In June 2009, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Building and Planning Committee and Public Works staff visited three cry houses (a cry house is like a memorial hall, a building where funerals, memorial services and wakes are held) in the Yuma area. During the months following their visit to Yuma, the committee held six meetings at the Lehi Community Building discussing the idea for a cry house in Lehi. They decided on the preliminary site plan, floor design, finish materials and exterior design.
In April 2010, the Building and Planning Committee met to endorse moving the cry house location to the northwest corner of the Lehi Cemetery. In 2012, additional funding was approved for design fees.
The conceptual design is a 13,600-square-foot facility composed of two separate buildings: the cry house building, which measures 5,500 square feet, and an adjacent dining hall, which will be 8,100 square feet. Both include traditional design elements, such as the main doors facing east. The buildings will hold 300 people and have 110 parking spaces, a commercial kitchen and a surrounding patio area.
“This idea started about 30 years ago, when I was a kid. The old Lehi building that was here before the one current one was originally to be a cry house, which is like a memorial hall, solely for funerals and wakes,” said Community member and Building and Planning Committee member Ron Carlos. “A cry house is meant for traditional ways; it’s not meant for Christian services or church services. If [a family wants] a church service, that is usually done at the church and then they come to the cry house [afterward]. This building that is being planned now is really going to be a memorial hall that is similar to a cry house.”
The Community and the Building and Planning Committee are still having meetings and have yet to finalize the plans. The SRPMIC Tribal Council has included the building’s cost in the FY 2012 budget; the project will be paid for with Capital Improvement Project funds. Plans are to begin the project in September and complete construction in December.
For more information on the Lehi Cry House Project, contact Daniel Angulo, project manager with Engineering and Construction Services, at (480) 362-7746.
Building and Planning Committee Members
Ronald “Ronnie” Mack, Sr.
Leota Standing Elk
Edmund “Eddie” Vest