THE HISTORY OF SEDONA
Sedona was first populated around the year 8000 BC by a group called the Elephant Hunters. These prehistoric men came from a land bridge that connected at that time North America and Asia. The original Sedona was not the dry desert air of today, but tropical and moist. As the air changed to the drier environment of today as the larger prehistoric mammals started to die off, the Elephant Hunters had to start hunting smaller animals and became early farmers.
Around 700 AD, the Hohokam tribe moved into the area and introduced the new form of farming by using irrigation. The tribe was able to produce corn, beans and squash. A little later another group moved in to the Sedona area, and were called the Sinaguan tribe, meaning “without water.” They did not use irrigation in their farming and used rainfall as the sole source of water for their crops. They left the area temporarily in 1064 AD due to a large volcanic eruption that later became known as the “Sunset Crater.” The volcanic ash made the earth extremely rich, bringing back not only the Singuan tribe but the Anasazi as well. In addition, the Anasazis were also known as the “ancient ones.” These Ancient Ones were extremely sophisticated and knew how to construct and build multi-level dwellings and they instructed the Singuans to build them too. These “pueblos” standing today are extremely impressive with the entrances to each living area purposefully constructed with low doorframes, which protected the families dwelling within. They were constructed this way so any one walking in had to bend down and any intruder could be easily clubbed. In addition they helped to maintaining temperature control. Then the strangest thing of all happened around 1300! At of nowhere, with cobs of corn roasting on the fire, the people of this area disappeared. It is still a great mystery today!
The promise of gold and silver brought the white man to the area of Sedona around 1583 and in the 1800’s more pioneers, prospectors and trappers began to arrive and co-exist with the Yavapai and Apache Indians. The years went by and more people arrived in the area the more the tensions grew between the Indians and the White men. Indian attacks accelerated, so the Army began sending troops in to subdue the attacks. In 1872 General George Crook ended the hostilities and the land that was promised to the Indians, was taken and they were driven from the area in the infamous “march of Tears,” to the San Carlos Reservations. Hundreds of Indians died during this journey. After this people started to settle on a more constant basis in the Sedona area.
Ancient Rock art is the beginning of the long history of Art in Sedona. They can be viewed in the many Indian ruins where petroglyphs and pictographs are etched into the red rock. From this beginning, Sedona is now the home of 47 art galleries, where over 400 world-renowned and local artists live and work side by side. There are also many authors, actors and others of creative spirits living in the area and this red rock area continues to attract artistic talent to the area every day. This area is also the home of the Sedona Gallery Association that enhances and maintains Sedona’s reputation as a prestigious center for the arts and to promote Sedona as an area to enjoy and purchase fine art.