Walking the Plank Over the Grand Canyon

| Thu Mar. 8, 2007 4:42 PM PST

grand_canyon.jpgLike most lefties, I believe in protecting/respecting the environment and giving Native Americans a leg-up in exchange for the genocide we graciously offered them in the past. But what to make of it when Native Americans try to pull themselves from poverty by destroying the few precious lands they have left?

That is the question this article in the Washington Post asks about the Hualapi Indians' new "skywalk" over the Grand Canyon. The article does a good job probing the issue, but let me just point to a few of the things that made me want to laugh and cry and roll my eyes and throw up and have my eyes pop out all at once.

The skywalk is an attempt to draw tourism to the pristine Hualapi lands, where only a fraction of the Grand Canyon's 4.4 million-plus annual visitors stop. The skywalk is a 30,000-square-foot glass projection over the canyon itself. The tribe's attempt at a casino failed because most visitors to Grand Canyon West come from Las Vegas. The tribe was then approached by a man who leads tours from Las Vegas, who wanted to find a quieter way for tourists to view the canyon than from a helicopter, and wanted to increase their angle of vision from 180 degrees in an aircraft "to 720 degrees in a skywalk." More! Better! Even the Grand Canyon from a helicopter is not enough! I wonder how much better a view the skywalk actually offers.

The 84-year-old tribal elder who led the ceremony celebrating the skywalk's completion said: "Like the car and buses. The white man made it, and it came out strong. We've got to give it a chance."

Get Mother Jones by Email - Free. Like what you're reading? Get the best of MoJo three times a week.