Understanding the importance of the Gila River Indian Reservation to Phoenix, Arizona
My fascination with the history of Phoenix has introduced me to the Pima and Maricopa Indian people. And the more I learn, the more I realize how much these people have been woven into the history of Arizona, and especially Phoenix.
Walk with me. It's 1859 in what would one day be Arizona. We're Pima Indians, and we have been watching strangers wander through our land, which stretches down to Mexico from the Gila River, which is just south of where Phoenix will be someday, for hundreds of years. Our tribe has welcomed peaceful trade, and has strongly defended against attack. A reservation has been created by the strongest ally we've ever had, the United States of America.
Time-travel to 1863. The Five Tribes Treaty of Peace is signed, creating an alliance with the United States Military and the the five tribes, the Pima (Akimel O’odham), Maricopa (Pee Posh), Yuma, Hualapai, and Chemehuevi people.
It's now 1891 and the United States Indian School at Phoenix is established. And within a few years tribes from all over the southwest, including California, would be attending there. The road to it is called Indian School Road.
In 1990 the last graduating class left the Phoenix Indian School. Now it's a park, called Steele Indian School Park.
As of this writing, May 6th, 2016, the Five Tribes Treaty of Peace will be celebrated for the 153th year, tomorrow at the Gila River Indian Community's District 7 Service Center and Park, 8035 S. 83rd Avenue, Laveen, Arizona. 83rd Avenue just south of Baseline Road.
Thank you for walking with me.
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Posted by Brad Hall