The Yavapai-Apache Nation is located in the Upper Verde Valley of central Arizona off of I-17, 90 miles north of Phoenix and 50 miles south of Flagstaff.
The modern Nation is the amalgamation of two historically distinct Tribes both of whom occupied the Upper Verde prior to European invasion. The Western Apache group calling themselves, Dilzhe’e and popularly known as the “Tonto Apache” utilized the lands to the north, east and south; while the Yavapai’s known as Wipukyipaya were using country to the north, the west and the south. It was the Upper Verde where they overlapped.
After short, brutal wars with the government a Military Reserve of 900 square miles was established in 1871 to accommodate both groups. However, this Reserve was rescinded by Presidential Order in 1875 and all of the people, Yavapai and Apache alike, numbering around 1,700, were forcibly marched to the San Carlos agency east of Phoenix. By the late 1890′s the reservation system was breaking down and beginning in 1900 the survivors of the removal began drifting back to their home country in small family groups. In 1909 a postage stamp reservation was established in Camp Verde, followed by additional parcels in Middle Verde, Clarkdale and Rimrock. Today the descendants of these stalwart Yavapai and Apache people live in communities totaling about 600 acres.
The Upper Verde Valley is characterized by chalky white limestone cliffs carved over the centuries by the Verde River. The Valley is surrounded by high country and enjoys an Upper Sonoran climate and vegetation. The flood plain and stream wash deposits are important as resources for farming and the recovery of sand and gravels. The Nation also runs a Tribal herd on lease lands.
Currently the Nation is focusing on social services, education, acquiring more land for housing and economic development based on heritage tourism and construction of a shopping center. A new cultural center for the Nation is underway at this time. It will house the offices of Yavapai and Apache Cultural Preservation as well as language program and the Tribal collections.
Government and Council Members Listing
- David Kwail, Chairman
- Robert Jackson, Sr., Vice-Chairman
- Linda Evans, Council Member
- Dave Kinsey, Council Member
- Tanya Moore, Council Member
- Jon Huey, Council Member
- Cora-Lei Marquez, Council Member
- Buddy Rocha, Sr., Council Member
The Montezuma Castle National Monument, in conjunction with the Cliff Castle Casino, have proved to be a tremendous draw for tourists coming to Camp Verde. Montezuma Castle, along with Montezuma Well and Tuzigoot, are prehistoric Indian cliff dwellings that lure curious tourists to the area and are within close proximity to the reservation.
Other nearby fascinating attractions are the red rocks of Sedona, the famous ghost mining town of Jerome, and the Fort Verde State Park of Camp Verde. All of these attractions are located within the beautiful Verde Valley surrounded by mountains with trout filled streams. All local communities have adequate lodging, restaurants and fast-food facilities.
The Tribe opened a casino in May 1995. The Casino has 451 slot machines and poker tables. The tribe also owns and operates Cliff Castle Lodge Motel, a Best Western facility, located off of Exit 289, Hwy I-17. This operation has attracted tourists off the I-17 conduit as well as residents from nearby communities including the Navajo and Hopi Indian Reservations. The casino has become the largest employer in the Verde Valley region. Gaming revenues are utilized to develop tribal social service programs.
- Cliff Castle Lodge and Casino – offering 80 motel rooms, a restaurant, pool and Jacuzzi, and horseback riding
- Camp Verde StarMart
- Camp Verde RV Park
Special Tribal Events
- February – Exodus Day
- September – Indian Day
Yavapai Apache Nation
2400 W. Datsi Street
Camp Verde, AZ 86322
Phone: (928) 567-3649
Fax: (928) 567-1082