11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Kw'st'an Sacred Sites at Indian Pass

Year Listed: 2002
Location: California
Threat: Development

Indian Pass at Indian Pass, California. Kw'st'an Sacred Sites at Indian Pass was on the 2002 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

Credit: Quechan Indian Tribe


For thousands of years, Native Americans from the Quechan Tribe have come on spiritual pilgrimages to a sacred place near the lower Colorado River in Imperial County, California. In religious ceremonies known as Keruk, the Quechan cremate their dead and assist in bringing them to the next world. Among the artifacts left behind are pottery shards, petroglyphs and ancient rock sculptures lying untouched in the sand. A land of serene beauty, the isolated and rocky section of desert known as Indian Pass is an integral part of the Quechan cultural tradition.