Pictured is the Beginning Piipaash Class, the Piipaash Immersion Class, Cultural Resource Director Kelly Washington, O’odham Piipaash Language Program staff, and our Hualapai relatives from the Hualapai Cultural Center.
Piipaash Language Learners Travel to Vii Kwxmii
Submitted by O’odham Piipaash Language Program

On March 25, students in both the Piipaash Immersion Class and the Beginning Piipaash Class traveled to Vii Kwxmii (Tall Mountain), which is geographically known as the highest peak in the Newberry Mountains. Vii Kwxmii, which is also known to the Yuman tribes as Spirit Mountain, stands tall north of Grapevine Canyon. This canyon encompasses many petroglyphs and etchings that are linked to the Yuman tribes’ creation stories, which refer to the beginning of all life; the Yuman tribes include the Mohave, Hualapai, Havasupai, Yavapai, Pai Pai, Quechan and Maricopa.

The 24 students and OPLP staff members who attended were blessed to be welcomed by our Hualapai relatives, who shared a prayer of blessing and shared a portion of the creation story from two elders of the Hualapai Tribe. Also in attendance were Hualapai Cultural Center staff members Marcie Craynon, Drake Havatone and Ivan Bender, who also shared a few songs of the Hualapai people. The students and staff were thankful to receive this welcome and blessing. The OPLP would like to thank the Hualapai people and students for making this trip possible.

The students learned the importance of our oral tradition. The creation story tells of our beginnings and shares with us core values that should remain part of our modern-day lives.

The OPLP believes that in order for language learners to gain success, it is important for them to have a solid foundation of their cultural history and identity, from their point of origin, so that it may continue to inspire every student on their language-learning journey.

Through our commitment to advocate for both the languages, we welcome those who want to learn the O’odham or Piipaash languages to attend classes and other OPLP-sponsored events.

Please watch for upcoming classes this summer. We look forward to seeing more people interested in learning the O’odham and Piipaash languages.

If you, a family member or anyone you know is interested in any upcoming classes, please contact the SRPMIC Cultural Resources Department at (480) 362-6325 or visit our website at

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