Keams Canyon, Arizona

Encyclopedia Article


Keams Canyon is a small community of about 300 people in a census designated area within the Hopi Reservation in Navajo County, Arizona. The name designates both the community as well as a nearby canyon, which features a channel that flows from Balakai Mesa to Polacca Wash. The location is named after the Keams brothers, who operated a trading post in the area in the late 1800s. It is called Lók'a'deeshjin in the Navajo language, which means "reeds extend in a black line." The Hopi call it Pongsikvi, which translates to "government community."

In the Dark Wind, Hillerman refers to this location as “Keans Canyon” and places the Joint Use Administration Office in the area, although it is actually located in Flagstaff, Arizona. However, the Hopi Indian Agency is located in Keams Canyon.

Photo Credit: 

"Keams Canyon, as seen from the Arizona SR 264, looking east, 2006" by Reinhard Schön (original photograph) and Andreas F. Borchert (postprocessing) is licensed under CC BY-SA.