PRESS RELEASE: From the Executive Office of Yavapai-Apache Nation
Yavapai-Apache Nation Announces Annual Exodus Day Event.
CAMP VERDE, AZ – The Yavapai-Apache Nation will host its Annual Exodus Day Commemoration Event on February 24, 2018 at the Veterans Memorial Park. Exodus Day is the Nation’s commemoration of the forced removal of the Yavapai and Apache people from their extensive treaty land in the Verde Valley. The 1875 Removal – 1900 Return Commemoration is a day of remembrance for the time in 1875 when tribal members were removed by military force from the Verde Valley. The commemoration honors their subsequent return to their homeland around 1900.
The Exodus Day event will be held at the Yavapai-Apache Nation Veterans Memorial Park, located below Cliff Castle Casino-Hotel. The event is open to the general public and will begin at 11 a.m. The following is a complete itinerary for the event:
6 m. Boynton Canyon Blessing Ceremony
7 m.-5 p.m. Vendors at Veterans Memorial Park
11 m. San Carlos Runners Return
11 m. Annual Commemorative Walk (Park to Culture Center)
12 m. Community Luncheon
1 m.-4 p.m. Cultural Entertainment
4 m. Community Dinner and Social Dance
Yavapai-Apache Nation Chairwoman Jane Russell-Winiecki said, “The Annual Exodus Day Commemoration event is a time for our people to celebrate our survival, strength, and success. When we returned to the Verde Valley we came home to nothing and today we have a beautiful reservation, tribal enterprises, tribal government and services for our people and most importantly we have been able to preserve our history, culture and language. I am honored to join my fellow tribal members in commemorating the sacrifices of our ancestors and to also celebrate with hope and a strong future for our Yavapai and Apache people.”
History of the 1875 Removal – 1900 Return
On February 25, 1875, the Yavapai and Apache people began a 180-mile winter march to San Carlos, where they were held in a concentration camp as political prisoners for 25 years.
Around 1900, the United States Army allowed passes to the people to leave the reservation without the threat of death. The incarcerated people began the return to their homelands only to find that they were homeless. Settlers had laid claim to the land and defended their properties with threats of death. Groups of Yavapai and Apache were chased off homesteads that their ancestors had lived on for centuries. Since both tribes and their families had to survive, they began to congregate in areas of job availability. Concentrations of Yavapai and Apache were prominent in Clarkdale, Cottonwood, Jerome, Beaver Creek and Camp Verde.
Today, members of the Yavapai-Apache Nation are descendants of the formerly incarcerated Yavapai and Tonto Apache peoples. The Yavapai-Apache Nation proudly owns and operates Cliff Castle Casino-Hotel, Yavapai-Apache Sand & Rock, The Market Place, Chevron and Distant Drums RV Resort.
The Yavapai-Apache Nation is a self-governed Indian Nation that has called the Verde Valley home for more than 150 years, and whose ancestors in the area date back several centuries.