Tribe makes petroglyph preservation a priority

KINGMAN ­ The Mohave County Board of Supervisors granted the Hualapai tribe 30 more days to negotiate over 54 acres of land that contain Indian petroglyphs important to the history of the tribe.

Jack Ehrhardt spoke for the tribe concerning the historical significance of the land, requesting the 30 days so that they could negotiate with owner Patrick McBrayer, the president of McBrayer Mortgage Services, Inc.

Ehrhardt said the tribe has been working with the Bureau of Land Management for the last six months to attempt to land-swap the 54 acres so it could be set up as a conservation area. The Hualapai tribal council was asking for a postponement due to the trouble they have had in working with the BLM to secure a land trade. They needed the extra month to work out the details so that developers would not damage the land.

"The petroglyphs are 600-year-old ancient Indian writings in symbols and pictures," Ehrhardt said.

"There are other sites in this area, but this is the largest petroglyph site for the Hualapai tribe."

The Hualapai tribes started negotiations with McBrayer right after they left the meeting and already have preliminary offers to take back to the tribal council for consideration.

McBrayer has the land in question on the market, and he wants it to be rezoned for residential use.

Wednesday's action means the supervisors won't act on the rezoning request until August at the earliest.

The Hualapai have always known of the petroglyphs in this area but have never seen the need to set up specific conservation guidelines until the development started to move east from Kingman into the Hualapai Valley. According to council chairman Charles Vaughn, their main interest in the land is to protect it from the vandalism that has been so common in other areas where Indian petroglyphs are present.

"People have chipped away at the rock, taking pieces home as tokens to put around fireplaces or for memory's sake," Vaughn said. They did not want to see the same thing happen to this area.

Vaughn said if they can acquire the land, self-guided tours with walking paths and maps might be offered.

Vaughn said that the tribal council would be meeting within the week to discuss the offer that came out of Wednesday's meeting.