It has been more than 38 years since a small army of Tonto Apaches received federal recognition. Now the Tonto Apache Tribe has 138 tribal members and has opened another chapter of historical events after its election held on June 12.
Wally Davis Jr., was elected as the tribal vice-chairman and will serve the remaining two-year term left vacant by his brother, David Kenny Davis, who passed away on April 13.
Tribal members also elected Johnny Johnson and Junior Tinnin as members of the Tonto Apache Tribal Council and both will serve two years on the council.
A swearing-in ceremony was conducted on June 17, wherein the Honorable Tribal Chief Judge of the Tonto Apache Tribe, Ronnie McDaniel, swore in the new incumbents.
Tribal Vice-chairman Davis is the new purchasing agent and will remain the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and Cultural Representative for the Tonto Apache Tribe.
He recently attended the Southwestern Tribal Summit hosted by the San Carlos Apache Tribe and the tribal voices were heard by testimony at the Hon-Dah Casino and Resort on the White Mountain Apache reservation on June 11.
Vice-chairman Davis will serve along with the present tribal chairman, Ivan Smith.
“Most of our members are under 18 years old and we are a very young and small tribe,” said Vice-chairman Davis.
“I look forward to serving our Tonto Apache Tribe and to help my people to the best of my ability. I want to thank all those who voted for me and also those who didn’t vote for me. God bless all of them. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve you.”
Councilman Tinnin added, “I would just like to say thank you to all the voters for giving me this opportunity to help lead the Tonto Apache Tribe into the future.”