WHITE MOUNTAIN APACHE TRIBE
Home of the Western Apache
Spectacular Salt River Canyon is Gila County’s gateway to the southern tip of this massive, 1.6 million acre land of the White Mountain Apache – which also sprawls across Apache and Navajo Counties.
White Mountain Apaches own and operate one of Arizona’s only ski resorts (Sunrise ParK); and the 15,000 square foot Hon-Dah casino-resort and RV Park. More than gaming, this overnight destination also draws history buffs wanting to spend a day exploring historic Fort Apache and the cultural museum which interprets 19th century U.S. Calvary history -- and far older Apache traditions such as the Sunrise Dance: a sacred ceremony handed down across generations – and still continuing today. Hunters and anglers are lured to the White Mountains for trophy elk and deer; montane streams and lakes stocked with trout. Historians revere Apaches’ fighting spirit and famous warriors – so you may be surprised to learn Apache clans were traditionally both matrilineal and matriarchal – lead by women! 2018 brought a reminder of this with the history-making election of Gwendena Lee Gatewood as the first-ever Tribal Chairwoman of the White Mountain Apache.
These lands were first reserved for the Apaches by Executive Order in 1891, topography ranging from 11,000 feet and including ‘Mount Baldy’, the most scenic peak of the White Mountain range – down to 3, 000 feet in Salt River Canyon.