The Tonto Apache Tribe mourns the passing of our dear friend, Senator Paul Fannin.
He was a man of great integrity. When few would hear our plight, as the United States Forest Service attempted to force us from our small village in the Tonto Natural Forest which was named after our Tribe, he recognized that the United States had failed to protect our Tribal land under the Apache Treaty of 1852.
Senator Fannin sponsored legislation in 1971 under which the United States formally recognized our Tribe, and which established our small reservation near Payson, in our tribal homeland.
In 1971, few of us were employed, we lived in extremely poor housing conditions, without running water. With his help, our tribe has made much progress toward full employment, decent housing and self-sufficiency.
Senator Fannin was a great leader, and a man of his word. He believed, as we do, that the treaties and the commitments of America to the Indian tribes under the Constitution are sacred and timeless.
We join family and friends in the grief of his death. We will keep his memory in our stories and songs forever.
Tonto Apache Tribe