The history of Rainbow Bridge National Monument is both long and complex. The monument has existed since May 30, 1910, when it was designated by President William Howard Taft. Between 1910 and 1916, the General Land Office administered Rainbow Bridge National Monument. With the creation of the National Park Service in 1916, the monument has been part of the evolving national park system. Since 1916, the monument was the subject of numerous legal disputes involving several issues. This history identifies and explains the various historical controversies involving Rainbow Bridge National Monument. In addition, this history delineates the cultural, scientific, and aesthetic aspects of the monument that are also important to its interpretation.
The official life of the monument is only part of the story of Rainbow Bridge. Native American groups throughout the Southwest maintain a historical relationship with Rainbow Bridge that pre-dates the 19th century entrance of non-Native Americans into the region. There is also strong evidence that humans have been present near Rainbow Bridge for more than 8,000 years. The spiritual and religious significance to Native Americans groups such as the Navajo Nation, Hopi, and San Juan Southern Paiute, is detailed in this history.
Last Updated: 07-Feb-2003