Native Americans and hot springs

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Native Americans have a long relationship with hot springs.

There is evidence that many of the major hot springs in the Americas were visited and used by local native peoples. There are artifacts near some of these hot springs that support a history of human activity that extends back thousands of years. Native Americans revered hot springs as a sacred healing place.[1]

The natural hot springs in Tonopah, Arizona are a prime example. The name "Tonopah" derives from the Western Apache name Tú Nohwá, meaning "Water For Us" or "Water For You". Though there are no ruins or evidence of dwellings in the immediate vicinity of the hot springs, the prevalence of grain-grinding mortar holes, pottery shards, and other man-made objects in the area suggest that this site was frequented for many years by native peoples such as the Hohokam. The hundreds of very high quality arrowheads found near existing springs in Tonopah attest to its popularity as a hunting ground.

Native Americans always used these natural shrines. If opposing tribes, even those at war, arrived at the same spring, all conflict ceased because they believed they were walking on sacred ground.[2]


Further reading and External Links[edit]

  • Marjorie Gersh-Young, Hot Springs and Hot Pools of the Southwest: Jayson Loam's Original Guide, Aqua Thermal Access, 2004. ISBN 1-890880-05-1.
  • Marjorie Gersh-Young, Hot Springs & Hot Pools Of The Northwest, Aqua Thermal Access, 2003. ISBN 1-890880-04-3.
  • G. J Woodsworth, Hot springs of Western Canada: a complete guide, West Vancouver: Gordon Soules Book Publishers. 1999. ISBN 0-919574-03-3.
  • Clay Thompson, "Tonopah: It's Water Under The Bush", the Arizona Republic 1-12-03, p. B12.