The Tonto Apache Tribe's greatest achievement for 1999 was the signing of an Initiative of Agreement with the U.S. Forest Service that will provide the tribe with 272 more acres through a federal land exchange. This negotiation process was much different than our experience in the 1960s when the elders of the tribe traveled many times to Washington, D.C. with attorney Joe Sparks negotiating for the initial reservation. These current negotiations have been government to government.
The 272 acres if the initial agreement is finalized will be used to build much-needed homes for the youth of our tribe and their future families.
The Tonto Apache Tribe's No. 1 goal for 2000 is to fully own and manage the Mazatzal Casino, and become the No. 1 employer in the Rim country and to pursue other areas of economic development. We want to preserve our culture and heritage by educating our children. Additionally, we would like to see that the children of the tribe pursue higher education. We will assist them by providing funds and special opportunities for them, and through economic development.
The Tonto Apaches live in the land of their heritage. History will tell you that, at one time, the Tonto Apaches occupied the land from the Verde Valley to the Tonto Basin area. We live in and love our ancestral home.