For the past 30 years, residents of the Lehi District of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community have been seeking a permanent facility to respectfully and honorably conduct services for loved ones who have passed on. Until a few years ago, it had always been just a dream.
A committee was formed in 2009 to look in to the possibility of constructing a permanent facility. The project was initially known as the Lehi Cry House Project. Committee members included the Lehi District Council representatives, Lehi and Salt River community members and representatives from the tribal government. After several meetings, the committee selected the name Xalychidom Piipaash Nywaash, or “Towards the Water Peoples House”, as the official name of the planned facility. The name reflected both the traditional and the Christian aspects of honoring loved ones.
On December 9, 2013, a blessing ceremony was held on the site chosen by the committee, which was just north of the Lehi Cemetery grounds. Council representatives Deanna Scabby and Lorna Ray, along with residents from Lehi and Salt River and tribal representatives attended the blessing ceremony. A few months later, after years of hard work and dedication, a groundbreaking ceremony was held in February 2014 for the construction of Xalychidom Piipaash Nywaash.
Council representatives Deanna Scabby and Lorna Ray, Xalychidom Piipaash Nywaash committee members and representatives from Engineering and Construction Services, Public Works and Au Authum Ki met on July 15, 2014 to conduct a walk-through of the site to get a first hands view of the construction progress.
The facility, with a height of almost two stories, consists of two separate buildings, a sanctuary hall and a dining hall. The entire facility will have 13,000-square-feet of floor space. Both the sanctuary and the dining hall will be able to accommodate 300 people separately at one time. The facility will be able to accommodate both traditional and Christian services.
The Public Works Department also contributed to this article, to help bring you the latest updates.
Piipaash Nywaash Construction
• Main structure is complete.
• Interior work such as walls, HVAC and electrical in progress.
• Site work will begin soon on the parking lot and landscaping.
Completion of construction is scheduled for November 2, 2014.