Arizona’s Indian history began long ago, with the Hohokam, Anasazi and the Sinagua people. These cultures can be traced back hundreds and hundreds of years. Some of these tribes simply disappeared and others have evolved into the Indian Tribes we see today.
Since that long ago beginning, the Indian community has been through its share of difficult times. When settlers and miners first arrived in Arizona, many of the Indians did not approve of their infringement on the land. Wars and raiding broke out across the region. After years of battle, the Indians were forced onto Indian Reservations.
In 1859, Congress established the first Indian Land in Arizona and named it the Gila River Indian Land. Between 1859 and 1934, Indians were mistreated and their land was taken away from them and then portions returned. Finally in 1934, Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act. This Act did several things for the Indian culture. First of all, it ended the allotment of land, gave Indians the right and limited means to hire counsel and banned compulsory religion. It also promoted traditional Indian handicrafts and encouraged tribes to set up governments and form corporate business charters. However, it wasn’t until 1948 that the Indians were allowed to vote, provided the individual knew English.
Arizonan.com has consciously used the word “Indian Lands” in place of the word “Reservation.” It is a small gesture showing honor and respect to these Indian tribes. The term honors the tribe’s ownership in their culture and land.
Today Arizona has 27% of its land devoted to Indian Lands, totaling 20,000,000 acres. Arizona has more Indian Land than any other state. Currently, there are about 252,000 Indians representing 17 tribes living on 20 Indian Lands spread out across Arizona.
The following information will give you a quick look at all 20 Indian Lands and the people that live on them. If you would like more in depth information on a particular Indian Tribe, click on the name of the Indian Tribe.
The Ak-Chin Indian Lands is located along the Santa Cruz River Valley in Pinal County. It is 30 miles south of Phoenix. The Ak- Chin people live on 21,840 acres and the tribe has 575 members. The land is home for the Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino.
The Cocopah Indian Lands is 13 miles south of Yuma and 15 miles north the San Luis, Mexico in Yuma County. The tribe lives on 6.009 acres and has 774 members. The Cocopah people have many businesses. They have opened a convenience store, smoke shop, bingo hall, recreational vehicle park, Cocopah Casino and gas station.
The Colorado River Indian Lands has land in both Arizona and California. The tribe holds 225,995 acres in La Paz County, Arizona. The Mohave Indians have lived here for centuries, however the Chemehuevi, Hopi and Navajo Indians were relocated here back in history. Currently, there is a population of 3,1000. The Mohave Indians are known for their handicrafts and the Chemehuevi for their powwows.
The Fort Apache Indian Lands is in the White Mountains of Arizona. The land covers part of Apache, Gila and Navajo Counties. It is 150 miles from Phoenix. The Apaches live on 1,664,984 acres and have 10,000 members. The land has been turned into a recreational spot. The tribe has Sunrise Ski Resort and the Salt River Canyon for attractions and recreation.
Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache Indian Lands is along the banks of the Verde River in Maricopa County. It is 15 miles from Phoenix. The Indian Lands contain 24,680 acres and has 849 members. The tribe hosts recreational activities by the Verde River and the Fort McDowell Gaming Center is situated close to Fountain Hills.
Fort Mojave Indian Lands lies in California, Nevada and Arizona. The land is in Mohave County with 12 miles of the Colorado River running through it. It has 22,820 acres and 1,000 members. Farming cotton and alfalfa is important to the tribe, along with the Spirit Mountain Casino and recreation areas near the Colorado River.
Fort Yuma-Quechan Indian Lands is just north of Yuma. The Indian Land has 43,589 acres and 2,419 members. The tribe opened Paradise Casino and has recreational spots by the Colorado River.
The Gila River Indian Lands is in Central Arizona, south of Phoenix. It is within Maricopa and Pinal Counties. The land includes 372,000 acres. The Indian Lands include both Pima and Maricopa Indians, totaling 11,550 members. It is home to Lone-Butte Industrial Park, Firebird Lake Water Sports World, Gila River Arts and Crafts Center and the Gila River Casino.
Havasupai Indian Lands is located at the bottom of Havasu Canyon in the Grand Canyon. It is in both Coconino and Navajo Counties. The land includes 188,077 acres and 601 members. Tourism is improving the tribe’s living standards, although it is difficult. This is due, in part, to the fact that there are few ways into and out of the community. Travel can only be done by foot, horse or helicopter.
The Hopi Indian Lands is in Northern Arizona. It is in both the Coconino and Navajo Counties. The tribe’s land measures 1,561,213 acres and includes 8,114 members. The tribe is known for their handicrafts, such as Kachinas and pottery. The Hopi’s also publicize some of their ceremonial dances.
The Hualapai Indian Lands is near the Grand Canyon. The Hualapai are in Coconino and Mohave Counties. The Indian Lands covers 992,463 acres and includes 1,400 members. The tribe offers the Hualapai Arts and Crafts Center, Hualapai Tribal River Runners and recreational areas.
The Kaibab-Paiute Indian Lands is in Northern Arizona, near the Utah border. The Indian Lands is in Mohave County. The tribe’s land contains 120,827 acres and has 200 members. They have a visitor center and a gift shop near the Pipe Spring National Monument.
Navajo Indian Lands is in Northern Arizona, near the state of New Mexico. A portion of the reservation lies in Apache, Coconino and Navajo Counties. It is the largest Indian Land in the United States. The tribe encompasses 4,775,068 acres and has 175,000 members. Many of the Navajo people live on farms. The Indian Lands includes Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Monument Valley, Four Corners and the Navajo National Monument.
The Pascua Yacqui Indian Land is south of Tucson and is the newest Indian Land in Arizona. It is in Pima County. The tribe includes 895 acres and has 8,000 members. The Yacqui Indian Land is home to the Casino of the Sun.
The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Lands is minutes from Phoenix. It is in Maricopa County. The tribe includes 55,801 acres and has 5,527 members. The members are a combination of the Pima and Maricopa Indian tribes. Both of these Indian communities live on the Indian Lands. The land hosts recreation along the Salt River, a waste disposal operation, a sand and gravel plant and the Pavilions shopping center.
San Carlos Apache Indian Land is in Eastern Arizona. The Indian Land is in Gila and Graham Counties. The tribe’s land encompasses 1,826,541 acres and has 10,000 members. The San Carlos people raise cattle, mine gemstones and provide recreational spots in the area.
San Juan Southern Paiute Indians are a special tribe. This tribe has no acreage, but has 209 members. Most of these members live in Coconino County. The people are called Paiute-Navajo Indians.
The Tohono O’odham Indian Lands is in Southern Arizona. The Indian Lands lies in Maricopa, Pinal and Pima Counties. The tribe is separated into four Indian lands: the Tohono O’odham Reservation with 2,773,050 acres, Gila Bend Reservation with 10,000 acres, San Xavier Reservation with 71,000 acres and Florence Village with 200 acres. The tribe numbers 18,061. The tribe was once called the Papago, until 1986 when the name was changed to Tohono O’odham. The Indian Lands hold the Desert Diamond Casino, the National Historic Landmark of Mission San Xavier del Bac, farming and mining.
The Tonto-Apache Indian Lands is in Northern Arizona, near Payson. The tribe is in Gila County. The Indian Land includes 85 acres and 103 members. The Yavapai and Apache Indians live on this land. The land hosts the Mazatzal Casino and recreational spots.
Yavapai-Apache (Camp Verde) Indian Lands is also in Northern Arizona. The Indian Lands covers only 653 acres with 1,200 members. The Yavapai and Apaches live on the Indian Lands together. The tribe has the Cliff Castle Casino, two National Monuments (Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot), along with the Yavapai-Apache Visitor Activity Center.
Yavapai-Prescott Indian Lands is still another Northern Arizona Indian Lands. This tribal land adjoins the town of Prescott. The tribe holds 1,400 acres and 139 members. The Yavapai operate Bucky’s Casino and are developing their handicrafts.
The Ak-Chin Indian Lands lie along the Santa Cruz River Valley in Pinal County. State Route 347 runs through the Indian Land, just 30 miles south of Phoenix. It sits at an elevation of 1,186 feet. Today, the tribe has 575 members consisting of both the Tohono O’odham and the Pima Indians.
President Taft established 47,600 acres of Indian Land by Executive Order in May 1912. Although in September of that same year, he signed another Executive Order reducing the size of the land to 22,000 acres.
There was a disagreement over water between the Department of Interior and the Ak-Chin tribe. The argument lasted many years. Finally, in 1984 Congress passed “The Ak-Chin Water Settlement Act.” This act allowed the community to meet their goal of becoming 100% self sufficient by operating their agricultural plans at full potential. When operating at their optimum, 16,000 acres can be cultivated.
The Ak-Chin Indians are known for their basketry.
The first Eco Museum was created on the Ak-Chin Indian Lands. An Eco Museum is different from a traditional museum, in that there is no building to house the artifacts. The museum becomes the surrounding land and territory and the artifacts are the items owned by the tribe’s members, who are also the caretakers and curators of the museum. It is unique concept that the Ak-Chin tribe has adopted to share and preserve their culture.
The land is home for the Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino.
Ak-Chin Him-Dak Museum Celebration April
St. Francis Church Feast October
Chinle is in Eastern Arizona . It is in Apache County. The town is located at the junction of U.S. Highway 191 and Indian State Secondary Road 64. It is the geographical center of the Navajo Indian Reservation.
Chinle had its first trading post in 1882. The town sits at an elevation of 5,058 feet. The climate is mild with a winter low Temperature of 29 degrees and a summer high Temperature of 100 degrees. The town is the entrance into the Canyon de Chelly National Monument. The monument is a spectacular sandstone canyon filled with ancient ruins.
One terrific attraction you must visit is Hubbell’s Trading Post, which lies in the town of Ganado, 30 miles to the south. It is the longest continually active trading post on the Navajo Indian Reservation and has been designated a National Historic Site. John Lorenzo Hubbell began trading at this site in 1878 and built this post in 1883. He was a man, who treated the Native American Indians fairly.
During a time when the Navajos were adjusting to a new home way of life on a reservation, Hubbell extended his hand by providing a place to socialize and do business. Visitors will find many kinds of Indian crafts, such as Navajo silver jewelry, sand paintings and pottery. You definitely don’t want to miss the rug room. Here you will be amazed at the numerous rugs for sale. The Hubbell House is open to guided tours. The new home has many original furnishings.
An outdoor activity located just to the east of town is Canyon de Chelly National Monument. The monument is pronounced “d-shay.” The name Canyon de Chelly came from the Navajo word “tsegi” meaning “rock canyon.” The monument is a geological wonder and a historic site. There are two great gorges that cut deep into the sandstone plateau creating canyons. The 26-mile Canyon de Chelly joins the 25-mile Canyon del Muerto, which make a dazzling sight.
The visitor center has exhibits explaining the Anasazi culture that once lived in the canyon. There are many ancient ruins that are in hiking distance. The White House, Antelope House and Mummy Cave are just a few cliff dwellings inside the canyons walls. It is important that a ranger is your guide into the canyon. Visitors may rather take a drive along the north, west and south rims, which give wonderful views. The monument also has a campground available.
Chinle is located next to Canyon de Chelly. The canyon’s name is pronounced “d-shay.” Artifacts found in the prehistoric cliff dwellings reveal that the canyon was a community as far back as 2000 B.C.
The Archaic, Basket makers and Anasazi all occupied the canyon, until they disappeared in 1350 A.D. Then in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Hopis used the canyon. Finally in the 17th century, the Navajos arrived. The Navajos continue to live in the canyon today. They grow corn, peaches and herd livestock.
The canyon was a Navajo stronghold, during Kit Carson’s Navajo Campaign. In 1864, Colonel Kit Carson was ordered to begin war. His mission was to exterminate all Navajos. However, after a long battle Carson decided to starve the Navajos into submission. Carson kept watch on Canyon de Chelly and finally 8,000 Navajos surrendered. They were taken to Pecos River Reservation in new home Mexican. The Navajos were a part of the “long walk” to new home Mexican.
It wasn’t until 1868, when the United States signed a treaty with the Navajos. The treaty officially designated reservation land for the Indians. This was the only Arizona Indian Reservation that came about because of a treaty; all the others were in the form of acts of Congress or Presidential Orders.
It was at this time that Chile became a trading center and began to grow. In 1882, the first trading post was established in a tent. Then in 1904, the first mission was built and in 1910 the first government school was created.
Chinle, near the geographic center of the Navajo Indian Reservation in northeastern Arizona, is at the entrance to Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Chinle became a center for population growth and trade after 1868 when the United States signed a treaty with the Navajos. The first trading post was established in 1882, the first mission in 1904, and the first government school in 1910.
Canyon de Chelly, a geological and historical wonder, is Chinle’s greatest scenic attraction. The Canyon was a Navajo stronghold during Colonel Kit Carson’s Navajo Campaign and was designated a National Monument in 1931. Evidence of Indian habitation as early as 2000 B.C. is found in artifacts and prehistoric cliff dwellings. As the angle of the sun changes, the colors in the rock formations change from brilliant red-browns to orange, pink, and even purple.
Thirty miles south of Chinle lies Ganado, site of Arizona’s most famous Indian trading post, Hubbell’s. In operation for nearly a century, it has been designated a National Historic Site. At Hubbell’s and other trading posts on the reservation, the famed handcrafted Navajo silver jewelry and hand-woven woolen rugs may be purchased.
Trout, bass, and catfish fishing is excellent at nearby lakes. Other area attractions include Window Rock, headquarters of the Navajo Tribe; the Painted Desert; Petrified Forest National Monument; Monument Valley; and the Hopi Indian Reservation.
The Cocopah Indian Land is 13 miles south of Yuma and 15 miles north the San Luis, Mexico in Yuma County. It is at an elevation of 103 feet. Today, the tribe has 750 members.
President Woodrow Wilson established the Cocopah Indian Lands in 1917 through an Executive Order. The land created two sections, the West and East Cocopah Indian Lands covering 1,772 acres. In 1985, President Reagan signed the Cocopah Land Acquisition Bill. This bill increased the size of the Indian Land by almost 6,000 acres, including 600 acres for the North Cocopah Indian Lands.
In 1987, a convenience store, gas station, smoke shop and bingo hall were developed. These establishments were built to help the tribe become self-sufficient. Soon afterward, a casino and the Cocopah Bend Recreational Vehicle Resort were constructed.
Today, the Indian Lands are divided up into three separate areas, East Cocopah Indian Lands, West Cocopah Indian Lands and North Cocopah Indian Lands. The tribal headquarters is in Somerton.
The Cocopah are known for their beadwork.
An 1800’s Cocopah Indian Village can be seen after taking a train excursion from Yuma to Cocopah West Indian Lands. Yuma Valley Live Steamers work with the tribe in creating this train line. The village welcomes visitors with jewelry sales and Indian fry bread.
Cocopah Land Acquisition Day April
Colorado River Indian Lands
The Colorado River Indian Lands cover 225,995 acres in Arizona and 42,696 acres in California. Ninety miles of Colorado River shoreline runs north and south through the Indian Lands and includes the town of Parker. Currently, there is a population of 3,1000. The Chemehuevi, Mohave, Hopi and Navajo are included in the population and all share the land.
The Mohave Indians have lived along the Colorado River for centuries. They farmed the river bottoms and harvested plants in the surrounding area. In the summer, their homes were made of branches and during the winter they built pit style homes partially underground.
On the other hand, the Chemehuevi roamed the length of the Colorado River. They did not settle down. The Chemehuevi were hunters and gathers.
Both the Mohave and Chemehuevi Indians have fought each throughout history and were considered the “river people.” The Hopi and the Navajo originally came from Northern Arizona, but later moved down to this area along the river.
Charles Debrille Poston was the first Indian Superintendent for Arizona. In 1864, he chose the site for Arizona’s second Indian Land. The Colorado River Indian Land was established in March 1865 covering 225,995 acres in La Paz County, Arizona.
Today, all four Indian tribes share the land.
The Mohave Indians are known for their handicrafts, such as pottery, necklaces, belts, dolls, cradleboards and rattles. The Chemehuevi are known for their baskets and powwows.
The Colorado River Indian Tribal Museum and Library is located near the town of Parker. The museum’s mission is to preserve and show the four tribal Indian heritages living on the Colorado River Indian Land. There is a gift shop offering the handicrafts.
The land is home to the Blue Water Casino.
Indian Day Celebration September
All Indian Rodeo December
The Fort Apache Indian Land is in the White Mountains. It is 75 miles long, 45 miles wide and includes parts of Apache, Gila and Navajo Counties. The Tonto National forest, the Sitgreaves National Forest and the Apache National Forest form the Indian Lands western, northern and eastern boundaries. The land ranges from an elevation of 2,700 feet at the Salt River Canyon to 11,000 feet at Mount Baldy. The Apaches live on close to 1.5 million acres. Currently, the White Mountain Apache Indian tribe has 11,000 members.
The first fort built in this area was called Camp Ord. Later, the name was changed to Camp Thomas, in honor of the Civil War General George W. Thomas. Then, in 1870 the name was changed one last time to Fort Apache. The name was chosen after a visit from the Apache Indian chieftain, Cochise.
The Indian Land was established in 1897 and was named after the fort. When the White Mountain Apaches first began to live here, their number was only 2,000. Prior to the placement of the tribe on the Indian Land, the Apaches had been the most independent and determined Indian tribe in Arizona. The Apaches call themselves, “DiNeh” meaning “The People.”
The fort was manned up until 1924, when the fort was turned into a school for Indian children. During the 1950’s, the White Mountain Apaches decided to make themselves self-sufficient and improve their standard of living. In order to do this, the tribe designed a plan to make their Indian Land the largest privately owned recreational area in the United States. This was accomplished by building a number of dams to create lakes and constructing access roads and campgrounds. Throughout the process, the tribe did not lose sight of maintaining nature’s natural beauty by treating the land with respect.
Today, the Fort Apache Indian Land is a recreation enthusiast and vacationer’s destination spot. Whiteriver is the center of the Indian Land and the seat of tribal government.
Fort Apache Indians are known for their burden baskets and beadwork.
The land has been turned into an outstanding recreational area. The tribe is proud of its Sunrise Ski Resort with its excellent varying ability levels of trails covering three mountains. There are six chair lifts and several lodges located nearby.
Hawley Lake is one of 25 lakes available for fishing. There are also 420 miles of streams that are stocked regularly. This makes them a fisherman’s paradise. With more than 7000 campsites, vacationer’s can always find a spot to spend the night.
The Salt River’s waters originate where the White and Black Rivers join on Fort Apache Indian Land. The Salt River offers water fun for kayakers and canoers or if white water rafting is more your speed tours are available. The river forms the Salt River Canyon, which is a spectacular sight. There are several lookout points along U.S. 60, north of Globe, which allow visitors a glimpse of this beautiful canyon.
Kinishba Ruins are a few miles southwest of Whiteriver. The ruins are of a large Indian apartment complex. It is believed that Kinishba or “The Brown House” was developed sometime around 700 A.D. and the community reached its peak around 1200 A.D. Today, the ruins are a national historic landmark.
Fort Apache National Historic Park is world famous. The fort was the headquarters for Apache Scouts in the late 1800’s. The scouts were charged with the task of locating renegade Apaches and Navajos. The park also has a re-creation of an Apache Village. There are several unique buildings at the fort. The gift shop is housed in General Cook’s log cabin. The fort is located just seven miles south of Whiteriver and walking tours are available.
The land is home to Hon-Dah Casino.
White Mountain Apache Tribal Fair and Rodeo September
Fort McDowell Indian Land
Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache Indian Land lies along the banks of the Verde River in Maricopa County. It borders Fountain Hills and Scottsdale and is 20 miles northeast of Phoenix. It sits at an elevation of 1,350 feet. Today, the tribe has 850 members consisting of the Yavapai, Mohave-Apache and the Apache Indians.
In September 1903, the Fort McDowell Indian Lands were established by Executive Order. The 24,680 acres of land includes the site of Fort McDowell, which was named after General Irwin Mc Dowell. The fort was once an important outpost during the Apache Wars between 1865 and 1891.
This Indian community is also the birthplace of one of the first human rights advocates. During the 1920’s, Carlos Montezuma was stolen by Pima Indians and sold to an Italian photographer. The photographer took Carlos to Chicago and gave an education. Carlos went on to become a doctor. In his later years, he fought for Native American rights and was a crusader for regaining the Yavapai-Apache homeland.
The Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache Indian Land is known for its basketry and JoJo Bean Oil.
The tribe hosts recreational activities at the Verde River. Camping, swimming, picnicking and floating down the river are all popular pastimes, especially during the summer.
The land is home to Fort McDowell Gaming Center.
Sovereignty Day May
Orme Dam Recognition Day November
The Fort Mohave Indian Lands encompass 6,290 acres in California, 3,860 acres in Nevada and 22,820 acres in Arizona. The land is in Mohave County with 12 miles of the Colorado River running through it. Currently, there are 1,000 members.
The Mohave Indians known as the Pipa Aha Macave or “The People by the River” occupied this area long ago. It is believed that Spirit Mountain, which is located northwest of the Indian Lands today, were where the tribe originated. The Mohave were farmers living in villages. They had established trading with other cultures.
Soon, settlers came to mine and built communities. Battles erupted and in 1859 Fort Mohave was constructed. The fort was a military outpost established to control the Mohave Indians.
Today, the Mohave Indians have taken an aggressive approach to the development of their Indian Land resources, in order to boost their economy. There is a plan to see that this goal accomplished. A long-term lease for the development of a power plant, creation of a master planned community in Nevada, construction of several retail businesses, an R.V. Park and a golf course are all steps in the right direction.
The Fort Mohave Indians are known for their beadwork and basketry.
The land is home to Avi Hotel and Casino in Nevada.
Avi Hotel and Casino Anniversary Days and Pow Wow February
Annual Fort Mohave Indian Days October
The Gila (pronounced “heela”) River Indian Land is in Central Arizona, south of Phoenix, Tempe and Chandler. It is within Maricopa and Pinal Counties. The land includes 372,000 acres. Currently, the tribe has 11,550 members consisting of both the Pima and the Maricopa Indians.
The Hohokam Indians were the first to live in this area. They built early irrigation systems to farm the land. The Pima Indians can trace their ancestry back to the Hohokam. The Maricopa Indians first lived along the Colorado River, but moved due to the avoid battles with the Mohave and Yuma Indians. They eventually ended up along the Gila River with the Pima Indians.
An Act of Congress established the Gila River Indian Lands in February 1859. It became the first Indian Lands created in Arizona. In the 1900’s, the Indian Land suffered a huge set back when the Gila River was dammed. This caused poverty and many farms turned to desert.
Today, there has been a change. New businesses and development are being emphasized. Three industrial parks and commercial complexes are being used to draw others to the area. Although, farming has not being completely eliminated. The community’s farm has 12,000 acres with crops such as cotton, wheat, melons, citrus and alfalfa. Another 22,000 acres is set aside for independent farming. The tribal administrative offices and departments are situated in the town of Sacton.
The Gila River Indians are known for their Pima basketry and Maricopa pottery.
The Gila Indian Center has a large selection of Southwest Indian Arts and Crafts. The center offers pottery, basketry, jewelry and paintings. It is located along Interstate 10, south of Phoenix at the Casa Blanca Interchange. Visitors will also find a museum and coffee shop.
The Gila Heritage Park is a theme park operated by the Gila River Indian Lands. The park features self-guided tours of traditional Indian homes including the Pima, Maricopa, Papago and the Apache.
Firebird Lake Water Sports World is located just off of Interstate 10, south of Phoenix. The lake has a high concentration of salt making it perfect for boat racing. The complex also has a track available for drag racing and formula cars. Compton Terrace is another part of the complex and features a variety of entertainment acts.
The land is home to two Gila River Casinos.
Annual Tribal Fair Mul-Chu-Tha February
St. John’s Indian Mission Festival March
he Havasupai (pronounced “have a soup pie”) Indian Lands lie 3,000 feet at the bottom of Havasu Canyon at the western end of the Grand Canyon. It is in both Coconino and Navajo Counties. The land is at the end of Indian Route 18, off of Historic Route 66. Currently, the tribe has 600 members.
Havasupai means “people of the blue green water.” The tribe has been in this region for more than 1,000 years. Throughout their history, they have practiced the tradition of irrigation farming in the canyons during the summer and hunting on the plateaus during the winter.
The Havasupai Indian Land was established in June 1880 and later enlarged to 188,077 acres in 1975. All of the tribal members live in Supai Village at the base of Havasu Canyon, near where the Havasu River cascades over the edge creating blue green pools below.
Tourism is helping the tribe’s living standards, although it is difficult. This is due to the fact that there are only a few ways in and out of the community. Traveling down to Havasu Falls can only be done by foot, horse or helicopter. Still, more than 12,000 visitors come to see the amazing high waterfalls. This Indian Land is sometimes called the “Shangri-la of the Grand Canyon” because of its towering cliffs, spectacular falls and calming pools of water.
The Havasupai Indians are known for their basketry and beadwork.
Havasu Falls Lodge at the bottom of Havasu Canyon must be reserved in advance. The lodge and campgrounds are the only places to stay once you have hiked down from Hualapai Hilltop. The number of guests allowed in is limited. At the bottom of the canyon, visitors will see breathtaking waterfalls and pools filled with turquoise water.
Peach Festival August
The Hopi Indian Lands lie in northeastern Arizona. It is in both Coconino and Navajo Counties and can be reached from Historic Route 66 or Interstate 40 through Holbrook, Winslow or Flagstaff. The land consists of three major mesas, which rise up from the desert floor nearly 7,200 feet. Currently, the tribe has 9,150 members.
The Hopi are direct descendants of the Anasazi, who lived in the area around Flagstaff and Canyon de Chelly. The name Hopi comes from “Hopituh Shi-nu-mu”, meaning “the peaceful people. The Hopi tribe is also a part of the larger Indian group called the Pueblo people. The Pueblo stayed in one particular area and built small flat roofed structures to live in. Legend says that the Hopi decided on this spot because Arizona is the center of the planet.
The Hopi tribe built old Oraibi in 1150 A.D. It is believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the United States. The Hopi Indians built their homes on top of the mesas to protect themselves from attacking Navajo and Apache Indians.
Hopis have endured tragedy throughout their history. During the mid-1600’s, the population was nearly 14,000. A smallpox epidemic brought in by white settlers attacked the community. The epidemic killed about 75% of the tribe. Fortunately their numbers rebounded, but in 1780 another smallpox epidemic broke out. This time, the epidemic left behind only 1,000 survivors. The third time the smallpox hit the Hopi Indian Land was around 1850. Again, the population was reduced by 75%.
The Hopi Indian Lands cover 1,561,213 acres and were established in December 1882. These lands are unique in that they are completely surrounded by the Navajo Indian Lands.
Today, Keams Canyon is the site of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Headquarters. Peace and goodwill have always been the ways to live by in the Hopi community. Most of the Hopis live in the twelve villages on the Indian Land. These villages are found on First Mesa, Second Mesa and Third Mesa. All three of these mesas are a part of Black Mesa. Many of the homes on these mesas are nearly a hundred years old and were built of stone and logs. Each village is organized independently and are known for their certain Indian Arts and unique ceremonies.
The tribe is known for their handicrafts such as kachinas, overlay jewelry, basketry and pottery.
The Hopi are religious people, who practice their religion with ceremonies throughout the year. There are portions of the ceremonial dances that take part underground in a kiva. Only the initiated are permitted into the kiva. Each clan has it own dances. These clan dances are a secret. Not all of the villages will allow visitors to their dance ceremonies. Ten of the twelve villages have closed their Kachina dances to the public. Snake dances and Flute ceremonies remain closed, although many of the social dances are open. The Hopi’s will publicize the ceremonial dances that are available to the public. Please remember that photography is prohibited throughout the Indian Land, especially inside villages. Once you have stepped onto Hopi Indian Land, you have become a guest. Guests must be respectful of the land, people and their customs.
There are numerous galleries, trading posts and centers located across the Hopi Indian Land. These places provide visitors an opportunity to look at and purchase Hopi handiwork.
The Hualapai Indian Land stretches 108 miles along the Colorado River and includes the western end of the Grand Canyon. The Indian Land is in Coconino and Mohave Counties. It shares its northern and eastern boundaries with the Grand Canyon National Park and also adjoins the Hualapai Indian Lands on the east. The elevation ranges from 1,200 feet to 7,400 feet. Currently, the tribe has 1,400 members.
The name Hualapai comes from the word “hwal’bay, which means “people of the tall pines. The Hualapai originally came from the Yuma Indians in Western Arizona, but they eventually moved to this region.
When settlers started to encroach on the Hualapai, battles erupted. After losing the war, the Indians were placed in a camp near the town of Parker. Many Hualapai perished at the camp, however some did manage to escape.
They made their way back to their homeland and later the land was set aside for the tribe to live. The Hualapai Indian Lands covers almost 1 million acres and was created by Executive Order in January 1883.
Today, Peach Springs is the Tribal Capital. The town owes its name to the peach trees growing at the springs nearby. The Hualapai Indian Land is working hard make a positive future. There has been economic, social and government progress in recent years. This is evident with the building of new homes, an improved water and sewer system, paved and curbed streets and a mission to be an anti-drug and alcohol community.
The western section of the Indian Lands remains closed to the public. This area is viewed as sacred to the Hualapai tribe.
The Hualapai Indian Lands offers the only access by car into the Grand Canyon. By driving to Peach Springs and following Diamond Creek Road, you will arrive at the gorge where Diamond Creek and the Colorado River meet.
The Hualapai Tribal River Runners is the only Indian owned and operated river-rafting company on the Colorado River. The company offers one and two day Indian guided tours.
Hualapai Arts and Crafts Center has a variety of traditional and modern arts available for purchase. The center is located in Peach Springs.
Hualapai Indian Days May
Kaibab-Paiute Indian Lands
The Kaibab-Paiute Indian Lands is found along Kanab Creek in Northern Arizona, near the Utah border in the Arizona Strip. Kanab Creek runs through the Indian Land on its way to Snake Gulch and the Colorado River. The land also sits on the Markagunt Plateau north of the Grand Canyon National Park and Kaibab National Forest, making it one of the most remote Indian Lands in the state. In order to reach this area, you must take U.S. Highway 89 from the east through Jacob Lake and Fredonia. The Indian Land is in both Coconino and Mohave Counties. The tribe’s land contains 120,827 acres. Currently, the tribe has 200 members.
The Kaibab-Paiute Indians are members of the Southern Paiute Nation, which is located along the southern Great Basin and San Juan-Colorado River drainage. Their language is Uto-Aztecan and English. The tribe has five villages, Kaibab, Steam Boat, Juniper Estates, Six-Mile and Red Hills.
Today, most of the members live in Kaibab. All of the villages live in combination of the modern and traditional settings. The traditional ways are shown in language, celebrations, community organization and values.
The Kaibab-Paiute Indians are known for their coiled basket called the “Wedding Basket.”
Pipe Springs National Monument began as two pools of water, which flow from the Sevier Fault on the Moccasin Terrace. Then in 1870, a group of Mormons discovered the springs and decided to build a community. They established a fort and named it Windsor Castle. The Kaibab-Paiute Indians never attacked the settlement. The area was designated a national monument in 1923.
Kayenta, in the Northeastern portion of Navajo County, is approximately 20 miles south of the Utah border on U.S. 163. It is 148 miles north-northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona, and 98 miles west of Shiprock, New Mexico.
Because of its remoteness, in the early days the Kayenta region was seldom visited by non-Indians. Although in 1874, Mormon emigrants moved their wagons through on their route from Tuba City to Aneth on the San Juan River, the Navajos and Paiutes of the area were only occasionally disturbed by itinerant traders and wandering prospectors.
In 1910 things changed with the opening of a trading post at Kayenta. In 1914, the March Pass School opened its doors. By 1916, another trading post had opened for business. Since that time, and especially since the paving of roads through the area, Kayenta, at an elevation of 5,660 feet, has had considerably more traffic and has been designated a “growth center” of the Reservation.
Today, its position as a gateway to the tourist attractions of Monument Valley as well as its midpoint location on state Highway 160 between Shiprock and Tuba City have helped establish Kayenta as a major community on the Navajo Reservation. Navajos refer to Kayenta as Tohdenasshai.
The Four Corners area, a junction of Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico – the only spot in the United States where four states meet – is less than 80 miles away. Within a 150-mile radius of the community are a variety of parks and recreational facilities. Arizona is the home of Grand Canyon National Park with the Vermillion Cliffs and Paria Canyon. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Lake Powell are the result of the construction of Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River.
The pre-historic Indian dwellings of Canyon de Chelly National Monument, and the monoliths and arches of Monument Valley, Rainbow Bridge National Monument and the Navajo Scenic Area are nearby.
Leupp is in Eastern Arizona. It is in Coconino County. The town is situated along the southwest bank of the Little Colorado River, in the southwest corner of the Navajo Indian Lands. It is just off of Interstate 40, on State Highway 99.
Leupp has always been a town of change and growth. The warm desert climate has a summer high temperature of 100 degrees and a winter low temperature of 30 degrees.
Leupp has so many outdoor activities. Wupatki National Monument is located just northwest of Leupp. Here you will see countless ruins of a community from long ago. The three-story dwelling at Wupatki is the most striking. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is almost directly to the west. The monument is a spectacular sight. There are two trails that visitors can take to get an up close look at the volcanic formations. Meteor Crater is to the south, off of Interstate 40. It is truly amazing. A 570-foot deep and 4,000 foot diameter hole was created after a meteor slammed into the earth. Meteor Crater has a rim walk that lets you see the crater from all angles.
During the 1800’s, there were scattered settlements near the Little Colorado River. The river’s water drew many to the area. This region has long been a path for travel by the Navajo Indians.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs established a school in Leupp in 1902. The town’s name is pronounced LOOP. Soon afterward, the school was moved to a new location known as Old Leupp. Old Leupp is a few miles to the southeast of Leupp. Later in 1907, Leupp became the headquarters of the Leupp Indian Land. It was one of five Navajo Indian Lands that existed before 1936.
The Navajo Indian Nation combined all its lands in 1936. The center for the Navajo Nation was also established during this period in Window Rock, Arizona. The Navajo Nation decided that there would be Navajo chapter organizations dispersed throughout the Indian Land. These chapters evolved into local government units servicing the local residents. Leupp was selected as one of 110 Navajo chapters.
In 1961, the Bureau of Indian Affairs rebuilt the boarding school. The school became the center for social and political activities.
Leupp is one of the Navajo Indian Land’s fastest growing towns. Today, it is focusing on high tech industry and was designated by the Navajo Indian Land as a secondary growth center.
The Navajo Indian Land lies in three states, including the northeast Arizona, the northwest New Mexico and the southeastern Utah. A portion of the reservation lies in Apache, Coconino and Navajo Counties. It is the largest Indian Land in the Untied States. The elevation ranges from 4,500 feet to 10,400 feet. Currently, the tribe has 175,000 members.
The Navajo (pronounced “NAH-vuh-ho”) Indians are descendants of the Athapascan speaking people. They are also related to the Apache Indians, who arrived here from the north. Navajos do not refer to themselves as Navajo, but as Dineh (pronounced “dee-NAY”), meaning “the people.”
In the beginning, the Navajo were nomadic bands of hunters and gatherers. They attacked the Hopi Indian villages for supplies. But as time passed, the Navajo began to change. They learned farming, weaving and pottery making. Members of the tribe were living in homes called hogans raising herds of sheep and goats.
During the 1800’s, the Navajo came into conflict with the Spanish colonists. However, it wasn’t until the United States became involved did war occur.
In 1846, the first treaty was made between the Navajo and the United States government. Unfortunately, disagreements arose and troops were sent in 1849. It was also during this time, that Kit Carson led an extensive war against the Navajo.
Carson was able to take charge and captured 8,000 Navajo. These Indians were led to a reservation called Fort Sumner in New Mexico. This trek to the fort was later called the “Long Walk.”
While at the reservation, the Navajo suffered. Disease, crop failure and other warring Indians all took their toll on the Navajo tribe. Then in 1868, another treaty was signed allowing them to return to their homeland. The treaty established the Navajo Indian Lands. Later, in 1884 additional land was given the Navajo. Then again in the 1900’s, the land was extended to encompass 4,775,068 acres.
Today, the Navajo Tribal Headquarters is in the town of Window Rock. An elected chairman, vice chairman and 87 delegates, governs the Navajo Nation.
The Navajo Indians are known for their pottery, baskets, silver jewelry and woven rugs.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument is a combination of three gorges measuring 100 miles in length. The gorges were created by a 1,000-foot cut in the sandstone plateau. The canyon also houses five periods of Indian culture dating from 350 A.D. to 1300 A.D. It is the perfect backdrop to Anasazi ruins and Navajo homes. It is located three miles east of Chinle on U.S. Highway 191.
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is 23 miles north of Kayenta. The valley itself lies in the northern section of Arizona and continues into the southern part of Utah. It contains rolling sand dunes, magnificent mesas, fragile pinnacles, colorful sandstone spires and arches. This is a very popular sight for many movies and commercials. Those interested in seeing these amazing rock formations up close will need to take a guided tour off of the road.
Four Corners Navajo Tribal Park is the only spot in the United States where four state boundaries meet. Visitors can place all fours with an arm and leg in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. There is a visitor center, demonstration center and picnic area.
Rainbow Natural Bridge National Monument is along the blue waters of Lake Powell. It is the world’s largest natural bridge stretching nearly 290 feet high. Visitors can reach the bridge by way of boat, hiking or horseback. A permit is required for hiking or horseback.
Navajo National Monument includes two of Arizona’s largest Indian ruins. Betatakin and Keet Seel Ruins are pieces from the Anasazi past that have survived over 900 years. The monument is 10 miles north of State Highway 564.
Antelope Creek Canyon is one place that has been photographed time and time again. The canyon has a variety of shades of color that change throughout the day. It is sometimes called, “Cork Screw Canyon.” This spot is not for the weak at heart, one must hike down to the bottom to see its wonder.
Window Rock Tribal Park is a small park at the base of huge red rock formation. The sandstone has a large hole in the middle making it look as though it is a window. There are trails and picnic areas available. The park was created to honor all warriors during times of war and peace. It is located in the town appropriately named Window Rock.
St. Michael Historical Museum is near Window Rock. The museum is housed in an old mission. It provides visitors a background on the Franciscan influence on the Navajo people.
Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site is 28 miles west of Window Rock. The post is the nation’s oldest known trading post and is still open today. The adjoining Hubbell home shows the history of the Southwest through paintings and Indian crafts.
Kayenta Visitor Center is filled with information on the Navajo Nation and its spectacular sights. There is also a museum with exhibits including artifacts and history of the Navajo culture. Visitors will also find a food court area.
Grand Falls is a spectacular sight. The falls are located on the Little Colorado River east of Highway 89 between Flagstaff and Cameron. These falls are a sight to see especially after a big rainstorm, when water is sent cascading over 185 feet of rock terraces.
Fourth of July Celebration and Pow Wow July
Navajo Tribal Fair September
Western Navajo Agency Fair October
New Lands is in Eastern Arizona. It is in Apache County. The expansive community is located 20 miles east of the Petrified Forest National Park and stretches from the town of Chambers to the New Mexican border.
New Lands is a planned community created to blend the traditions of the past with the lifestyle of today. The community sits at elevations ranging from 5,500 feet to 6,900 feet. The warm desert climate has a summer high temperature of 100 degrees and a winter low temperature of 30 degrees. It is a growing area that is working toward a common goal.
There are a few outdoor activities that will make your trip to the area memorable. Window Rock is 35 miles to the northeast. It is a sandstone cliff created by wind, sand and water, which eroded an opening that reveals a broad sweep of country. It looks as if it had been made by the poke of a giant’s finger. However, Navajo legend has it that the Giant Snake made it. The Giant Snake crawled along the expanse of sandstone and eventually created a passageway to the other side. It is a huge, red sandstone formation that is 47 feet in diameter and 100 feet high. The formation suggests a window through a rock and it is listed as one the Seven Wonders of the World.
Climbing the rock is forbidden. It is a scared place to the Navajo. Visitors can still get a good look at Window Rock from below by hiking around it. There are pieces still seen today near its base that are from a prehistoric pueblo. New Lands is 20 miles east of the Petrified Forest National Park. Here you will discover some of the most amazing outdoor activities in the state. Once you arrive at the park, you will see what I mean. There are petrified logs in many shapes and sizes strewn across the desert floor. Please remember the collection or removal of petrified wood, natural or cultural objects is prohibited. There are two entrances to the park and both begin off of Interstate 40.
The north entrance takes you to the Painted Desert Visitor Center. Here you will see spectacular colors bouncing off the rock formations. The best time to make your visit is during sunset. You can then take the loop driving tour around to the south entrance. In the middle of the loop drive, there is the Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark Museum. This was once a Fred Harvey hotel. It was built in the 1930’s. Today, the park service uses it as a visitor center and it sometimes features Native Americans demonstrating their crafts. The southern end of the drive has the Rainbow Museum. Visitors will find artifacts from the Puerco Indian Ruins dating back to 1150 A.D. Kids will love the three life-sized dinosaurs on display.
New Lands was created on 351,691 acres of tribal trust land and reaches from approximately Chambers, Arizona to the New Mexico state line, along Interstate 40. The towns of Sanders and Chambers are included in an additional 18,000 acres of private land, south of the Navajo Indian Land.
The land was selected for development to promote the strong religious and traditional values of the Navajo Indians. Yet, it also includes the transitional part of the Navajo society. This combination allows for all Navajos to live together. There are 17 range units that were constructed to provide the traditional lifestyle that many want to continue.
Near the town of Sanders is the Naht’a’Dziil chapter house. This chapter house in the center of local government for the New Land community and is the 110th Navajo chapter house. Naht’a’Dziil means, “planning through strength.” This phrase symbolizes New Lands.
New Lands is a planned community with ongoing growth. There are areas for homes, industry, business, farming, recreation and education. Visitors will see a high school, hospitality center, rodeo arena, health clinic and an industrial building.
Today, the community’s goal is to encourage industrial and commercial expansion. This growth is anticipated, due to the community’s location along Interstate 40 and in addition to the Santa Fe Railroad running parallel to the highway.
The Pascua Yaqui Indian Lands lies in southern Arizona, 15 miles southwest of Tucson. Currently, there are over 8,000 members with 2,000 living on the Indian Land.
The Pascua Yaqui Indians are descents from the ancient Uto-Atecan people. The tribe fought against the Spanish beginning in 1533 and then attacked the Mexicans up until 1870.
The first communities were established near Nogales and South Tucson. Later, the Pascua Yaquis moved north of Tucson and created Pascua Village. They also began the community of Guadalupe, outside of Phoenix. By 1920, there were estimated to be more than 2,000 members.
In 1952, the tribe lost its land at Pascua Village, when the City of Tucson annexed the community. Then in 1964, Congressman Morris Udall presented a bill to transfer 202 acres of land southwest of Tucson to the Pascua Yaqui. The goal of the bill was to create a place where the tribe could continue to keep its cultural traditions. The bill was approved in August 1964, making it the newest Arizona Indian Land. The Pascua Yaqui Association was formed to receive ownership of the land from the federal government. After moving onto the Indian Land, the Pascua Yaqui continued their mission to be recognized by the federal government. This quest for tribal identity was finally achieved in 1978. Then in 1982, the tribe gained an additional 690 acres. Later on, in 1988 the first constitution was created.
Today, they call themselves the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona. They operate a landscape nursery, bingo hall and a manufacturing site for adobe blocks. The tribe continues its Christian teachings and still holds on to their religious and cultural way of life.
The Pascua Yaqui are known for the cultural paintings done by children and deer dance statues.
The land is home to the Casino of the Sun.
Tribal Recognition Day September
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Lands
The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Lands is located 15 miles northeast of Phoenix. Tempe forms the Indian Lands southwestern border, Mesa the southern border, Scottsdale the western and northern border and Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache Indian Lands finishes off the northern border. It is in Maricopa County. The land includes the conflux of the Verde River and Salt River. Currently, the tribe has 6,000 members. The members are a combination of two tribes, the Pima and Maricopa Indians. Both of these Indian tribes live on the Indian Lands.
The Pima Indians are descendants of the Hohokam Indians, who developed irrigation and farming in the Salt River Valley hundreds of years ago. The Maricopa Indians originally lived along the lower Gila River and Colorado River and then moved up to this region.
The Indian Land was established in June 1879 by Executive Order signed by President Rutherford Hayes and includes 55,801 acres. The order gave both the Pima and Maricopa Indians the land that they had occupied for years.
The tribe has worked hard to meet the demands of today. About 19,000 acres of Indian Land has been set aside for a natural preserve. The secondary land use is for agriculture, which includes the growing of cotton, potatoes and melons. The commercial land use is restricted to the Pima corridor, which is a stretch bounded by Pima Road and Scottsdale. This commercial area consists of the Pavilions, which is a large retail center. The land also hosts a waste disposal operation and a sand and gravel plant.
The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indians are known for their basketry and pottery.
The Salt River Recreation Area is one of the biggest draws to the Indian Lands. The river is ideal for those wanting to cool off. Tubers float down the Salt River enjoying the views of the mountains.
The Hoo-Hoogam Ki Museum was constructed using adobe and plants, along with the building techniques from several tribes. The museum has displays and exhibits showing basketry, pottery and artifacts.
Native American Indian Rodeo Days February
Annual Red Mountain Eagle Pow Wow May
The Fort Yuma-Quechan (pronounced Kwuh-tsan) Indian Lands extends on both sides of the Colorado River, just north of Yuma. It borders the states of Arizona, California and Mexico. Interstate 8 cuts through the middle of the Indian Land. Currently, there are 2,450 members.
The Quechan believe Kumastamxo, a god, used his spear to pierce the earth causing the Colorado River to flow. The Yuma or Quechan Indians have for centuries fought against the Papago, Apache and others for control of their land along the Colorado River. Their determination has caused the Quechan to be known as the “fighters.”
Today, the Indian Land covers 43,589 acres of those 700 acres have been leased to a non-Indian farmer. A sand and gravel lease was also given to a non-Indian corporation to develop. The tribe enjoys the tourism and business in the area by operating R.V. parks, a bingo hall ,a seasonal parking lot for entry into Mexico and a grocery store.
The Quechan Indian Museum is in Yuma near Interstate 8. The museum’s goal is to preserve the culture and heritage of the Quechan tribe.
The San Carlos Apache Indian Lands is in Eastern Arizona. The Indian Land spans Pinal, Gila and Graham Counties. Scenic Route U.S. 70 from Phoenix to Lordsburg, New Mexico runs through the lower southern section of the Indian Land. Another road, U.S. 60 from Showlow to Globe also passes through the northern part of the land. The elevation ranges from 2,400 feet to 7,875 feet. Currently, the tribe has 10,000 members.
The San Carlos Apaches are descendants of the Athabascan tribe, who migrated to the Southwest in the 10th century.
The San Carlos Apache Indian Land was established in 1871 by Executive Order signed by President Grant. In the beginning, the Indian Land was home to the San Carlos Apache.
One year after the creation of the Indian Land, the land was converted to house the Mohave, Warm Spring Apaches, Chiricahua Apaches and Yuma Indian Tribes. All of these groups had been relocated. At the time, it seemed convenient to place several tribes together on the same piece of land. This approach disregarded their cultural beliefs and didn’t recognized the animosity some had towards each other.
This friction gave way to groups of Indians raiding settlements in both Arizona and New Mexico. Cochise and Geronimo led some of these raids. Eventually, the Mohave, Yuma, Warm Springs Apache and Chiricahua Apaches left. They were given separate Indian Lands to preserve their culture. This meant the San Carlos Indian Land remained for the San Carlos Apache Indians only.
However, the Indian war chiefs did not give up so easily. They continued their raids until all of them were killed, captured or exiled. Geronimo was the last one to surrender in 1886. He was send to a prisoner of war camp in Florida.
It wasn’t until 1897, when the Indian Land was divided between the San Carlos Apaches and the White Mountain Apaches that peace truly came to the region.
That wasn’t the end of disappoint for the San Carlos Apache. Between 1873 and 1902, the Indian Land was reduced in size several times. Then another Executive Order was signed creating more land for public domain and less for the tribe. By 1903, the Indian Land was a third of its original size. The land encompasses 1,826,541 acres and it is the fourth largest Indian Land in Arizona.
Today, the town of San Carlos is the tribal headquarters. The Indian Land is sometimes referred to as the “White Mountain San Carlos Indian Land.” The San Carlos people raise cattle, mine gemstones and provide recreational spots in the area.
The San Carlos Apache Indians are known for their basketry, beadwork and jewelry.
San Carlos Lake was formed by the construction of Coolidge Dam. The lake offers 150 miles of shoreline and 19,500 acres of water for water fun. Largemouth bass, catfish and bluegill can be found in these waters.
Talkalai Lake is just to the north of San Carlos. The lake is stocked full of trout, bass, channel catfish, crappie and bluegill. Visitors need to be sure to have a permit before dropping a line.
Point of Pines Lakes is a 35-acre lake with fishing, picnic tables, restrooms and water. The lake is about 55 miles from the junction of Highway 70 and Route 8.
The land is home to the Apache Gold Casino.
All Indian Rodeo and Fair November
Tohono O’odham Indian Lands
The Tohono O’odham Indian Lands is in Southern Arizona and extends into the northern portion of Mexico. The reservation lies in Maricopa, Pinal and Pima Counties. The tribe is separated into four Indian lands, which is about the same size as the state of Connecticut. The tribe has 18,061 members.
Before settlers came to this area, the Papago Indians were a peaceful culture. They did not believe in violence; although if provoked they would attack. The Papago could become fierce warriors and many times proved victorious in battle.
A tradition that made the Papago different from many other Indian tribes was their ceremony after the killing of another. Whenever a member of the Papago tribe killed another human being, he had to go through a sixteen-day purification ritual. This had to be completed before the tribe would welcome him back.
The primary portion of Tohono O’odham Indian Land covers 2,773,050 acres and was established in December 1882. This piece of land is stretches 90 miles across southern Arizona and into the northern part of Mexico. The San Xavier Indian Lands with 71,000 acres was created in July 1874. This section of the Indian Land is located near Tucson. The two other pieces, Gila Bend Indian Lands with 10,000 acres and Florence Village with 20 acres were established later. Gila Bend is to the north of the main section of the Tohono O’odham Indian Lands and Florence Village is just west of the town of Florence.
In 1986, the tribe officially changed their name from Papago to Tohono O’odham. The tribe had never considered themselves Papago meaning, “bean people.” They had always used the name Tohono O’odham meaning “desert people.” During the name change, they also adopted a new constitution. The constitution created three branches of government, which mimics the United States government organization.
Today, the Tohono O’odham Indians are involved in agriculture, retail-tourism and cattle raising. The Indian Land welcomes economic growth and has developed an industrial park to encourage business. The tribal headquarters is located in the town of Sells.
The Tohono O’odham Indian tribe is known for their pottery and basketry.
The National Historic Landmark of the Mission San Xavier del Bac is one of the most beautiful missions in the Southwest. The Tohono O’odham Indians have used it continuously for more than two centuries. The mission is known to many, as the “White Dove of the Desert.”
Kitt Peak Observatory has 18 telescopes in operation, including one of the largest optical telescopes in North America. There is a paved road to the summit, where visitors can also enjoy a picnic. The National Science Foundation owns the observatory and includes a Visitor Center and museum.
The land is home to the Desert Diamond Casino.
Annual Tohono O’odham All-Indian Rodeo and Fair October
The Tonto-Apache Indian Lands is in Northern Arizona, along State Highway 87 near Payson. The tribe is in Gila County. It is 100 miles northeast of Phoenix and 100 miles southeast of Flagstaff. The tribe has 100 members consisting of both the Yavapai and Apache Indians.
A Congressional Act established the Tonto-Apache Indian Lands in October 1972. The Indian Lands covers 85 acres. The tribes have a small piece of land with their headquarters located in Payson at the foot of the Mogollon Rim.
The Tonto-Apache Indians are known for their beadwork and basketry.
The land hosts the Mazatzal Casino.
Tuba City is in the western portion of the Navajo Reservation. The written history of the town goes back more than 200 years. When Father Francisco Garcés visited the area in 1776, he recorded that the Indians were cultivating crops.
The town was settled by Mormons in the late 1870s, but in 1903 it was discovered that the town was built on Indian land, and the U.S. government bought out the improvements. Tuba City was made the headquarters of the western Navajo Agency. The first boarding school was built in the community at that time. Tuba City is at the junction of state Highway 264 and U.S. 160, about 80 miles northeast of Flagstaff, at an elevation of approximately 5,000 feet.
Today, the community is an urban center within the Tuba City Chapter, a local government unit of the reservation. As an administrative and educational center, Tuba City has developed rapidly and has been designated a major “growth center” on the Navajo Reservation by the tribal government.
There are various theories about who chose the name “Tuba,ª” but most agree it came from the Hopi word “Toova.” The Navajo name for Tuba City, “Tonanesdizi” or “tangled waters,” probably refers to the many springs below the surface of the ground which are the source of several reservoirs. The springs of Tuba City have made it the oasis of the surrounding desert country.
There are numerous Navajo Tribal and National Parks in the vicinity of Tuba City. These include Grand Canyon National Park, Navajo National Park, Sunset Crater National Monument, Wupatki National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Monument Valley Tribal Park, and Rainbow Bridge National Monument. There are also three overnight camping areas in the community with hook-ups for campers. Pasture Canyon Reservoir and Mohave Reservoir offer good fishing. The Navajo Western Fair is held annually in late October.
The Window Rock/Fort Defiance area is in the southeast corner of the Navajo Reservation, which extends into portions of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. In the early 1930s, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, John Collier, declared that Tseghahodzani, “the rock with the hole in it,” should be the center of administration for the Navajo Tribe.
In 1966, the Bureau of Indian Affairs established an area office in Window Rock. Six miles north of Window Rock, at the junction of Navajo Routes 12 and 110, is Fort Defiance. Early Navajo settlers were attracted to Tsehotsoi meaning “meadow between the rocks.” Then, in the summer of 1851, Colonel Edwin Sumner selected the site as a military outpost and named it Fort Defiance. The fort was used as headquarters for Colonel Kit Carson’s Navajo Campaign in the summer of 1863.
Today the Window Rock/Fort Defiance area is a bustling commercial and administrative growth center on the Navajo Nation. As the capital of the Navajo Nation, Window Rock boasts many facilities such as the Navajo Tribal Fairgrounds and the Tribal Museum and Zoo. As the capital of the Nation, the administrative services provided through the Tribal Administration Complex assure government of a key role in the economy.
Window Rock, the capital of the Navajo Nation, has a 70-acre fairgrounds site, which hosts the Annual Navajo Tribal Fair. The Navajo Tribal Museum features exhibits on the history of the Navajo Nation, examples of Navajo handicrafts and artifacts, and a tribal zoo that has animals indigenous to the region. The “Window Rock” itself, carved by centuries of wind, sand and water, is 47 feet in diameter and is a major tourist attraction.
The Navajo Nation is a varied land of mountains and desert. Many of the scenic wonders of the Southwest lie within the reservation boundaries. These include Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, Grand Falls and the Rainbow Bridge on the southern shore of Lake Powell.
Camp Verde Yavapai-Apache Indian Lands
The Camp Verde Yavapai-Apache Indian Lands sit in the Verde Valley in Yavapai County. It is nestled in the Coconino National Forest between State Highway 260 and Interstate 17, about 93 miles north of Phoenix. Today, the tribe has 1,200 members consisting of the Yavapai and Apache Indians.
In 1871, the Secretary of the United States Board of Indian Commissioners, Vincent Colyer, recommended to President Grant the establishment of Indian Lands. The Indian Lands were used until 1875, when President Grant decided to abolish the Indian Lands. The land was abandoned and the tribe was moved against their will to the San Carlos Indian Lands. By the 1900’s, a migration began. The tribe moved back to their Indian Lands and in 1909 the Indians Lands were reestablished. The land grew in size in 1915, 1917, 1967 and 1974.
Today, the 636-acre Indian Land is actually five separate pieces of land, Middle Verde has 458 acres, Camp Verde has 40 acres, Clarkdale has 58 acres, Rim Rock has 3 acres and the Interstate 17 Visitor Activity Center has 74 acres. The Indian Lands headquarters is located at Middle Verde.
The tribe is known for its basketry.
The Cliff Castle Casino makes its home here.
Montezuma Castle National Monument, Montezuma Well and Tuzigoot National Monument are located within a few miles of the Indian Lands. These monuments are outstanding examples of prehistoric Indian cliff dwellings and pueblos.
Yavapai-Prescott Indian Lands
The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Land is in Northern Arizona, adjacent to Prescott. It is 70 miles from Phoenix and 60 miles from Sedona. The tribe has 139 members.
The Yavapai began as hunters and gatherers. They also farmed the land in central and western Arizona.
When the Indian Land was established, three groups of Yavapais joined together to live here. Their Indian Land covers 1,400 acres.
Today, the tribe is engaged in a long-ranged program to make the most out of the Indian Lands limited size and urban location. The goal of the tribe is to preserve the culture and create economic security for its members. This is being done through the building of the Prescott Resort and Conference Center. The Yavapai are continuing to encourage commercial and business development.
The Yavapai-Prescott Indians are known for their basketry.
The Yavapai- Prescott Indians operate Bucky’s Casino.
Annual Inter Tribal Pow Wow June