Indian Lands



Arizona’s Indian history began long ago, with the Hohokam people.  The Hohokam Indians date back to 300 B.C. when they began to develop Central and Southwestern Arizona.  Later, in the year 200 B.C. the Mogollon culture worked in the area of Southeastern Arizona.  Another Indian culture has also been traced back to the year 100 B.C., the Anasazi’s settled in Northern Arizona.


Since that long ago beginning, the Indian community has grown.  In 1859 Congress established the first Indian reservation in Arizona, the Gila River Reservation.  Between 1859 and 1934, Indians were mistreated and their land was taken away from them. 


Finally in 1934 Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act.  This Act did several things for the Indian culture.  First 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.  It wasn’t until 1948 that the Indian people were allowed to vote, provided the individual knew English.  This was abolished in 1970 by the Supreme Court.


Today Arizona has 27% of its land devoted to Indian reservations that total 20,000,000 acres.  Currently, there are about 252,000 Indians representing 17 tribes on 20 reservations.  The following information will give you a quick look at all 20 reservations and the people that live on them.


The Ak-Chin Reservation 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 Reservation 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 Reservation 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 Reservation 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 Resort, Geronimo Cave and the Salt River Canyon for attractions and recreation.


Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache Reservation is along the banks of the Verde River in Maricopa County.  It is 15 miles from Phoenix.  The Reservation contains 24,680 acres and has 849 members.  The tribe hosts recreational activities by the Verde River and the Fort McDowell Gaming Center is near Fountain Hills.


Fort Mojave Reservation 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 Reservation is just north of Yuma.  The Reservation has 43,589 acres and 2,419 members.  The tribe opened Paradise Casino and has recreational spots by the Colorado River.


The Gila River Reservation is in Central Arizona, south of Phoenix.  It is within Maricopa and Pinal Counties.  The land includes 372,000 acres.  The reservation has 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 Reservation is located at the bottom of Havasu Canyon in the Grand Canyon.  It is in both Coconio and Navajo Counties.  The land includes 188,077 acres and 601 members.  Tourism is helping the tribe’s living standards, although it is difficult.  This is due to the fact that there is only one way into the community and one way out.  Travel can only be done by foot or on horse.


The Hopi Reservation 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 Reservation is near the Grand Canyon.  The Hualapai’s are in Coconino and Mohave Counties.  The Reservation covers 992,463 acres and includes 1,400 members.  The tribe offers Hualapai Arts and Crafts Center, Haualapai Tribal River Runners and recreational areas.


The Kaibab-Paiute Reservation is in Northern Arizona, near the Utah border.  The reservation is in Mohave County.  The tribe’s land contain 120,827 acres and 200 members.  They have a visitor center and a gift shop near the Pipe Spring National Monument.


Navajo Reservation 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 reservation in the Untied States.  The tribe encompasses 4,775,068 acres and has 175,000 members.  The Navajo people live on farms.  The reservation includes Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Monument Valley, Four Corners and the Navajo National Monument.

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Reservation 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 two tribes, the Pima and Maricopa Indians.  Both of these Indian communities live on this reservation.  The land hosts recreation along with the Salt River, a waste disposal operation, sand, and gravel plant, and the Pavillions shopping center.

San Carlos Apache Reservation is in Eastern Arizona.  The reservation 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 Reservation is in Southern Arizona.  The reservation 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.  The tribe numbers 18,061.  The tribe was once called the Papagos, until 1986 when the name was changed to Tohono O’odham.  The reservation holds the Desert Diamond Casino, the National Historic Landmark of Mission San Xavier del Bac, farming and mining.


The Tonto-Apache Reservation is in Northern Arizona, near Payson.  The tribe is in Gila County.  The reservation 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) Reservation is also in Northern Arizona.  The reservation is only 653 acres with 1,200 members.  The Yavapai and Apaches live on this reservation 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 Reservation is still another Northern Arizona Indian Reservation.  This tribal land adjoins the town of Prescott.  The tribe holds 1,400 acres and 139 members.  The Yavapai’s operate Bucky’s Casino and are developing their handicrafts.