Fort Apache Indian Reservation

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White Mountain Apache Tribe of the Fort Apache Reservation
White Mountain Apache seal.png
Seal of the White Mountain Apache tribe
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 United States ( Arizona)
Western Apache, English
Christianity (especially Catholicism & Lutheranism), White Mountain Apache Culture,
Related ethnic groups
Western Apache, San Carlos Apache, Navajo

The Fort Apache Indian Reservation is an Indian reservation in northeastern Arizona, United States, encompassing parts of Navajo, Gila, and Apache counties. It is home to the federally recognized White Mountain Apache Tribe of the Fort Apache Reservation, a Western Apache tribe. It has a land area of 1.6 million acres and a population of 12,429 people as of the 2000 census.[1] The largest community is in Whiteriver.


Apache is a colonial classification term for the White Mountain Apache and all other Apache peoples. White Mountain Apaches were three major groups that were further broken down into sub-groups called bands and clans. The largest of these three were collectively known as "On Top of Mountains People", the second major group was known as "Many goto War People" and the last of the three groups was known as "At the Base of the Mountains People". These names in indigenous White Mountain Apache dialect predate the United States and are becoming more known thanks to interest by passionate research of White Mountain Apaches today.

Fort Apache, originally called Camp Apache was established in 1869 at the suggestion of White Mountain Apache leadership who were aware of the Navajo resistance, then forced removal to Fort Sumner in New Mexico in 1864 then finally allowed to return to their homeland in 1868. In 1871 General George Crook enrolled 50 White Mountain Apache men to serve as scouts for his army during the Apache Wars, which lasted for 15 years. These wars were ended with the surrender of the Chiricahua leader Geronimo in 1886. Because of the scouts' service to General Crook during the Apache Wars, their tribe was able to maintain a large portion of their homeland as the White Mountain Apache reservation.

In 1922, the U.S. Army left Fort Apache. In 1923, the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Theodore Roosevelt Indian Boarding School was established to use these facilities.[2]

The school was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012, as a component of Fort Apache Historic Park, which recognizes the former military complex. The Roosevelt Indian School now operates as a tribally controlled middle-school facility.[3]

The White Mountain Apache created their own constitution under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. In 1936 they elected a tribal council that oversaw all tribe-owned property, local businesses, and governance in 1936.


The Fort Apache Indian Reservation is covered mostly by pine forests and is habitat to a variety of forest wildlife. It is located directly south of the Mogollon Rim. The highest point in the reservation is Baldy Peak, with an elevation of 11,403 feet (3,476 m).


The Fort Apache Indian Reservation, south of Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona

The tribe operates the Sunrise ski resort and the Hon-Dah Resort Casino and Conference Center.[4] It has built the Apache Cultural Center & Museum, constructed in the traditional style of a gowa.

Other attractions within the reservation include the Fort Apache Historic Park, which has 27 buildings surviving of the historic fort and a 288-acre (117 ha) National Historic District; and other historic sites.

Kinishba Ruins, an ancient archeological site (1150–1350 CE) of the western Pueblo culture, is a National Historic Landmark. It is located on nearby associated tribal trust lands. Appointments may be made to visit the site.


According to the US Census Bureau, the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, which is located in Navajo County, is developed with small communities. North Fork, Whiteriver, Fort Apache, East Fork, Rainbow City, Cibecue, Hon-Dah, McNary, Turkey Creek, and Seven Mile are the communities, comprising a total population of 22,036 in 2010 on the reservation.[5]


A collection of handwoven Apache Indian baskets, displayed about 1900


See also[edit]


  • Fort Apache Reservation, Arizona United States Census Bureau
  • Goddard, Pliny Earle (1920). White Mountain Apache texts. The Trustees. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  • Goodwin, Grenville (1994). Myths and Tales of the White Mountain Apache. University of Arizona Press[ISBN missing]


  1. ^ Fort Apache Reservation, Arizona , United States Census Bureau
  2. ^ for a full history of the school and description as of 1970, see
  3. ^ "Fort Apache Earns Historic Designation for Role in Tribal Assimilation", Cronkite News online, March 2012
  4. ^ "Home". Hon-Dah Resort Casino and Conference Center.
  5. ^ [1]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°55′42″N 110°07′58″W / 33.92833°N 110.13278°W / 33.92833; -110.13278