Yavapai-Apache Nation commemorates Exodus with spirit run, blessings, cultural performances

Each year, the Yavapai-Apache Nation remembers its Exodus of 1875 with a spirit run, blessings, cultural performances and food. VVN/Bill Helm

Each year, the Yavapai-Apache Nation remembers its Exodus of 1875 with a spirit run, blessings, cultural performances and food. VVN/Bill Helm

CAMP VERDE – At about 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, a two-day 188-mile run from San Carlos will conclude as members of the Yavapai-Apache Nation will walk from Veterans Memorial Park below Cliff Castle Casino Hotel to the Yavapai-Apache Cultural Center on Middle Verde Road.

Following the walk, the Nation invites the general public to its annual commemoration event at Veterans Memorial Park, for a community luncheon of Native American foods, as well as cultural entertainment.

Exodus

Each year on the last Saturday in February, the Yavapai-Apache Nation observes the march of the Yavapai and Apache tribes to old San Carlos 30 miles east of Globe.

The Annual Exodus Day Commemoration event is “a time for our people to celebrate our survival, strength, and success,” Yavapai-Apache Nation Tribal Council Chairwoman Jane Russell-Winiecki said in a press release. “When we returned to the Verde Valley, we came home to nothing. Today we have a beautiful reservation, tribal enterprises, tribal government and services for our people, and most importantly we have been able to preserve our history, culture and language.”

Celebrate with hope

On Feb. 27, 1875, close to 1,500 natives from the Rio Verde Reserve were forced to leave their Camp Verde homes.

But in 1900, the two nations became the Yavapai-Apache Nation, as about 200 Yavapai and Apache were sent back by their captors – back to their new home in the Verde Valley.

“I am honored to join my fellow tribal members in commemorating the sacrifices of our ancestors and to also celebrate with hope and a strong future for our Yavapai and Apache people,” Russell-Winiecki said.

For more information about the annual Exodus Commemoration Day, contact the Yavapai-Apache Nation’s public relations department at 928-567-1021. Or visit www.Yavapai-Apache.org.

Schedule of events, 2019 Exodus

All events at Veterans Memorial Park, unless otherwise noted

• 5 a.m. – Boynton Canyon Blessing Ceremony – Enchantment Resort

• 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. – Vendors at Veterans Memorial Park

• 11 a.m. – San Carlos runners/spirit runners arrive at Yavapai-Apache Culture Center

• 11 a.m. – Annual Commemorative Walk from Veterans Memorial Park to Yavapai-Apache Culture Center

• Noon – Community Luncheon

• 1-4 p.m. – Cultural Entertainment

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