CAMP VERDE, AZ – The Yavapai-Apache Nation hosted the Apache Alliance Summit VII October 14-16 at Cliff Castle Casino Conference Center. The Apache Alliance is a chartered organization of the San Carlos Apache Tribe consisting of tribal membership including the Jicarilla Apache Nation, Mescalero Apache Tribe, Yavapai-Apache Nation, White Mountain Apache Tribe, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, San Carlos Apache Tribe, Fort Sill Apache Tribe, Oklahoma Apache Tribe and the Tonto Apache Tribe.
According to Vincent Randall, Apache Culture Director for the Yavapai-Apache Nation, the Apache Alliance was established in 1973, after he and other leaders worked on the federal recognition of the Tonto Apache Tribe. “At that time, there were a lot of issues for Apache Tribes and I was serving as Vice Chairman of the Nation. Originally, the Nation aligned themselves with Mescalero, White Mountain and San Carlos to create unity on issues that faced us as tribes. It was an established after the fight for federal recognition for the Tonto Apache. It later phased out, especially with the emergence of other organizations like the Arizona Indian Gaming Association and Inter Tribal Council of Arizona. In the mid-1990’s we formed the Apache Coalition and Western Apache NAGPRA Working Group, and both have been a strong voice of unity on issues and repatriation for Arizona Apache tribes,” stated Randall.
In 2012, San Carlos Apache Chairman Terry Rambler revived the Apache Alliance and brought Apache leaders together in hopes of breathing new life into the organization. Since the revitalization of the Alliance, the organization has continued hosting annual Summits and meets on a regular basis discussing current issues and focusing on setting up the organization and its charter.
This year’s Apache Alliance Summit was coordinated differently from the previous six Summit’s. Apache Alliance Summit VII was hosted as a retreat for the Board of Directors and leaders of member tribes, to provide an opportunity for the organization to identify its vision for moving forward and emerging as an authority on issues impacting Apache Tribes. The retreat was facilitated and mediated by Dr. Pearl Yellowman, who led the group through discussion of current challenges and the vision that Tribal Leaders have for the Alliance.
Thomas Beauty, Chairman of the Yavapai-Apache Nation said, “The Apache Alliance is a dynamic organization. The potential to be the authority as a unified voice for all Apache tribes could help shape the landscape of issues in Indian country. As the host tribe, I didn’t want to host a social gathering. I wanted to host a Summit that resulted in progress. A Summit that every Tribal Leader could return to their people and justify the Alliance’s purpose and prove that we are making progress and moving forward. I think that together we were able to share in prayer, thoughts, discussion and action. Since the Alliance was revitalized a few years ago, there will be some tough growing pains, but what is most important is that as leaders, we remain committed to growth.”
In addition to the Summit and Retreat, the Apache Alliance held elections for its Board of Directors. Chairman Jeff Haozous of the Fort Sill Apache Tribe was elected to serve as President, Councilman Pascal Enjady of the Mescalero Apache Tribe was elected to serve as Treasurer and Councilman Leon Reval of the Jicarilla Apache Nation was elected to serve as Sergeant-at-Arms.
Newly elected Alliance President Jeff Haozous stated, “I want to thank my colleagues for the vote of confidence. I know that we have tremendous work ahead of us, but I also know that this organization is comprised of some of the strongest Tribal Leaders in Indian country. We need open communication and we need to move forward together. I look forward to serving the member tribes as President of the Apache Alliance.”
Concluding the annual Summit, in tradition of the Apache Alliance, the host tribe, Yavapai-Apache Nation, passed the symbolic rifle to next year’s Summit host, the San Carlos Apache Tribe.
“There are many issues that we as tribes face. There is strength through unity and the Apache Alliance is that organization that unites the Apache tribes and provides opportunity for us to remain united and fight the battles that continue to challenge our communities. I was honored to attend the Summit and to report to my people that we worked, made progress and will continue to make progress,” said Chairman Beauty.