Havasupai Tribe Hold Historic Ceremony to Honor Transfer of Gaming Rights

Governor Janet Napolitano to Speak at the Ceremony

Apr 23, 2003, 01:00 ET from Arizona Indian Gaming Association

    PHOENIX, April 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The Arizona Indian Gaming Association
 and the Havasupai Tribe will honor the transfer of gaming rights from the
 Havasupai Tribe to Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and the Salt River
 Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in a special ceremony on Tuesday, April 29.
 The event will take place at 2:45 p.m. in Supai Village, located in Cataract
 Canyon at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  Featured speakers include Governor
 Janet Napolitano and Don Watahomigie, Havasupai Chairman along with other
 dignitaries.  The Guardians of the Grand Canyon will perform a traditional
     The transfer of gaming rights is possible because of the successful
 passage of Proposition 202, the Arizona Indian Self-Reliance Initiative in
 November, 2002.  Proposition 202 enabled the state and tribes to sign new
 gaming compacts which allowed reservations in remote areas to share in the
 economic benefits of Indian gaming through transferring gaming rights.
     "This tribe is a microcosm of the serious economic, health, housing and
 education needs that exist on all Arizona Indian reservations," said David
 LaSarte, Executive Director, Arizona Indian Gaming Association.  "With
 revenues from gaming, Havasupai will now be able to begin to meet its many
 critical needs."
     Everything in Supai, from food to building materials to mail, must be
 brought down by horseback or helicopter.  This remote tribe has an
 unemployment rate over 40% with tourism being the only source of income.
 Tourism jobs are seasonal.  Those jobs, along with tribal government jobs,
 provide the only source of employment for tribal members.  Seventy-five
 percent of the adult population is diabetic with no dialysis available in the
 Canyon.  Thirty to forty homes are needed immediately.  Education is limited
 to K-8.  High school students must attend boarding school.
     The Havasupai, the people of the blue green waters, are the traditional
 guardians of the Grand Canyon.  The reservation covers 188,077 acres which
 includes the plateau and the village which is located in a canyon 12 miles
 long and 5 miles wide.  Tribal membership is 660.  Approximately 550 people
 live in Supai Village.

SOURCE Arizona Indian Gaming Association