August 11 — Seeing this National Monument on our map, we decided to take a slight detour on our way to Grand Canyon NP and stop in for a visit. In this place we were reminded of one of the uglier and more tragic periods in the history of the United States – the running out and killing off of our country’s Native Americans.
For hundreds of years, Kaibab Paiutes lived, hunted and farmed on this land in southern Arizona, finding the three springs here an oasis in this otherwise dry desert environment. In the 1860s, Mormon pioneers saw the value of the natural springs and settled here. Over time they set up a large cattle-ranching operation which affected the Kaibab Paiute way of life, and built a large fortress-like dwelling place called Windsor Castle which was used as a place of refuge from “hostile Indians.”
A Kaibab Paiute Indian Reservation was established in 1907 and in 1923 the US government acquired the property and set it aside as a national monument. Today visitors can watch a video in the Visitor Center, see indoor and outdoor exhibits, and learn about the heritage of the local people and cultures.
History will likely remain divided on how this location is viewed today, but the life-giving water found at Pipe Spring has always been at the heart of this desert place.