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 recognize 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 sent 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 disappointing 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