VERDE HERITAGE 1972: Indian Community Requests 800 Acres

There are 400 acres available near the Middle Verde Reservation and 400 acres available near Lynx Lake east of Prescott.

"The Yavapai-Apache Indian community last week submitted a request to the State Land Department for two 400-acre tracts of trust land."

"The request was made in response to a letter from the land department offering top priority on state lands to public entities, including Indian communities, school districts, and various political subdivisions of the state."

"Aaron Russell, Yavapai-Apache Tribal Chairman, discussed the matter with 'The Verde Independent.' The two parcels requested by the community are 400 acres north and east of the Middle Verde Reservation, and 400 acres east of Prescott and north of Lynx Lake, embracing land on both sides of State Highway 69."

"Russell explained that the Middle Verde Reservation totals 500 acres, much of it with very poor drainage. The 400-acre tract requested from the State Land Department lies higher and it is contemplated as a site for public buildings, including a new tribal office and a future nursing home and for additional housing for tribal members."

"There are 20 new homes in Middle Verde now. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has already approved financing for 40 homes on the Clarkdale Reservation. When these are completed it is hoped that 15 more can be built in Middle Verde and 6 to 10 on the reservation in Camp Verde. Russell stressed that these plans were strictly in the future."

"He said the Yavapai-Apaches in Prescott have a reservation and it is proposed by the tribal council that home sites be provided them if the land department grants the request for the 400-acre tract north of Lynx Lake."

"The land department is not giving this land to tribal members. If the request is okayed, the land will be paid for by the tribal community."

"Indian land in the Valley is scattered, with the Middle Verde Reservation being the largest single piece. Other smaller areas are in Clarkdale, Rimrock, Camp Verde, and on the Salt Mine Road south of Camp Verde in the Windy Point area, where about 80 acres was allotted to the Hood family but held in trust by the Department of the Interior."

"Russell talked about the history of Indian land in the Valley, recalling that by executive order a reservation 10 miles wide on each side of the Verde River and stretching north 40 miles from Camp Verde [Military Reservation] almost to Perkinsville was set aside as a reservation for the Apaches in the early 1870's." However, when the Native Americans "moved to the San Carlos Reservation in 1875, this order was rescinded."

"After 20 or 30 years, the Yavapai-Apaches started straggling back to their homeland and in 1913 the Middle Verde Reservation of 560 acres was established from public domain. It has never been enlarged."

"In 1909, the government purchased 18.35 acres of land in Camp Verde from James [Henry] and Hattie [Harriet (Loy) Munds] Wingfield for $1,500 for a small group of Indians living in the town. Today, that 18.35 acres, together with 18.86 acres of meander land, comprises the Camp Verde Reservation where there are 6 homes."

Aaron "Russell, the tribal council chairman, was born in Clarkdale in 1929, and is a 1947 graduate of Clarkdale High School. He holds an Associate in Science degree in electronic engineering from the Electronics Technical Institute in Inglewood, California. He served 4 years in the Navy from 1948 to 1952. He and his wife, Joanna, live in Prescott, where he is assistant director of the Indian Development Agency of Arizona, Northwest Planning Area. They have 2 children, Diane, 17, a senior at Prescott High, and Mark, 5, who goes to kindergarten."

(The Verde Independent; Thursday, December 7, 1972; page 13.)

Aaron Russell is the son of Samuel Russell and Dora Taketchera. He served in the Navy on the USS Valley Forge and USS Philippine Sea during the Korean War. He was a member of the Yavapai-Apache Nation, a native speaker of the Yavapai language, and served over 40 years on the Nation's tribal council, most recently as Chairman. He was instrumental in the early development and success of Cliff Castle Casino. He died on January 20, 2016, and is buried in the Valley View Cemetery. (The Verde Independent; January 24, 2016.)

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