Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation

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Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation
Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation sign-2.jpg
Maricopa County Incorporated and Planning areas FMYN highlighted.svg
Location of Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation in Maricopa County, Arizona
Total population
900 [1]
Regions with significant populations
Flag of the United States.svg  United States (Flag of Arizona.svg  Arizona)
Yavapai (three dialects of Upland Yuman language), English
traditional tribal religion, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
other Yavapai people, Havasupai, Hualapai, Mohave, Western Apache

The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, formerly the Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache Community of the Fort McDowell Indian Reservation, is a federally recognized tribe and Indian reservation in Maricopa County, Arizona about 23 miles (37 km) northeast of Phoenix.

Indian reservation land managed by Native American tribes under the US Bureau of Indian Affairs

An Indian reservation is a legal designation for an area of land managed by a federally recognized Native American tribe under the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs rather than the state governments of the United States in which they are physically located. Each of the 326 Indian reservations in the United States is associated with a particular Native American nation. Not all of the country's 567 recognized tribes have a reservation—some tribes have more than one reservation, while some share reservations. In addition, because of past land allotments, leading to some sales to non–Native Americans, some reservations are severely fragmented, with each piece of tribal, individual, and privately held land being a separate enclave. This jumble of private and public real estate creates significant administrative, political, and legal difficulties.

Maricopa County, Arizona County in the United States

Maricopa County is a county in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Arizona. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated its population was 4,307,033 as of 2017, making it the state's most populous county, and the fourth-most populous in the United States, containing more than half the population of Arizona. It is more populous than 23 states. The county seat is Phoenix, the state capital and fifth-most populous city in the United States.

Phoenix, Arizona State capital city in Arizona, United States

Phoenix is the capital and most populous city of Arizona, with 1,626,000 people. It is also the fifth most populous city in the United States, and the most populous American state capital, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.


The reservation was officially created on September 15, 1903 by executive order, on a small parcel carved from the ancestral lands of the Yavapai people, encompassing 24,680 acres (100 km2). [1] [2] The acreage had been part of the Fort McDowell Military Reserve, which had been an important outpost during the Apache Wars. The original inhabitants of the reservation were members of the kwevikopaya, or Southeastern Yavapai, who lived in the nearby Mazatzal-Four Peak and Superstition Mountains area. [2] In the 1970s, there was a proposal to build a dam at the confluence of the Verde and Salt Rivers. Due to the negative effects such a dam would have had on the reservation, the community voted not to sell the land for the dam to the federal government. What would have been called the "Orme Dam" was never built. [1] The reservation celebrates this victory with a rodeo and pow wow each November. [3] [4]

Executive order federal administrative instruction issued by the President of the United States

In the United States, an executive order is a directive issued by the President of the United States that manages operations of the federal government and has the force of law. The legal or constitutional basis for executive orders has multiple sources. Article Two of the United States Constitution gives the president broad executive and enforcement authority to use their discretion to determine how to enforce the law or to otherwise manage the resources and staff of the executive branch. The ability to make such orders is also based on express or implied Acts of Congress that delegate to the President some degree of discretionary power.

Apache Wars armed conflicts between indigenous peoples and white people in southwestern USA between 1849 and circa 1924

The Apache Wars were a series of armed conflicts between the United States Army and various Apache nations fought in the southwest between 1849 and 1886, though minor hostilities continued until as late as 1924. The United States inherited conflicts between American invaders and Apache groups when Mexico ceded territory after the Mexican–American War in 1846. These conflicts continued as new United States citizens came into traditional Apache lands to raise livestock, crops and to mine minerals.

Four Peaks mountain in United States of America

Four Peaks is a prominent landmark on the eastern skyline of Phoenix. Part of the Mazatzal Mountains, it is located in the Four Peaks Wilderness in the Tonto National Forest, 40 miles (64 km) east-northeast of Phoenix. In winter, Four Peaks offers much of the Phoenix metro area a view of snow-covered peaks. Four Peaks is the site of an amethyst mine that produces top-grade amethyst.

After the passage of the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, a casino was built on the reservation. In 1992, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation attempted to seize the gaming devices of the casino. This raid took place in conjunction with raids at four other Indian reservations throughout the country. While the raids at the other four reservations went unopposed, members of the Yavapai tribe organized a protest. Using cars, trucks, and large mobile earth moving equipment, they blocked the egress from the property, preventing the trucks from carting off the machines. An agreement was reached between the tribe and Governor Fife Symington allowing the casino to remain in operation. [5]

Indian Gaming Regulatory Act law governing Native American (Indian) gambling industries

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is a 1988 United States federal law that establishes the jurisdictional framework that governs Indian gaming. There was no federal gaming structure before this act. The stated purposes of the act include providing a legislative basis for the operation/regulation of Indian gaming, protecting gaming as a means of generating revenue for the tribes, encouraging economic development of these tribes, and protecting the enterprises from negative influences. The law established the National Indian Gaming Commission and gave it a regulatory mandate. The law also delegated new authority to the U.S. Department of the Interior and created new federal offenses, giving the U.S. Department of Justice authority to prosecute them.

Federal Bureau of Investigation governmental agency belonging to the United States Department of Justice

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States, and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes.

Fife Symington American politician

John Fife Symington III is an American businessman and politician. In 1990, he was elected to serve the first of two consecutive terms as the 19th governor of Arizona. During his second term, Symington resigned from the office of governor, following a conviction on charges of extortion and bank fraud – a conviction which was later overturned. Prior to his entry into politics, Symington served in the United States Air Force and was stationed at Luke Air Force Base near Glendale, Arizona. He is a member of the Republican Party.

In 2018, the Tribe announced that they would break ground on a new casino on June 29, 2018, at 9 a.m. Construction on the new 166,341-square-foot casino will begin late summer and it is expected to open by spring 2020. [6]

The outside communities of Fountain Hills and Rio Verde lie adjacent to the reservation. In addition to Rio Verde and Fountain Hills, the reservation's economy is also closely tied to the nearby cities of Mesa, Scottsdale and Phoenix. Also in the area is the Salt River Indian Reservation of the Pima and Maricopa peoples. The tribe operates its own gas station, a large sand and gravel operation, a farm, and the Fort McDowell Casino. [2] Other operations on the reservation include the Wekopa Resort and Conference Center, the Poco Diablo hotel, the Wekopa Golf Course, and Fort McDowell Adventures. [7]

Fountain Hills, Arizona Town in Arizona, United States

Fountain Hills is a town in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. Known for its impressive fountain, once the tallest in the world, it borders on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and Scottsdale, Arizona. The population is 22,489, as of the 2010 census. Between the 1990 and 2000 censuses it was the eighth-fastest-growing place among cities and towns in Arizona.

Rio Verde, Arizona CDP in Arizona, United States

Rio Verde is a census-designated place (CDP) in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. It is a master planned community. The population was 1,811 at the 2010 census.

Mesa, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Mesa is a city in Maricopa County, in the U.S. state of Arizona. It is a suburb located about 20 miles (32 km) east of Phoenix in the East Valley section of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. It is bordered by Tempe on the west, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community on the north, Chandler and Gilbert on the south along with Queen Creek, and Apache Junction on the east.

The area now occupied by the reservation was the birthplace of the Native American activist, Carlos Montezuma, who founded the Society of American Indians. [2]

Carlos Montezuma Yavapai-Apache activist and a founding member of the Society of American Indians

Carlos Montezuma or Wassaja was a Yavapai-Apache Native American, activist and a founding member of the Society of American Indians. His birth name Wassaja, means "Signaling" or "Beckoning" in his native tongue. Wassaja was kidnapped by Pima raiders along with other children to be sold or bartered. Wassaja was then purchased by an Italian photographer Carlo Gentile in Adamsville, for thirty silver dollars. Gentile renamed him "Carlos Montezuma". Montezuma was the first Native American student at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University, and only the second Native American ever to earn a medical degree in an American University after Susan La Flesche Picotte. Wassaja was the first Native American male to receive a medical degree. Until his death Wassaja fought to support the rights of his Yavapai people and other Native Americans.

The Society of American Indians (1911–1923) was the first national American Indian rights organization run by and for American Indians. The Society pioneered twentieth century Pan-Indianism, the movement promoting unity among American Indians regardless of tribal affiliation. The Society was a forum for a new generation of American Indian leaders known as Red Progressives, prominent professionals from the fields of medicine, nursing, law, government, education, anthropology and ministry. They shared the enthusiasm and faith of Progressive Era white reformers in the inevitability of progress through education and governmental action.

Ba Dah Mod Jo Cemetery

The Ba Dah Mod Jo Cemetery is also referred to as the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Cemetery. It was where the soldiers who were stationed in Fort McDowell and who perished were buried. The remains of the "Anglos" who were buried there were later transferred to El Presidio Cemetery in San Francisco after the land was ceded to the Yavapai Nation. [8]

Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation-Yavapai Hut.jpg

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Clinton M. Pattea was an American activist and politician, who served as the longtime President of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, a predominantly Yavapai Indian reservation in Maricopa County, Arizona, until his death in 2013. Pattea, who also served on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Tribal Council for more than forty years, was an early proponent of the Native American gaming and casino industry on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.


  1. 1 2 3 "Yavapai History and Culture". Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. Archived from the original on November 19, 2016. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation". Inter Tribal Council of Arizona. Archived from the original on November 18, 2016. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  3. "Rodeo, Pow Wow at Fort McDowell". The Fountain Hills Times. November 18, 2016. Archived from the original on November 19, 2016. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  4. "Fort McDowell Orme Dam Victory Days Pow Wow". NativeAmerica.Travel. Archived from the original on November 19, 2016. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  5. "F.B.I. Agents Raid Casinos On 5 Indian Reservations". New York Times. May 13, 1992. Archived from the original on November 19, 2016. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  6. "Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation plan ground breaking for new casino". World Casino News. June 17, 2018. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  7. "The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation". Fort McDowell Resort Destination. Archived from the original on November 23, 2013. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  8. Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project

Coordinates: 33°38′28″N111°39′52″W / 33.64111°N 111.66444°W / 33.64111; -111.66444