Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation is located within Maricopa County about twenty-three miles northeast of Phoenix. The desert landscape is contrasted by the Verde River, which flows north to south through the reservation. The Abaaja (Yavapai) are indigenous to Central Arizona, one of the remaining many bands of the Yavapai Indians residing on the 24,000 acre reservation. The Yavapai is recognized as a sovereign government by the United States which maintains a government to government relationship.
The Spaniards were first to meet the Yavapai, followed later by the early European settlers that confused the Yavapai and Apache peoples as one. Consequently, Yavapai people were considered an enemy of the settlers. Our struggle to maintain our way of life ended when we were imprisoned on the San Carlos Reservation for 25 years. During this time many Yavapai slip-away back to there homelands, it was not until September 15, 1903 that President Roosevelt through executive order established the Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache Indian Reservation.
Indigenous to over 10 million acres made life difficult to adjust on the tiny reservation established for the Yavapai peoples. It wasn’t long before we were once again challenged to relocate off of Fort McDowell because of the farm and irrigation interests in Maricopa County. With the help of Dr. Carlos Montezuma (one of the first medically trained Yavapai Indians) we maintained our right to remain on the Fort McDowell Indian reservation. We continue to maintain our way of life through other important points in our recent history that include the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, Arizona Indian Voting Rights of 1948, Victory over removal for a proposed dam in 1981 and our Stand for Sovereignty May 12, 1992.
Today, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation operates its own enterprises in the industries of farming, construction, hospitality and property management. The hospitality includes two hotels the Wekopa Resort and Conference Center and Poco Diablo hotel, Wekopa Golf Course, Fort McDowell Adventures, Fort McDowell Casino, Eagle View RV Resort and Fort McDowell Baja Chevron.