Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation

Mailing Address

P.O Box 17779
Fountain Hills, AZ 85269

Contact Information




Cultural History

Located within the Maricopa County, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation won over two battles to regain its sovereignty. The tribe was supposed to be thrown out of their homelands over the construction of the Orme Dam which was supposed at the convergence of the Verde and the Salt Rivers. These areas are very near the southern borders of the reservation area dedicated to the tribe. If it came to reality, it would have flooded away the territory of the tribe. With the help of their other tribal allies, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation rallied in opposition to the project. 
The decision was brought up in a voting process where 144 to 57 voted against selling their territory. It was in November 12, 1981 when the decision to not build the dam was finalized. This decision was after the consultation to the Fort McDowell Tribal Council and the Governor’s Advisory Committee and the Interior Secretary James Watt. To commemorate their victory, the tribe celebrates by having a festivities and a rodeo every year until today. The current land area of the tribe is found twenty three miles northeast of Phoenix. Their desert area is contradicted by the Verde River flowing from north to south of their reservation. Thirty miles of their east, the Fort McDowekk, the Four Peaks is to be found as well. 
After their community’s establishment in accordance with the Executive Order signed on September 15, 1903, their community is now the habitat of more than six hundred members while the another three hundred resides outside the reservation area. Their remaining land was only a little portion of their original homeland and their ancestors, the Yavapai people who used to go in the deserts of Arizona for hunting and gathering purposes.
It was in the 1990’s when tribes began entering several business ventures. Some of these tribes started operating casinos, like the Fort McDowell which is in Arizona. The 1988 Gaming Regulatory Act almost hindered the businesses of Indians when they were being asked to wait for the signing of the gaming compacts with the state’s government. The problem was that, during their time, the governor in office was adamantly against the Indian gaming. He then called upon the United State’s lawyer to support his opposition. A number of raids were made upon his order. Five Indian casinos were raided and on the dawn of May 12, 1992, FBI agents intruded the Fort McDowell casino seizing slot machines. The Indians who witnessed the commotion did not stay quiet. Instead, the community people called their fellow members as well as their leaders and media. A human blockade was made along with cars, trucks and machineries. It then spurred the three week battle of the Indians against the government which ended in the signing of the gaming contract. May 12 is now an official holiday commemorating the victory of the Indians. 
The tribe is currently engaged in enterprises like the For McDowell Resort Destination, one of the tourist favorites of today. The place is both for singles, friends and the whole family to enjoy.

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