Editorial: In CV/YAN relations, cooperation is not a sign of jurisdiction

Usually, Yavapai-Apache Nation lands are Yavapai-Apache lands, and Camp Verde town limits are Camp Verde town limits. The rare moment of overlap is when the YAN property is not on reservation lands. Those moments are opportunities to strengthen cooperative bonds.

Since 2005, the YAN has owned the Distant Drums RV Resort on commercial land near the junction of Interstate 17 and Middle Verde Road within Camp Verde. The place is frequently packed, a benefit to both the YAN and to the Town of Camp Verde.

The well-run resort is an example of good relations between the two entities. It is why the town council had little to no resistance in agreeing to proposed upgrades at Distant Drums. Council member Jackie Baker called the business "a bright spot" for the community.

Unfortunately, that brings to mind the literal bright spot next to Distant Drums - the YAN's large and bright sign reminding highways travelers of the casino on the other side of the interstate. It has been called many things (mostly uncomplimentary by locals), but it does grab attention as it is intended to do, night and day.

The sign itself stands on tribal land. That means it is outside the jurisdiction of the Town of Camp Verde. Even if the Town had more teeth in a Dark Skies ordinance or in its enforcement, the sign is outside its reach.

The sign is hardly Vegas. It is smaller than such signs near some other casinos in Arizona and is not exactly paving the way for a string of neon signs along I-17. Yet, it is still a distracting culture clash with Camp Verde.

It is a reminder that rubbing shoulders, as the Town and the Nation constantly do, can cause friction.

Camp Verde and the YAN can work together in a very accommodating fashion. The Distant Drums RV Resort has been one of many examples of that. But that cooperative relationship cannot be taken for granted. The YAN, like any other community, has its own interests to put first. When that falls in line with the needs and wants of Camp Verde, it should be even more appreciated.


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