Pueblo Grande Museum Renamed S’edav Va’aki Museum


For over 90 years, the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park has been in continuous operation in Phoenix.

The name of the museum, however, has now changed to better reflect the site’s cultural history and association with the ancestors of the O’odham, the Huhugam.

After many consultation meetings with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Tribal Historic Preservation Office and the Gila River Indian Community Tribal Historic Preservation Office, all parties came to the conclusion that the museum should have a more appropriate name: S’edav Va’aki Museum.

During a Phoenix Parks and Recreation board meeting on March 23, the board voted unanimously to change the name, effective immediately.

In a statement, the City of Phoenix provided a pronunciation guide for the name: S’edav is pronounced “suh-UH-dahf,” and Va’aki is pronounced “VAH-ah-kee.”

“The SRPMIC is pleased that a more appropriate name for the site is now being applied, rather than continue on with a name that was provided by archaeologists who had no cultural connection to this place and provided a name in a language unassociated with it,” said Shane Anton, SRPMIC tribal historic preservation officer. “We want to thank the City of Phoenix for making this change for the benefit of both the O’odham and the city.”

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said that she looks forward to the continued educational impact the museum will have on all Phoenicians.

“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,” said Gallego.

The previous name denotes the site as a “pueblo,” a Spanish word for “village,” but that is not how the O’odham would describe their villages or habitation sites.

The name S’edav Va’aki is the SRPMIC O’odham spelling for “Central Vahki,” which refers to the large platform mound, or Va’aki, that is preserved on the museum site.

Rebranding the museum with an appropriate O’odham name will better serve museum audiences, elevate the museum’s profile and increase interest in the site, according to the museum.

The welcome page at www.pueblogrande.org now says, “Welcome Friends of S’edav Va’aki Museum (Formerly Pueblo Grande).”

The museum will gradually transition signage throughout the museum starting this summer and fall, eventually unveiling its new logo during a reopening event. When Rez Dogs Howl, an exhibition featuring Tohono O’odham member and artist Thomas “Breeze” Marcus, is on display at the museum through May 14.

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