Gila River Indian Community

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Flag of the Gila River Indian Community
Location of Gila River Indian Community in northwestern Pinal County, Arizona. The Phoenix metropolitan area is located north of the reservation.

The Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) is an Indian reservation in the U.S. state of Arizona, lying adjacent to the south side of the city of Phoenix, within the Phoenix Metropolitan Area in Pinal and Maricopa counties. Gila River Indian Reservation was established in 1859, and the Gila River Indian Community formally established by Congress in 1939. The community is home for members of both the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and the Pee-Posh (Maricopa) tribes.

The reservation has a land area of 583.749 square miles (1,511.90 km2) and a 2000 Census population of 11,257. It is made up of seven districts[1] along the Gila River and its largest communities are Sacaton, Komatke, Santan, and Blackwater. Tribal administrative offices and departments are located in Sacaton. The Community operates its own telecom company, electric utility, industrial park and healthcare clinic, and publishes a monthly newspaper. It has one of the highest rates of Type 2 diabetes in the world, around 50% of the population. The community has voluntarily contributed to Type 2 diabetes research, by participating in many studies of the disease.[citation needed]

House with Bow Roof, Sacaton vicinity, Pinal County, AZ. Photo from Historic American Buildings Survey, 1938


Under their constitution, tribal members elect a governor and lieutenant governor at-large. They also elect 16 council members, from single-member districts or sub-districts with roughly equal populations.

Officials listing[edit]

Governor Stephen Roe Lewis in 2019.
  • Stephen Roe Lewis, Governor[2]
  • Robert Stone, Lt. Governor[3]
  • Arzie Hogg, Council Member, Dist 1
  • Joey Whitman, Council Member, Dist 1
  • Carol A. Schurz, Council Member, Dist 2
  • Carolyn Williams, Council Member, Dist 3
  • Rodney Jackson, Council Member, Dist 3
  • Barney B. Enos Jr., Council Member, Dist 4
  • Pamela Johnson, Council Member, Dist 4
  • Jennifer Allison, Council Member, Dist 4
  • Monica Antone, Council Member, Dist 4
  • Janice Stewart, Council Member, Dist 5
  • Thomas White, Council Member, Dist 5
  • Lawrence White, Council Member, Dist 5
  • Marlin Dixon, Council Member, Dist 5
  • Charles Goldtooth, Council Member, Dist 6
  • Anthony Villareal Sr., Council Member, Dist 6
  • Terrance Evans, Council Member, Dist 6
  • Devin C. Redbird, Council Member, Dist 7[4]


The first casino opened in 1994.[5]

Ira H. Hayes Memorial Library

The Ira H. Hayes Memorial Library is located in District 3 in Sacaton, and provides a variety of services to the community.[6]

Current communities[edit]


The community owns and operates Gila River Memorial Airport, a small, private-use airport, located 4 miles southwest of the central business district of Chandler. It was used for cropdusting and air charter operations, with no scheduled commercial services. The airport is no longer used and is in a state of total abandonment. The community also operates Gila River Transit, a public transit system serving all seven districts.

I-10 was built through the southeast to north-central portion of Gila River lands, bringing significant highway traffic through the area.

Notable people[edit]

  • Ira Hayes, one of six Marines depicted in the famous Second World War American photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima in 1945, was born and grew up here and lived here at the time of his death in January 1955.
  • Jay Morago served as the first Governor of the Gila River Indian Community from 1954 until 1960, and helped to draft the reservation's 1960 constitution.[7][8]
  • Mary Thomas was the first woman elected as Governor of the Gila River Indian Community, serving from 1994 until 2000.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "DISCOVER THE".
  2. ^ Admin. "Governor Stephen Roe Lewis". Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  3. ^ Admin. "Lt. Governor Robert Stone". Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  4. ^ Admin. "Council Members". Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  5. ^ a b McKinnon, Shaun (August 22, 2014). "Mary Thomas, first woman to lead Gila River, dies at 70". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  6. ^ Ira H. Hayes Memorial Library pamphlet obtained from library on February 16, 2018
  7. ^ Boehnke, Megan (May 20, 2008). "Gila River's first governor dies at 90". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved May 26, 2008.
  8. ^ "Jay Morago Jr. Obituary". Casa Grande Dispatch. May 17, 2008. Archived from the original on June 8, 2011. Retrieved May 26, 2008.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°09′16″N 111°55′36″W / 33.15444°N 111.92667°W / 33.15444; -111.92667