Fort McDowell, Arizona
Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation is located within Maricopa County about twenty-three miles northeast of Phoenix. The desert landscape is contrasted by the Verde River, which flows north to south through the reservation. Thirty miles east of Fort McDowell, the Four Peaks rise from the desert floor to an elevation of more than 7,000 feet.
The community was created by Executive Order on September 15, 1903. The 40-square mile reservation is now home to 600 community members, while another 300 live off reservation. The reservation is a small parcel of land that formerly was the ancestral territory of the once nomadic Yavapai people, who hunted and gathered food in a vast area of Arizona's desert lowlands and mountainous Mogollon Rim country.
Fort McDowell paved the way for Indian gaming in Arizona when in 1992 the FBI raided its casino. Protests led to a 3-week stand off until the Arizona governor ultimately was persuaded to sign a gaming compact with the tribe.