as a gathering place and area of discovery where visitors have an opportunity to learn about the 11 tribes traditionally associated with the canyon.
The Mather Point landmark feature, honoring these 11 tribes, is created from native limestone. This feature has a plaza with a meeting area for visitors walking to and from Mather Point. Stone slabs in the construction include etchings inspired by stories with input gathered from the tribes.
A Cultural Landmark
The medallion reminds us of the thousands of years of human connections to Grand Canyon. The central theme of the canyon is seen in the stair steps, in the center. The stars represent the constellations, the water symbols, on the outer ring, remind us of the ongoing importance of rain and water in the desert southwest, and the hand is a reminder of all who have come this way before. The Tribal names are oriented in the general direction of each of their current homelands.