S’edav Va’aki Museum holds Renaming Ceremony
Gila River Indian News
S’edav Va’aki Museum, formerly known as the Pueblo Grande in Phoenix, officially held a ceremony marking the official name change to the museum on Monday, Nov. 6. The renaming reflects the O’otham heritage by using the language, which translates to “Central Ground House”.
GRIC elder and Cultural Advisor Barnaby Lewis, began the ceremony with a prayer and blessing. A class from the Sacaton Middle School were also in attendance as part of a field trip to the museum’s exhibits.
“It feels good to be here andshow the kids what happened today because I feel it’s very important for all the students to learn where they come from and our background,” said Gail Blackwater, District 3, Sacaton Middle School Paraprofessional.
Guest speakers for the event included Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Phoenix Council Rep. for District 8 Kesha Hodge Washington, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community President Martin Harvier, and O’otham artist Thomas “Breeze” Marcus.
Marcus was present to debut and sign a new mural that adorns the entire side of one building on the premise. Although the museum selected Marcus’ design for the final mural, Marcus invited fellow O’otham art finalists Zachary Justin (Gila River Indian Community) and Dwayne Manuel (Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community) to assist him in completing the mural.
“Names tell a story, which is why I was happy to see the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board voted unanimously to change the name,” said Mayor Gallego, “The new name better represents the connection the site and museum has with our local Native American communities in the Salt River Valley - specifically the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Gila River Indian Community.”
Mayor Gallego shared her admiration for the museum and its historical significance in telling how the city of Phoenix came to be, serving as her go-to suggestion to visitors.
The decision to change the name was made during the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board meeting on Mar. 23. The renaming ceremony was also accompanied by the museum’s newest exhibit: “What’s in Our Name”, which reflects the process and timeline it took to officially change the name.
The S’edav Va’aki Museum is open seven days a week, located at 4619 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85034.