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Indigenous Voices of the Colorado Plateau

White Mountain Apache Historical Events

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 White Mountain Apache

Save the Peaks!

 Merriam Report


Battle of Cibecue (August 30, 1881). The battle was brought on by the influence of a shaman, Nockadelklinne, who preached a doctrine of raising the dead and removing the white interlopers from Arizona. Alarmed civilians and military personnel wanted the shaman arrested. Fighting erupted shortly after Nockadelklinne's arrest along Cibecue Creek. The Prophet, as he was called, died in the aftermath, as did several soldiers under Col. Eugene Asa Carr. Most of Carr's casualties resulted from the mutiny of the White Mountain Apache scouts. The Cibecue affair touched off a general outbreak in the Apache tribes that saw Chiricahua and Warm Springs Apaches such as Naiche, Juh, and Geronimo bolt the reservation and plunge Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico into two years of turmoil. Cibecue battlefield is located in the village of Cibecue, Arizona. No marker denotes the site.

Sunrise Ski Resort.  The creation of the ski resort in 1971 represented the dawn of a new day for the White Mountain Apache Tribe. Providing recreational activities for visitors is not new to the White Mountain Apache. Previously the reservation offered seasonal fishing, camping, and hiking opportunities for visitors and tribal members alike. However, with the opening of the Sunrise Ski Resort, wholly owned and operated by the tribe, the White Mountain Apache were able to expand that portion of their recreation-based economy into a year round venture. It helped to provide an end to the economic highs and lows that had, until 1971, existed on the reservation.

The resort is located approximately 200 miles northeast of Phoenix, near the town of Greer, Arizona. The resort offers skiing (both downhill and cross-country), snowboarding, and a separate ski area for children, as well as nearby lodging.

Taken from the Tucson Daily Citizen, Ole Magazine, No. 4, 1972

Rodeo-Chediski Fire.  In the afternoon of June 18th, 2002, a fire northeast of Cibeque, Arizona, near the Rodeo Fairgrounds on the Fort Apache Reservation was spotted, burning between 100 and 300 acres by nightfall. By mid-morning on the 20th, the Rodeo fire had expanded to 30,000 acres, sending a smoke plume skyward that prompted some commercial pilots to radio into towers about possible thunderstorms. Meanwhile, a second blaze began burning near Chediski Peak northwest of Cibeque when a lost hiker ignited a signal fire. Crews from the Rodeo fire were sent to build a line around the smaller fire. The two fires were about 15 miles apart. Two days later, the fires merged to encompass more than 235,000 acres.

Over the next two weeks, the fire would burn another 200,000 acres in the largest, most severe fire in Arizona history. Of the 435,000 acres burned, 276,000 acres were located on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. Over 425 structures, including numerous homes, were burned completely in the fire. The fire greatly impacted the economic development of the White Mountain Apache tribe, who rely on logging and forest recreation to provide jobs for tribal members.

Fire on the Plateau - recent fires


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