Gila River Indian Community is located on 372,000 acres in
south-central Arizona, south of Phoenix, Tempe and Chandler.
The reservation was established by an Act of Congress in 1859.
The tribal administrative offices and departments are located
in Sacaton and serve residents throughout the seven community
The Gila River Indian Community is steadily increasing industrial,
retail and recreational development activities. Three industrial parks
housing 36 operations are located on the reservation, and the Lone-Butte
Industrial Park is considered to be among the most successful
Indian industrial parks in the nation. A “theme park, ”Gila Heritage
Park, is also operated by the tribe. Commercial complexes developed
in Sacaton and Komatke, house several tenants providing services to
Agriculture continues to play a prominent economic role. The
community's farm grows crops such as cotton, wheat, millet, alfalfa,
barley, melons, pistachios, olives, citrus, and vegetables on 12,000
acres. In addition, they own and operate related agricultural activities,
such as chemical fertilizer, cotton gin and grain storage facilities.
Independent farming operations cultivate 22,000 acres of similar
crops for a total agricultural product value in excess of $25 million.
The Gila River casinos are both owned and managed by the Gila
River Indian Community. All profits from gaming are utilized by the
community to expand the tribe's economic development, to provide
additional social services to community members, and for tribal
operations. Both casinos employ approximately 1,000, of which 80
to 85 percent are community members.
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, a four-story pueblo
built by the Hohokam Indians in the 13th century, lies just southeast
of the reservation. The Gila Indian Center, located along Interstate
10 at the Casa Blanca Interchange, sells one of Arizona's finest
selections of Southwest Indian arts and crafts including pottery, basketry,
jewelry, carvings and paintings. The center also contains an
excellent museum and restaurant/coffee shop. Gila Heritage Park
features self-guided tours of traditional Indian homes from the Pima,
Maricopa, Papago and Apache tribes.
The annual Tribal fair “Mul-Chu-Tha,” with its parade, Indian
dances, All-Indian rodeo, arts and crafts, and food sales is held in
February at Sacaton. The St. John's Indian Mission Festival is held
annually on the first Sunday in March and also presents Indian
foods, dances and arts and crafts. Both events are popular with
tourists and residents.