Tribal Awareness, Education and Culture

 Native American student speaking at a microphone next to the Arizona state flag

The Tribal Relations Team

 Tribal Relations serves as a resource to enhance partnerships and advance mutual goals between the University of Arizona and Native Nations.

 

 

Karen Francis-Begay

Assistant Vice President, Tribal Relations

O: (520) 626-9809 | kfbegay@email.arizona.edu

 

1401 E. University Blvd, Room 313, Tucson, AZ

 


Twenty-Two Sovereign Nations

More than twenty-two sovereign Native Nations reside in what is now known as the State of Arizona. Each independent nation is governed by their own set of laws, rules, and regulations.

 

KAIBAB BAND OF PAIUTE INDIANS

 
CHAIR ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Ona Segundo #1 North Pipe Spring Road Fredonia  http://www.kaibabpaiute-nsn.gov

The traditional lands of the Southern Paiute people spanned more than 600 miles along the Colorado River.  In 1865, federal Indian agents began to formally remove Southern Paiutes from their land onto reservations.  The Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians was established in 1934 under the Indian Reorganization Act. 

The Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians have been greatly affected by the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam in 1963. The dam originally flooded San Juan Paiute farms and affected plant and animal life and other culturally significant places. In 1993, the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians and the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah created the Southern Paiute Consortium to address concerns over the operation of the Glen Canyon Dam.

 


 

HUALAPAI TRIBE

 
CHAIR ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Dr. Damon R. Clarke P.O. Box 179 Peach Springs http://hualapai-nsn.gov

The Hualapai Tribe, "People of the Tall Pines," are a federally recognized Tribe in northwestern Arizona. In 1874, the United States military forcibly relocated hundreds of Hualapai to the Colorado River Indian Reservation in Parker, Arizona (called La Paz). Many died in the two week march or later due to disease and starvation during their yearlong internment.  In 1875, survivors escaped imprisonment and returned to their lands in northwestern Arizona. Each year, the Tribe holds the Hualapai La Paz Trail of Tears Run to commemorate those survivors and their perserverance. The Hualapai Reservation was established by executive order in 1883.

According to the U.S. Census, approximately 1,567 individuals live on the Hualapai Reservation in Arizona, approximately 108 miles along the Grand Canyon and Colorado River. Its elevations range from 1,500 feet to more than 7,300 feet.  As a result, the topography ranges from grassland to forests and canyons. 

 


 

HAVASUPAI TRIBE

 
CHAIR ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Muriel Uqualla-Coochytewa P.O. Box 10 Supai http://www.havasupai-nsn.gov

The Havasupai Tribe "people of the blue green water" have lived in the Grand Canyon and north-central Arizona for more than 1,000 years. The Havasupai Reservation was established in 1880. Prior to the 1800s, the Tribe would move families up to plateaus in the fall and winter months, then back down into the canyon to plant drops during the spring and summer. The Havasupai dialect is the only Native American language that is spoken by more than 95 percent of its indigenous population.

According to the 2010 Census, approximately 465 individuals live on Havasupai Tribal Land in Arizona. The Reservation is located at the end of Indian Route 18 off historic Route 66. The Reservation is 188,077 acres of canyon land at the western edge of the Grand Canyon's South Rim.  Residents live in Supai Village, 3,000 feet down Havasu Canyon.  The village is only accessible by foot, horse, mule, or helicopter.

 


 

NAVAJO NATION TRIBE

 
PRESIDENT ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Jonathan Nez P.O. Box 9000 Window Rock http://www.navajo-nsn.gov

The Navajo or Dine' (meaning "The People" in the Navajo language) govern the largest reservation in the United States, covering more than 27,000 square miles and extending from Arizona into Utah and New Mexico. According to the 2015 American Community Survey, more than 300,000 Navajo reside in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.

The Navajo Nation is made up of diverse households. Households are more likely to be multigenerational (9.6 percent) than the state of Arizona as a whole (1.2 percent).* Less than half of households are traditional married-couple families (34 percent), and households headed by a single female make up one-quarter of all households. Most notably, 53.5 percent of the Nation's householders speak a language other than English.

 


 

HOPI TRIBE

 
CHAIR ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Timothy L. Nuvangyaoma P.O. Box 123 Kykotsmovi  http://www.hopi-nsn.gov

The Hopi are known as one of the oldest living cultures in documented history, having migrated north to Arizona in the 12th century. The Hopi are guardians of the sacred land they call Hopitutskwa. The Hopi Reservation, located on high and dry land, forced the Hopi to develop a unique agricultural practice known as "dry farming," a system of relying on water-retentive tillage methods rather than irrigation. 

The Hopi and Navajo Tribes have a long history of conflict over land.  After years of escalating conflict, the Navajo-Hopi Settlement Act of 1974 split land across tribes and forced relocation for those on the wrong side of the partition line. According to the 2011-2015 American Community Survey, approximately 15,031 Hopi Tribal members in Arizona. The Hopi Tribe Reservation is located in northeastern Arizona in Coconino and Navajo Counties.  The Reservation is made up of 12 villages on three mesas (known as First, Second, and Third Mesa) on more than 1.5 million acres. Each of the older villages is made up of a hierarchy of clans based on the order of their arrival to the area. Modern villages and clan leaders trace their authority and rights in land to these original sources. The Bear clan tends to be regarded as the first and highest-ranking clan in a number of the villages, with the male head of the clan serving as the village leader or "Kikmongwi."

 


 

SAN JUAN SOUTHERN PAIUTE TRIBE

 
CHAIR ADDRESS CITY PHONE
Carlene Yellowhair 50 S. Main Street, Ste. 201 Tuba City (928) 283-4762

The San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe gained federal recognition in 1990, but the Tribe has lived for several hundred years in territory between the San Juan and Colorado Rivers, east of the Grand Canyon.  The Tribe is one of the smallest tribes in Arizona, and its traditional territory has been subsumed as part of the Navajo Nation reservation. In 1907, Paiute lands north of Arizona in Utah were proclaimed as the Paiute Strip Reservation, under the jurisdiction of the Western Navajo Agency. In 1922, the Paiute Strip Reservation was completely integrated into Navajo lands and the Tribe lost their land base. Currently, the San Juan Southern Paiute people live in multiple communities in Northern Arizona. The largest of these are in Willow Springs, near Tuba City, and near the Arizona-Utah border at Paiute Canyon. The San Juan Southern Paiutes have a language and culture distinct from the Navajo. 

YAVAPAI-PRESCOTT INDIAN TRIBE

 
VICE-PRESIDENT ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Robert Ogo 530 E. Merritt Prescott http://www.ypit.com

The Yavapai have lived in central and western Arizona for centuries. Today there are three primary groups of Yavapai: The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, the Yavapai-Apache Nation, and the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe. 

The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Reservation was established in 1935 on 75 acres of the former Fort Whipple Military Reserve. The Reservation was expanded to just under 1400 acres in 1956. According to the U.S. Census, approximately 888 individuals live on Yavapai-Prescott Tribal land adjacent to Prescott, Arizona. The Reservation is 1,400 acres of rolling hills, of which several hundred acres have been closed to development in order to preserve the natural beauty of the area. 

 


 

YAVAPAI-APACHE NATION

 
CHAIR ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Jane Russell Winiecki 2400 W. Datsi Street Camp Verde http://yavapai-apache.org

The Yavapai-Apache Nation is made up of two distinct people: the Yavapai, who refer to themselves as Wipuhk'a'bah and speak the Yuman language; and the Apache, who refer to themselves as Dil'zhe'e and speak the Athabaskan language. 

The Yavapai were semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers, while bands of Apache hunted, fished, farmed, and traded throughout the region. Over time, Euro-American insurgency led to the forced relocation of the Yavapai and Apache to the Rio Verde Reserve, and then to San Carlos. The Nation was formed in 1934 in an effort by the federal government to establish a single tribe in the Upper Verde Valley. 

 


 

TONTO APACHE TRIBE

 
CHAIR ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Jeri DeCola Tonto Apache Reservation 30 Payson http://itcaonline.com/?page_id=1183

The traditional lands of the Apache Ndeh (The People) extended from Texas through New Mexico and Arizona into Mexico and California. Over time, the many bands of the Apache were forcibly relocated to reservations. The Rio Verde Reserve was established in 1871 for the Tonto and Yavapai Indians. In 1875, the Tonto and Yavapai were forcibly moved to the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Twenty years later, some of the Tonto Tribe returned to the Payson area. The Tonto Apache Tribe was federally recognized by Congressional Act in 1972. 

According to the 2010 Census, approximately 120 individuals live on Tonto Apache Tribal land in northwestern Gila County, approximately 95 miles northeast of Phoenix. The Reservation is 85 acres adjacent to Payson, Arizona, and is the smallest land base Reservation in the state. 

 


 

FORT MCDOWELL YAVAPAI NATION

 
PRESIDENT ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Bernadine Burnette P.O. Box 17779 Fountain Hills http://www.fmyn.org

The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation was created by Executive Order in 1903.  The Reservation is located in the territory of the once nomadic Yavapai people. Two important victories have shaped the history of the Nation: The Orme Dam Project and the fight for gaming rights.  In the 1970s, the community came together with other tribes to successfully fight the construction of the Orme Dam, a project that would have flooded the Reservation and forced members from their homeland.  And in 1992, tribal members held a three-week standoff with the government, a protest that persuaded the Arizona Governor to sign a gaming compact with the Tribe. May 12th is now a tribal holiday honoring that victory. 

The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation is located 23 miles northeast of Phoenix, Arizona.  According to the 2015 Census, approximately 453 individuals live on the Reservation which is bordered by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community on the south, the Town of Fountain Hills on the west, and the Tonto National Forest on the north and east.  The Reservation is one of the smallest in Arizona, covering just 40 square miles. The Verde River flows north-south through the middle of the Reservation and converges with the Salt River. 

 


 

SALT RIVER PIMA-MARICOPA INDIAN COMMUNITY

 
PRESIDENT ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Martin Harvier 10005 E. Osborn Road Scottsdale http://www.srpmic-nsn.gov

Two tribes make up the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community: the Pima ("Akimel Au-Authm" or River People); and the Maricopa ("Xalychidom Pipaash" or People Who Live Toward the Water). The two tribes originally banded together for protection against the Yuman and Apache Tribes. 

The Pima are descendants of the Hohokam, an ancient civilization that farmed the Salt River Valley using elaborate canal irrigation techniques that are still used today.  The Pima are known for their intricate, watertight basket-weaving.

The Maricopa people were small bands that migrated east from the Colorado River. The Maricopa are known for their red clay pottery. When the Salt River Indian Community formed a Reservation in 1879, it included both tribes within its boundaries.

 


 

AK-CHIN INDIAN COMMUNITY

 
CHAIR ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Robert Miguel 42507 W. Peters and Nall Road Maricopa http://www.ak-chin.nsn.us

The Ak-Chin Indian Community consists of both Tohono O'odham and Pima Indians in the Sonoran Desert of south-central Arizona. The O'odham translation of Ak-Chin means "mouth of the wash" or "place where the wash loses itself in the sand or ground." According to the Ak-Chin, this term refers to a type of farming that relies on washes or seasonal floodplains for irrigation. The Ak-Chin Indian Community was established in May 1912 through an Executive Order from President Taft. The originally-established 47,600-acre reservation was reduced to less than 22,000 acres in 1913. In 1961 the Tribe's government was formally organized, and the Ak-Chin are currenty governed by a five-member Tribal Council.

According to the 2015 Census, approximately 1,065 individuals live on Ak-Chin Indian Community tribal land in Arizona. This land is located in the Santa Cruz Valley 58 miles south of Phoenix, Arizona. All of the land within the Ak-Chin Community is held in trust by the United States government. The land area consists of 32.78 square miles, with 16,000 of the 21,840 acres dedicated to agriculture/farming. This makes the Ak-Chin community one of the largest farming communities in the United States. 

 


 

GILA RIVER INDIAN COMMUNITY

 
CHAIR ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Stephen Roe Lewis P.O. Box 97 Sacaton http://www.gilariver.org

The Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indians were small bands that lived along the Colorado River. Eventually these bands migrated East and became known collectively as Maricopa. Upon migrating East, they became allies with the Akimel O'Odham (Pima) Indians, uniting against the Yuman and Apache Tribes. Some Maricopa settled in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, while others settled along the Gila River. In 1859 Congress established the Gila River Indian Community, comprised of both Maricopa and Pima Tribes. 

According to the 2015 Census, approximately 10,947 individuals live on the Gila River Indian Community Reservation in Arizona, located 34 miles south of Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix.  The reservation is roughly 640 square miles, or 372,000 acres.  This includes 15,000 acres dedicated to agriculture: cotton, wheat, millet, alfalfa, barley, melons, pistachios, olives, citrus, and vegetables. Independent farming operations include an additional 22,000 acres of similar crops. 

TOHONO O'ODHAM NATION

 
CHAIR ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Ned Norris Jr. P.O. Box 837 Sells www.tonation-nsn.gov

The Tohono O'odham Nation, "People of the Desert," have lived in the region for more than 10,000 years. The federally-recognized sovereign nation was greatly affected by the legacy of the 1853 Gadsen Purchase, which split their lands between the United States and Mexico. Twentieth-century federal policies of forced relocation moved numerous Tohono O'odham families outside of Arizona, yet many continue to live in the Sonoran desert of their ancestral lands. 

According to the U.S. Census, 20,449 individuals live on Tohono O'odham tribal land in Arizona.  The Nation is comprised of four distinct segments. The largest of these (the Tohono O'odham Reservation) is located 63 miles west of Tucson, Arizona, and is more than 2.8 million acres. San Xavier, the second largest land base, is 71,095 acres. Smaller areas are the San Lucy District (near Gila Bend, AZ), and Florence Village (near Florence, AZ). The Tohono O'odham Nation is organized into 11 districts with Sells, Arizona, functioning as the Nation's capital. 

 


 

PASCUA YAQUI TRIBE

 
CHAIR ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Robert Valencia 7474 S. Camino de Oeste Tucson http://pascuayaqui-nsn.gov

The Yaqui people have lived in the Gila and Santa Cruz River Valleys for hundreds of years. In the early 1900s, many Yaqui families were either forced to move or relocated to Arizona to escape the violence of the 1910-1920 Mexican Revolution. In 1964, the Pascua Yaquis received 202 acres of desert land, and in 1978, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona was federally recognized. According to the U.S. Census, approximately 7,875 individuals live on Pascua Yaqui Tribe Reservation land in Arizona. 

According to the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe has five communities: New Pascua is the Reservation just southwest of Tucson, Old Pascua is in the City of Tucson, Barrio Libre is in the City of South Tucson, Marana is northwest of Tucson, and Guadalupe is a southeast suburb of Phoenix.

FORT MOHAVE INDIAN TRIBE

 
CHAIR ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Timothy Williams 500 Merriman Avenue Needles  http://mojaveindiantribe.com

Mojave Indians are known as "The People by the River" (Pipa Aha Macav). Once the largest concentration of people in the Southwest, they developed well established trade networks and prosperous farms. In 1859, the United States government built a military outpost on the east bank of the Colorado River which later became known as Fort Mojave. The Fort closed in 1891 and was transformed into a boarding school. Today, the ruins of Fort Mojave are an historical landmark. 

According to the 2015 Census, there are approximately1,464 individuals living on the Fort Mojave Reservation. The Reservation is located along the Colorado River and spans nearly 42,000 acres in Arizona, California, and Nevada.  The majority of those acres (23,669) are in Mojave County, Arizona; 12,633 acres are adjacent to Needles, California; and 5,582 acres are in Nevada. 

 


 

COLORADO RIVER INDIAN TRIBES

 
CHAIR ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Dennis Patch 26600 Mohave Road Parker http://www.crit-nsn.gov

The Colorado River Indian Tribes include the Mohave, Chemehuevl, Hopi, and Navajo.  The federal government established the Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation in 1865 originally for the Mohave and Chemehuevl people that had lived along the Colorado River for hundreds of years.  The Mohave have farmed the Colorado River basin for more than 800 years, while the Chemehuevl were a nomadic tribe that inhabited the east branch of the Colorado River and farmed on a smaller scale.  People of the Hopi and Navajo were relocated to the Reservation in 1945. Although the four Tribes share the Reservation and function as one political unit, each Tribe observes its own unique traditions, religions, and customs. According to the 2015 Census, approximately 2,394 individuals live on the Colorado River Indian Tribe Reservation in Arizona.

The Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation is located in western Arizona and spans into California.  The Reservation is nearly 300,000 acres, including 90 miles of river shoreline along the Colorado River. The river is primarily used for irrigated farming. The primary community on the Reservation is located in Parker, Arizona. Located twelve miles south of Parker is Poston, Arizona, the site of one of the United States' largest Japanese internment camps, now home to an historic monument and museum. 

 


 

FORT YUMA QUECHAN TRIBE

 
CHAIR ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Jordan D. Joaquin P.O. Box 1899 Yuma https://www.quechantribe.com

Previously known as the Yuma Indians, the Quechan Tribe of the Fort Yuma Reservation have always lived in the Colorado River Valley. Their land borders California and Mexico, and the Reservation was established in 1884. Quechan (pronounced "kwuh-tsan") means "those who descended." Their distinct language, the native tongue of southeastern California and southwestern Arizona, is believed to be spoken by just a few hundred people.  

Their location along the Colorado River has meant a long history of trading and exchange networks with other tribes, as well as battles over land.  According to the 2015 Census, 2,393 Quechan live on the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation.

 


 

COCOPAH INDIAN TRIBE

 
CHAIR ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Sherry Cordova 14515 S. Veterans Drive Somerton http://www.cocopah.com

The Cocopah Indian Tribe, known as the River People, have lived along the lower Colorado River for centuries. The Cocopah Reservation was established in 1917, and in 1964 the Tribe established a Tribal Council. The Cocopah Indian Tribe is one of seven descendant Tribes from the Yuman language-speaking people that lived along the Colorado River. Although the Cocopah people had no written language, history and traditions have been passed down orally and through the diaries and journals of outside travelers along the Colorado River. According to the 2015 Census, approximately 1,273 individuals live on the Cocopah Tribe Reservation in Arizona. 

The Cocopah Tribe is located in the southwest corner of Arizona near the California and Mexico borders. The land area consists of more than 6,500 acres along the lower Colorado River, with a land base of 9.4 square miles. The Cocopah Tribe is actively involved in habitat restoration efforts along the Colorado River. The reservation is comprised of three non-contiguous regions: the North, East, and West Reservations. The East and West Reservations are located 15 minutes from each other on either side of the town of Somerton. The North Reservation is located in Yuma.  

PUEBLO OF ZUNI

 
GOVERNOR ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Val Panteah P.O. Box 339, 1203B State Hwy 53 Zuni, NM http://www.ashiwi.org

Europeans first discovered Zuni territory in the 1500s. In 1680, Pueblos (including Zuni) in New Mexico planned and revolted against Spanish domination. After attacking and burning a Spanish Mission, the population of all Zuni villages sought refuge on the sacred mountain (Corn Mesa) until 1692. After the Spanish made peace with the Zuni, the people settled in what is now present-day Zuni Pueblo.  According the the 2011-2015 American Community Survey, approximately 12,869 individuals live in the Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico. The main Reservation is 450,000 acres 150 miles west of Albuquerque. The tribe also has land in Catron County, New Mexico, and Apache County, Arizona. 

The Zuni have established programs to promote the unique spoken-only Zuni language into a written language form.  According to the Census, 86 percent of the Tribe speaks the Zuni language.

 


 

WHITE MOUNTAIN APACHE TRIBE

 
CHAIR ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Gwendena Lee-Gatewood 201 E. Walnut Street Whiteriver http://www.wmat.nsn.us

The traditional lands of the Apache Ndeh (The People) extended from Texas through New Mexico and Arizona into Mexico and California. Bands of Apache hunted, fished, farmed, and traded throughout the region. Over time, the many bands of Apache were forcibly relocated to reservations. In 1891 the Fort Apache Indian Reservation was established, now known as the White Mountain Apache Reservation. Fort Apache originally included the San Carlos Apache Reservation, but was separated by an act of Congress in 1897. 

According to the Census, approximately 13,723 individuals live on White Mountain Apache Tribal land, located in east-central Arizona. The Reservation covers 1.67 million acres, with elevations ranging from 2,600 feet in the Salt River Canyon to 11,400 feet at the peak of Mount Baldy (a sacred peak to the White Mountain Apache Tribe).

 


 

SAN CARLOS APACHE TRIBE

 
CHAIR ADDRESS CITY WEBSITE
Terry Rambler P.O. Box "o" San Carlos http://itcaonline.com/?page_id=1177

The traditional lands of the Apache Ndeh (The People) extended from Texas through New Mexico and Arizona into Mexico and California.  Over time, the many bands of Apache were forcibly relocated to reservations. The San Carlos Apache Reservation was established in 1871. According to the U.S. Census, approximately 6,927 individuals live on the San Carlos Apache Reservation--1.8 million acres spanning three counties in eastern Arizona. 

San Carlos Apache are known for their peridot jewelry and Apache basketry.  Peridot is the birthstone for August and San Carlos is home to the world's largest deposit of the crystal.