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Q&AZ: What does Ahwatukee mean?

Through KJZZ's Q&AZ reporting project, a listener asked: What does Ahwatukee mean?

The area known as the Ahwatukee Foothills is a Phoenix village that stretches from South Mountain Park to Pecos Road and from Interstate 10 to around 35th Avenue. 

It’s been said that the word Ahwatukee is a Crow Indian word meaning “House of your dreams.” But Arizona State Historian Marshall Trimble said that’s not exactly true.

He said a wealthy winter visitor from Chicago, Dr. W.V.B. Ames, built a Spanish-Hopi style ranch in 1921 and called it “Casa de Sueños,” which means “House of Dreams” in Spanish.

In 1935, another visitor, Helen Briton, bought the property and re-named it Ahwatukee.

A Crow Indian minister of culture says that word doesn’t exist in the Crow language. The closest thing is awe chuuke — pronounced AH-wa CHOOga — which can be translated to “land on the other side of the hill,” or “land in the next valley.”

"Perhaps Helen Briton, who lived near the Crow Reservation saw awe chuuke and Anglicized them to Ahwatukee or, she knew the real meaning and other people misinterpreted it," Trimble said. 

Senior field correspondent Bridget Dowd has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.