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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 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 sq mi (1,511.902 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. As of 2012, the Gila River Indian Community Governor was Gregory Mendoza. It has one of the highest rates of type 2 diabetes in the world, around 50%. The community has been very helpful in type 2 diabetes research, participating in many studies of the disease.

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


  • Attractions 1
  • Currently inhabited communities 2
  • Transportation 3
  • Famous people 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The Gila River Indian Community, with over four million potential customers in the Phoenix metro area, owns and/or operates three casinos, a resort hotel, a spa, an equestrian center, two golf courses, an arts & crafts center, two tribal museums, an NHRA certified race track, a race-car driving school, and a racing-boat course. The first casino opened in 1994.[2]

Currently inhabited communities


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 is used for cropdusting and air charter operations, with no scheduled commercial services. There are plans to redevelop the airfield into a casino.

Famous people

The reservation was the birthplace of and the home of the time of death of Ira Hayes, depicted in the photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima in 1945.

Jay Morago, who served as the first Governor of the Gila River Indian Community from 1954 until 1960, and helped to draft the reservation's 1960 constitution, died on May 14, 2008.[3][4]

Mary Thomas became the first woman to serve as Governor of the Gila River Indian Community from 1994 until 2000.[2]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b McKinnon, Shaun (2014-08-22). "Mary Thomas, first woman to lead Gila River, dies at 70".  
  3. ^ Boehnke, Megan (2008-05-20). "Gila River's first governor dies at 90".  
  4. ^ "Jay Morago Jr. Obituary".  
  • Gila River Reservation, Arizona United States Census Bureau

External links

  • Gila River Indian Community Website
  • Gila River Indian Community Tourist Attractions

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