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New State of Indian Country Arizona report released

August 21, 2013

The inaugural edition of the State of Indian Country Arizona profiles the 22 tribes within the state and examines challenges and opportunities facing Native peoples in Arizona.

Covering topics including cultural rights, demographics, education, health and human services, natural resources, sustainability and economic development, the report includes highlights and issues facing diverse tribal populations in Arizona, as well as ideas to address public policy issues.

“As an institution of higher education located in Arizona, Arizona State University recognizes and embraces its responsibility to expand the nation’s knowledge of American Indian issues. Our state is abundantly rich in tribal governments and peoples who contribute meaningfully to the history, growth and success of our state,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow.

“ASU is well positioned to undertake this important analysis because it hosts one of the largest populations of American Indian students and faculty experts in tribal government and policy in the nation, many of whom contributed to this significant publication,” he added.

Topics in the report were chosen based on their importance to tribal nations. Arizona’s tribal story is told by explaining the sovereign status of tribes and showcasing the perspectives and rich diversity of tribal nations and American Indian people in Arizona.

“The primary goal of the report is to educate the state’s general public and policymakers about tribal governments and the inherent influences that the tribal nations have in the state of Arizona,” said Diane Humetewa, special advisor to the President for American Indian Affairs.

An excerpt from the State of Indian Country Arizona: “Every tribe uses stories to pass on its wisdom and values. The oral history of storytelling is common among tribes and is used to pass down traditional cultural knowledge and understanding from generation to generation. …The State of Indian Country Arizona presents several important stories about Indian people today in Arizona. In every case, the facts presented are vital, but it is equally important to understand why we chose to share these particular values. Every section of this report reflects the common values of our Native American communities and culture.”

“This publication is the result of a collaboration between the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona and Arizona State University to share the unique perspectives and rich diversity of tribal nations and Indian people,” said John Lewis, executive director of Inter Tribal Council of Arizona. “It is our hope that the report will help the general public better understand the unique nature of independent, sovereign tribal nations and the economic impact, vitality and influence that they bring to the State of Arizona.”

A sampling of facts from the report include: American Indians were among the last to be granted state voting rights, in 1947 for Arizona. According to a report by the Arizona Indian Gaming Association, if the tribes were considered a combined, single employer in the state of Arizona, their combined employment would rank them as the third largest employer in Arizona. Tribal governments are critical players in energy production and distribution in Arizona.

Contributors to the report are ASU faculty from the American Indian Policy Institute and the American Indian Studies Program – research units in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Indian Legal Program and guest authors who explain collaborative work that ASU American Indian programs and faculty are accomplishing with tribal nations, people and students.

Partnering with ASU on the project is the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc (ITCA). Sponsors of the report are the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Arizona Public Service and Salt River Project. The report was produced by the ITCA, the ASU Office of the President on American Indian Initiatives and the ASU Office of Public Affairs.

The State of Indian Country Arizona is the latest installment in a series of reports produced by the ASU Office of Public Affairs in collaboration with community partners and university faculty and programs. The full report is available online at