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SRPMIC Celebrates 138 Years as a Community

Family and friends participated in the many dance contests during the Community Day Celebration, on June 10, with music played by chicken scratch band Southern Scratch from the Tohono O’odham Nation.

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community members and guests took part in all-day festivities during the Community Day celebration on June 10.

To start the day, the Huhugam Ki Museum hosted a mesquite pancake breakfast. Events were also held at Talking Stick Resort and at the Two Waters Complex.

That afternoon, three participants competed for the title of Miss Salt River 2017–18 at Talking Stick.

During the main event at Two Waters, SRPMIC President Delbert W. Ray, Sr. welcomed everyone and read the SRPMIC Proclamation. SRPMIC Day, also known as Community Day, recognizes when President Rutherford B. Hayes established the Salt River Indian Community as a tribal government through executive order in 1879.

The Community’s original land base spanned from present-day Phoenix to the White Mountains. The initial executive order was amended six months later due to an uproar by non-Native settlers in the area, stating the land base was too large, so the Community’s land base was reduced to roughly 46,627 acres. Over time, the Community obtained additional lands through negotiations and purchases, and today it covers 52,600 acres.

“We are proud of who we are. A lot of good things have happened to us—we are a very blessed Community, and it’s a time to be thankful and rejoice in what we have,” President Ray said. “I know there [are] a lot of things that we go through as a people—challenges—but we are resilient.”

A roll call of former and current Community leadership took place, followed by the announcement of the Caring For Salt River Award recipients in the Youth and Friend of the Community categories.

Sommer Lopez was named the Youth Award winner. She is the current Young River People’s Council clerical secretary.

For the Friend of the Community Award, Ramon Montiel was the 2017 recipient. He assisted the Salt River Fire Department in a recent hay fire and also helped with the Community’s Wild Horse Program. Elaina Osife of the Community Development Department nominated Montiel.

The winners were presented with a Caring For Salt River medallion, which features the friendship circle on one side and the tribal seal on the other. SRPMIC Engineering and Construction Services employee Pat West designed the lanyards.

Activity and vendor booths were set up throughout Two Waters. Entertainment included the chicken scratch band Southern Scratch, a cumbia contest, and O’odham and Piipaash singing and dancing.

Cumbia Contest Winners

Youth Division
First Place: Alaya Valencia
Second Place: Emily Lewis

Adult Division
First Place: Sheila Romero
Second Place: Angela Suniga

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