Y-A Nation commemoration

Courtesy photo

MEMBERS of the Yavapai-Apache Nation take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices of their ancestors before the annual commemorative walk.

The 1875 Removal - 1900 Return Commemoration is a holiday of remembrance for the time in 1875 when tribal members were removed by military force from the Verde Valley, and it honors their subsequent return to their homeland around 1900. Tribal offices will be closed on Friday, Feb. 27, in recognition of this historic event.

The Commemoration, formerly known as Exodus, will be held in Camp Verde at the newly established Yavapai-Apache Nation Veterans Memorial Park, located below Cliff Castle Casino, at exit 289 off Interstate 17.

Various activities will also take place at other nearby locations. Traditional song and dances, the Miss Yavapai-Apache Pageant, a commemorative walk, food, and arts and crafts are a few of the highlights of this colorful celebration.

Yavapai-Apache Nation Chairman Jamie Fullmer welcomes all to share and learn about this historic event that is part of the lives of Yavapai-Apache people today.

“It is an important part of the Yavapai-Apache culture to reverently honor our ancestors. Those tribal members – men, women and children – who were forced by the U.S. Cavalry at gunpoint to vacate their homes and march many miles from their beloved homeland made great sacrifices that our tribal members benefit from today,” Fullmer said. “Mere words cannot begin to express the deep sentiments that we all feel as we remember those who suffered and endured the hardships of the long march to San Carlos and the incarceration that followed. Our ancestors taught us to survive at all costs. Let us remember their lessons as we continue the tradition of commemorating the removal and return of the Yavapai and Apache people to our home.”

“During the tribal Exodus Days commemoration, the morning is a time of solemn remembrance,” said council member Ted Smith, coordinator for this year’s event. “It is a time to remember what happened to us as a people, our history as to where we came from, and who we are as the Yavapai-Apache people today, since the return to our homeland. It is also a day on which we rededicate ourselves to being a people. So it is a time of reflection and spirituality that binds us to this land.”

The following is the list of events that will take place in connection with this annual commemoration:

Feb. 27

• Miss Yavapai-Apache Nation Pageant, at 5:00 p.m., at the Y-A Nation recreational gym in Middle Verde. For more information, contact Margie Lowry at (928) 567-4259.

Feb. 28-29

• Men’s basketball tournament (modified, all-Indian). For more information, contact Gary Lollman at (928) 567-1024.

• 8:45 p.m. to 12:45 a.m. Live entertainment in the Dragonfly Lounge at Cliff Castle Casino provided by Sneezy Boyz, a Native American band specializing in rock music.

• Exodus Open Golf Tournament at Oak Creek Country Club in the Village of Oak Creek. For more information, contact Earl Beauty at (928) 567-3790 or 300-2592.

Feb. 28

• 7 a.m. Blessing at the traditional grounds in Boynton Canyon – Sedona at west exit of Enchantment Resort, 525 Boynton Canyon. This is the place of emergence of the Apache and Yavapai. For more information, contact Kim Secakuku at (928) 567-1006.

• 10 a.m. Arts and crafts booths open. To reserve an exhibit booth, contact Shirley Larson at (928) 274-1774.

• 11 a.m. Commemorative walk will take place beginning at the Texaco Station below Cliff Castle Casino.

• Noon. Luncheon. Sponsored by Yavapai-Apache Nation and Cliff Castle Casino.

• 1 p.m. Native entertainment at the Veterans Memorial Park with tribal dances and presentations. For more information, contact Kim Secakuku at (928) 567-1006 or Ted Smith at (928) 567-1056.

The Yavapai-Apache Nation looks forward to your visit and can assist with the enjoyment of your stay through the tribally owned and operated facilities and accommodations, including Cliff Castle Casino (casino, four restaurants, entertainment, bowling, four cocktail lounges, licensed childcare, arcade, and gift shop), The Lodge at Cliff Castle, and Native Visions Tours (horseback rides, van tours and gift shop).

For information on accommodations and tourism, contact Cliff Castle Casino Castle Club at (928) 567-7999 or Native Visions Tours at (928) 567-3035.

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