Pueblo Grande Museum Changing Name to “S’edav Va’aki Museum”
During a Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board Meeting on Thursday, March 23, 2023, the board voted unanimously to change the name of Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park to “S’edav Va’aki Museum.”
The name S’edav Va’aki (Salt River Pima – Maricopa Indian Community spelling) or Central Vahki (English spelling) is an O’Odham name that reflects the connection the site has with the local O’Odham and Piipaash communities. S’edav Va’aki refers to the large platform mound (Va’aki) that is preserved at the site, and the central location of this ancestral village within the Salt River Valley and to the extensive canal system created by these exceptional engineers before Euro-Americans moved into the region.
The Parks and Recreation Board also approved the use of the marketing tagline, “Gateway to Phoenix Heritage.”
“Renaming the Pueblo Grande Museum to the S’edav Va’aki Museum could not come at a better time as our city celebrates Phoenix History Month. The name change reflects our commitment to honoring the Indigenous people who helped build our community thousands of years ago. I look forward to the continued educational impact this museum will have on all Phoenicians,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.
“S’edav Va’aki Museum will continue to be an amazing resource for Phoenix history,” District 8 Councilmember Carlos Garcia said. “We must ensure that our local institutions are reflecting the diversity of our area and taking steps to recognize and celebrate all cultures.”
“This is an important step for our City,” said Kelly Dalton, Chair of the Parks and Recreation Board. “This new name reflects our commitment to honoring those who have shaped our culture and history.”
“Words and titles matter. This name change will help to have a greater and more direct impact on how this significant ancestral site is interpreted,” said Shane Anton, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Tribal Historic Preservation Officer.
The previous name, Pueblo Grande, is defined in the Spanish language and denotes the site as a “pueblo,” which is not how the O’Odham would describe their villages or habitation sites.
The museum exists to preserve and help interpret the site and the ancestral occupation and to bring attention to living indigenous communities. Located on a site with one of the few remaining platform mounds (Va’aki) differentiates the museum from other museums in Phoenix. Rebranding the museum with an appropriate O’Odham name will better serve museum audiences. This change will elevate the museum’s profile and increase interest in the site.
Throughout summer and fall, the museum will gradually begin transitioning signage throughout the museum and on the website.
In fall of 2023, the new S’edav Va’aki Museum will unveil its new logo during a “reopening” event.
The Parks and Recreation Department acknowledges the City of Phoenix is located within Native Land. Read the department’s commitment to respecting Ancestral Indigenous Communities in our Land Acknowledgement Statement on phoenix.gov/parks.