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 However, this Reserve was rescinded by Presidential Order in 1875 and all of the people, Yavapai and Apache alike, numbering around 1,700, were forcibly marched to the San Carlos agency east of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
- Jane Russell-Winiecki, Chairwoman
- Larry Jackson, Sr., Vice-Chairman
- Annette Mendez, Council Member
- Lucinda Nahee, Council Member
- Jaime Valles, Council Member
- Rachel Hood, Council Member
- Billy Garner, Council Member
- Angelina Smith-Mahape, Council Member
- David Kwail, 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.
About Cliff Castle Casino
Located an hour north of Phoenix on I-17 just south of Sedona in Camp Verde, AZ., Cliff Castle Casino is proudly owned and operated by the Yavapai-Apache Nation. Cliff Castle Casino is a family friendly destination that offers Las Vegas-caliber blackjack, live poker, 665 slot machines and year-round, world-class entertainment in the Dragonfly Nightclub and the Stargazer Pavilion. Cliff Castle Casino also features a 20-lane bowling center, Kids Quest supervised child care and an arcade. Guests can enjoy fine dining at Storytellers Steakhouse and family dining in Mountain Springs buffet, Johnny Rockets-The Ultimate Hamburger or grab a quick bite at Three Sisters open 24/7. Cliff Castle Casino has started development of a new hotel expansion featuring 122 luxury suites, king rooms, double-queen rooms, a pool, multi-purpose event center, coffee shop, retail outlet and 300 space parking garage. The new hotel is scheduled to open in late 2016. For more information about Cliff Castle Casino, visit www.cliffcastlecasinohotel.com
- 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
2400 W. Datsi Street
Camp Verde, AZ 86322
Phone: (928) 567-3649
Fax: (928) 567-1082